Sci-fi/fantasy junkie, storyteller, devourer of books, workaholic
This book is very entertaining for those of us who love Star Wars. Marc Thompson is spot-on with the voices he puts on for the male characters (there's only so much he can do for Leia, being not a female), especially Han and Lando. And the sound effects were lots of fun... I felt like I was listening to a movie. The story itself had a few flaws - primarily the lack of Leia (she just kind of floats in the background) - but was enjoyable nonetheless.
Author, Audiobook Narrator
This novel is book 1 in the The Thrawn Trilogy and part of the expanded Star Wars universe. Part of the reason I decided to read this book is the fact that the new Star Wars movie, Episode VII is coming out next year thanks to Disney buying Lusas Film. It made me curious just what happened to the film characters in the novels all this time. Now when I watch the films I'll be able to pick up on any little Easter eggs they might throw in for fans of the Star Wars novelizations that have kept the story going in the absence of movies all these years. It's probably not likely they'll use anything from the novels as they've said they're only going to use the movies as cannon moving forward, but I was still really curious. I'm really glad I decided to give this book a read, and that I chose to consume it via audiobook.
The author Timothy Zahn does a tremendous job with some of the most beloved characters known to science fiction fans. Honestly I was a little hesitant to read this book because I have concrete ideas about who all of the Star Wars characters are. How they react to situations, the way they talk, the way they interact with others. They all felt very much like the characters I have come to love from the original Star Wars trilogy. Zahn also did a fantastic job developing some new characters that played a major role in this book. Of course there is Grand Admiral Thrawn, who the trilogy is named after. Zahn does a remarkable job of having this character come across as a terrifying individual. Someone who is calm and calculating in the face of cataclysmic events. A person with enormous powers of reasoning and deduction. Someone whose determination to see his plans come to fruition is unshakable no matter what setbacks may occur. Thrawn is a villain I loved to hate and someone who came off as impressive, incredibly capable, and scary to me. Any story is much better when the bad guy your heroes face is an extremely formidable foe that sends chills down your spine. A person you would never want to meet in real life, even if you were on their side. I really enjoyed the character development of Grand Admiral Thrawn in this book and I look forward to seeing him in action again when I read the next book.
Another great character was a man named Talon Karrde. You hear rumors about him for a while before you meet him. Before he appears in a scene you have a sort of reverence for him and his reputation precedes him. When you get to see him in action he lives up to all the hype. I loved Karrde's interaction with some of my favorite characters.
All the favorites are in this book. R2-D2, C-3PO, Leia, Han, Lando Calrissian, Luke, Wedge Antilles, Admiral Ackbar, and of course Chewbacca who's home world you get to visit!
The courage and bravery of the good guys in this book was exciting to read. There were a lot of slow scenes where big parts were moving and a lot of exhilarating action scenes. This book has a lot. I can think of intimate scenes where you get to see what it's like for Luke and Leia to use the force. There quiet scenes between characters where not much is happening but a lot is going on emotionally and internally. This novel had to be done this well because it handles some of the most loved characters of all time in a universe that fans around the world are crazy about. Timothy Zahn more than pulled it off. I'm so excited there are two more books! And that I will get to watch new Star Wars movies in the theaters with my kids! Woo-hoo! Sorry that has nothing to do with this book, but I'm just excited!
Last but not least, I can't end this review without touching on how fantastic the audiobook version is. I listened to the 20th Anniversary Edition narrated by Marc Thompson. Marc's ability to voice all the characters so well was nothing short of brilliant. The guy does all the voices spot on and there are a lot of characters in this book. Major props to him from one newbie inexperienced audiobook narrator to veteran pro. I can't stress how good of a job Marc Thompson did narrating this book. He makes this audiobook come alive as a sort of audio play but all acted out by one man with a thousand voices. His versatility as a narrator is something you just can't miss.
This audiobook also had much more production than any other professional audiobook I have heard. There were always complex weavings of sounds making up the background atmosphere of the scenes. You always knew if the characters where at a space port, on a ship, or deep in a forest. From massive epic space battles, to quick action scenes with intense fighting to quiet moments where hearing R2-D2's emotive beeps to Luke make you feel like you're right there in the Star Wars universe. This audiobook is easily one of the most entertaining listens I have ever experienced. I can't wait to listen to the next book in the Thrawn Trilogy.
