Being relatively new to this area, I have found myself eating up anything canon related. Among what I have found, the Star Wars Thrawn novel is unequivocally the best thing I have come across.
It took me some time to come up with my latest Audible novel. I have practically finished all of the relevant canon novels and have no interest in novels like Canto Bight and Cobalt Squadron. I was in a bit of a quandary at this point, there were plenty of good novels to discover, but I just didn’t know which to go with. Being a massive fan of Rebels, the Star Wars Thrawn novel intrigued me.
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What there is to like
I debated on this for most of the month but eventually made the decision to go with this novel. I absolutely do not regret this. It was a beautiful reintroduction of a character that was loved and adored from legends.
However, it wasn’t just a reintroduction. It dove deeper into a character that casual fans generally don’t know much about. Having not read any of the original Thrawn trilogy, I had nothing to compare it to, so please don’t attack me for not knowing something I should already know.
Not wanting to spoil the book for you, I don’t want to dive into the nitty-gritty of the novel. However, we actually got to see a completely different Thrawn than we see in Rebels. For brevity reasons, we basically only get the rigid imperial military leader Thrawn in Rebels. This is also done to shine more on the main characters as opposed to the antagonists.
In short, the first half of the book features Thrawn’s quick rise through the ranks of the Imperial Navy. While the second half of the book is the lead into a meeting with the character Nightswan. It is in a meeting with this character towards the end of the book that peels back the layers of Thrawn’s true intentions.
Not only do we get an understanding of Thrawn’s character, but we also get an introduction to Governor Arindha Pryce. Zahn does a fantastic job of not only introducing us to her character but giving us an incredible slow heel turn for her character.
She initially starts out very innocent, but actually slowly turns into the monster Imperial Officer that we see in Rebels’ seasons 3 & 4. Zahn does this very well, aligning you the reader/listener with her and her story to where you almost empathize with her.
Where the novel could have done better
While I didn’t find as many issues with the novel as Den of Geek writer Megan Crouse. I did find myself disappointed in a few things from the novel.
Lack of Relational Battles
One of the main problems is that the book had a one track mind on Nightswan and the pursuit of Nightswan. I thought that there could have been a better application of Thrawn’s influence and military rise. While I thought the battles did well to advance the story, I felt that they didn’t really apply to the era in which they were in.
At this point in time, there are several rebel groups popping up. Despite his position and influence with the Emperor, instead of trying to put out these rebel fires, he is busy with pirates and spice smugglers. It just didn’t seem like it was something that really advanced or added to the story of the time.
Lack of Strong Supporting Cast
This is an area that was likely done to lift up Thrawn above the rest. However, it seemed odd that the supporting cast aside from Governor Pryce was simply blah. I wasn’t looking for a Thrawn and Tarkin combo but it seemed like there was room for more strong characters around Thrawn. Perhaps this is what we will see with the release of Thrawn Alliances this summer.
In conclusion, I really enjoyed this book. It certainly is a fantastic addition to the canon and it adds more to a character that deserved a backstory and depth. I am excited and am greatly anticipating Thrawn Alliances and hope that Marc Thompson will be back to voice the Audiobook. He does an excellent job as Thrawn even though he had me thinking of the characters he voiced in the Aftermath series, I enjoyed hearing him voice Thrawn.
If you haven’t read Thrawn yet, you absolutely need to do so. You can purchase the book here from Amazon. Or you can go the route I took and get this and one other book for free by signing up for a free trial with Audible, if you decide to not continue the membership after the first month, there is literally no cost to you and you get two books FOR FREE!!