Book Review: Star Wars: Thrawn, by Timothy Zahn

Details: Official site can be found here (I think): https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/223651/thrawn-star-wars-by-timothy-zahn/9780345511270/

Score: 7.4/10

Thrawn is a much beloved character of the extended Star Wars universe. After Disney acquired Star Wars, the extended universe was erased and a big question was where Thrawn ended up. Well, the animated television show Star Wars: Rebels brought Thrawn back into the new Star Wars canon, so I guess Thrawn’s back. This book is an origin story for the character and also a prequel for the Star War: Rebels television show.

The story takes place during the early days of the Empire, before A New Hope and even before Rogue One. It details the first meeting of Thrawn with the Imperial Navy and chronicles is ascendancy through the ranks to Grand Admiral.

A big part of this books appeal is similar to that of Sherlock Holmes. Thrawn is usually the smartest person in the room, at least tactically. Many of the encounters are simply watching everyone except Thrawn freak out over a situation, then Thrawn reveals his plan and it turns out everything was under his control all along. There’s just something amusing about watching someone turn the tables and outsmart others over and over again.

Another part of the appeal is in how these events relate to the greater Star Wars universe. Again, this is very much a prequel to the Star Wars: Rebels show and many of the characters and events lead directly into the show. There are also references to the Clone Wars as well as ample cameos of other well known characters.

The main appeal of this book is that we get some back story for the fan favorite character of Thrawn. Thrawn has always been portrayed as a tactical genius and we get to see him use that genius to rise through a fairly racist military organization. Thrawn is a blue skinned, red eyed alien who is also an outsider to Imperial affairs. He is not from a connected family, much less belonging to a race from the core worlds. He’s basically a persecuted minority. However, his tactical brilliance allows him to gain favor from powerful people and deliver victory after victory. It’s odd to see someone from the Empire as an underdog, but that’s what he is.

Overall, the book is a good read for Star Wars fans. It’s especially good if you were a fan of the old books with Thrawn and of the Star Wars: Rebels show.

Score: 7.4/10

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