Publisher: Del Rey
Author: Timothy Zahn
Released: April 6th 2017
Thrawn by Timothy Zahn is another novel in the newest Star Wars run (aka the new canon for the series). I for one was thrilled to see them making Thrawn canon again (let’s not focus too much on the pain we felt when the older novels were removed from canon). I ended up getting this one as an audiobook, and I am so happy with that decision! The voices and sound effects really brought this story to a whole new level.
I understand the reasons why so many of the Legacy novels were removed from their canon status (the inconsistencies alone were enough to warrant that) but that doesn’t mean I was emotionally okay with that choice. That being said, I think we all knew Thrawn being reinstated as canon was coming rapidly; especially with his appearance in Star Wars: Rebels and everything that involved.
I cannot express just how much I loved the political intrigue and intricate nature of the plot in Thrawn. I pretty much went into this novel expecting to like it, but I was still surprised by how much. I love that Zahn chose to give us a bit of Thawn’s backstory as well (while still maintaining that Thrawn had been in contact with the Empire previously).
I love how complicated Thawn’s motives were throughout the novel, the little hints or revelations he dropped being only a drop in the bucket (assuming he was telling the truth at any one point, which wasn’t always the case). And his introduction into the series? That was pretty outstanding, very dramatic to say the least. It immediately pulls the reader in, making us want to know what will happen next.
I don’t know why, but I was surprised by the inclusion of two secondary characters, Eli Vanto and Arihnda Pryce. While their purposes may not have been clear at first, as the story goes on their roles in it become more and more defined and clear to understand. What I loved about all three characters (Thrawn included) is how very different they all are. Each one had a different way of thinking about a situation, and thus a different observation or solution. Together they gave us a complete story for the events that occurred in Thrawn.
At first I didn’t think Vanto’s character would be a permanent figure in the series; I thought he was there to give us his perspective until Thrawn was officially introduced. When it became clear he was in it for the long haul I wasn’t sure how I felt about that. Eventually Vanto ended up growing on me, in many ways I ended up seeing him as the emotional link in the novel, as he was the only perspective to tell us his feelings or emotional response to an event or statement. Though there’s more to him than that of course, Vanto was essentially Thrawn’s second hand throughout the entire novel, so he gave us a bird’s eye view on the character.
Where Vanto was the emotional bridge (as well as the unknowing presence for our sake), Arihnda is undoubtedly the politician. She understood the internal workings of the Empire’s politics in ways Thrawn never could. Granted, that’s because he wouldn’t care to, but that’s not really the point. She could see the ties occurring and the ramifications of Thrawn’s actions that he himself wasn’t picking up on (like how Vanto wasn’t getting promoted to spite Thrawn). I won’t say I liked her character, frankly I don’t think we were supposed to, but I do see the need in including somebody like her to the story.
In all this was a compelling read (well, listen in my case). I don’t know if Thrawn is definitively a stand-alone novel, or if it’ll end up becoming another trilogy. Personally I’m hoping for the latter. I’m really curious about several things mentioned throughout the novel that were never fully clarified. Such as the threat the Chiss are concerned about (which is also a larger threat than the Empire, which is saying something). For that alone I hope there’s a follow-up to this novel.