I was very surprised how good and how distinct the narrator made the voices of the characters. I enjoyed this book and the series very much. Some of the best story telling I have experienced on Audible.
The sound FX
Great range in character voices
great job, can't wait to listen to the rest of the series. Read all of these 20 years ago, it is nice to come back to them all these years later.
This series of books are a good sequel to the movies, and introduces a few new characters that I hope make it into future series. If you loved the movies, I'm fairly sure you will enjoy these books.
A few points that prevent me from giving it a perfect score:
1) The books seem to reference key points in the movies in flashback scenes that are not relevant to this story (Mos Eisley cantina, the battle on Endor, Luke's losing his hand, the Death Star, etc etc etc etc). And they sometimes flashback to the same event more than once. I think the books would have stood on their own fine without so many flashbacks to events that did not happen in this book. But I can see why they did it.
2) The protagonist (Grand Admiral Thrawn) is known as a great strategist, but he's "too" great. Unnaturally great. Given almost no information, he can poke a hole through the Rebel Alliance's strategy and predict their true plan. I wish there were more subtle reasons why he made some of the calls he did. Does he have special powers? Other unmentioned spies? The book just has him diverting troops to the perfect spot at the perfect time for no reason.
3) Meanwhile, the Alliance has the opposite problem. Leia is presented with a fairly obvious hint that something is strange, and she shrugs it off. But Thrawn is told of an inconsequential issue with a passing ship and he chases after it personally.
Other than that, it's very engaging, and I'm looking forward to more from this author.
Marc Thompson does a great job of differentiating all the different characters well and on a consistent basis. Th production includes various sound effects put to good use to make you feel like you're on the bridge of a Star Destroyer; without having to TELL you that you are.
Mara Jade doesn't have a huge roll but she is pretty awesome.
the VOICES. All the characters feel different and are instantly recognizable. A great narration.
Nostalgia is pretty strong for me. Its a fun read.
Yes! I had read the Heir to the Empire series ages ago when they were first released -- Marc Thompson brings the all ready known characters and story up to fantastic levels. The added sound effects are amazing and fun, they envelope the listener, including them in the story... like an old radio play. I recently gave this book series and audio book to my 13 year old, who also enjoyed them immensely.
All. Growing up a Star Wars fan and reader of related novels... this series is the best.
anybody that loves star wars would love this book.
my hang ups are that many of the women in this book were written poorer than the men. i could relate to the male characters as if they were real, but the female characters seemed like a teenage boy described them.
Sci-Fi, Fantasy and sometimes a good horror book, I also like a classic now and then.
Top 5 maybe best every, If i had my way Marc Thompson would be narrating all classic SI-FI, space operas, ect... I have listen to some great books with dull narration, Marc Thompson and RANDOM HOUSE could revive so many really great books, and sound effects! Great movie for my mind!
Lando and Thrawn! Karrd! Skywalker, I loved them all!
Top Notch, I wish he would go back and do all STAR WARS books unabridged and with this detail to voices and the great sound effects! Why doesn't other SI-FI books have all this great depth!
He could make so many great classic SI-FI come back to life with great narration of character voicing as well as the great sound effects, just enough effects without overwhelming the narration, perfect!
Laughed in parts, really made me think of Han and Lando and the smuggler banter. Also just made me feel like this audio book will set the bar high for future purchases. You are really watching/ listening to a a great movie in the star wars.
I just wish more books were this thorough, unabridged only please, RANDOM HOUSE, HEAR ME, KEEP THIS GOING! FIND MORE GREAT SI-FI and get Marc Thompson on it! Keep whoever does the editing and sound effects as well! Great job all! This one was worth every penny and will keep me buying books with this crew of people.
It is 1 or 2. This is a by far the best Trilogy I have ever heard. The narration was MASTERFUL!
It was incredible how well the narration was performed. Each character literally came alive!
They were all great. I especially like the characters Talon Card, and Grand Admiral Thrawn, they were both awesome!
No but it kept me on the edge of my seat the entire listen.
This is a perfect continuation of the Star Wars Saga. It is a must listen for any Star Wars enthusiast!