This is the conclusion to the heir to the Empire series. It is my favorite Expanded Universe story. It's the start of Mara Jade and her relationship with Luke Skywalker. it's the conclusion of one of the most deadliest grand Admirals of all time. And its red by Marc Thompson who is without a doubt one of the best narrators I've ever heard.
Sigh...It's hard for me to properly review this series... I enjoy Star Wars, I grew up with it... but as a person who enjoys a very human-centric story, where decisions are made based on character, and not for the sake of progressing the story... it's hard for me to give these books a very high rating.
The story is so cookie cutter, and predictable it really is just for pure amusement.Admittedly, the books are entertaining, but you know what you're getting here. Even the Star Wars movies, all follow a very railroad predictable path. This isn't a bad thing... but if you're looking for something with more depth look else where. The main bad guy of the series "Thrawn" is probably the cheesiest, generic, stereotypical bad guy. I mean come on...how many Imperial bad guy officers have their nose up in the air, arrogant, and full of themselves. Thrawn's character is so one dimensional, it's staggering and often cringe worthy. There's no dynamisism, no inner turmoil, no nothing to make me believe that Thrawn is a character that I should care about. That's the problem with creating a villain that you try to make a "mastermind genius" you get a character that is an arrogant prick and you don't care about him.
Another problem with a story like Star Wars, when it comes to the extended universe...you know very well that the characters are going to make it, and save the day, with nary a scratch. Follows the very simple formula of hero's being beat up, then scrambling, a bit of inner drama, and then out smart the bad guy. After reading books that have very complex plots such as game of thrones, I've been sort of spoiled by the writing there. (granted game of thrones often takes it TOO far...)
The Thrawn series is at it's heart a light hearted and I GUESS fun read...I realize that the star wars franchise is not trying to be as deep and complex as other stories. My main problem is that characters are given these unrealistic boons to their intelligence which just lets the author give them near unlimited foresight and knowledge. How often in this series has Thrawn had a talk with Captain Pellion and played the role of annoyed master? "Haha! it's all part of my master plan! Can't you see how it will play out? No? Okay, let me mockingly explain my devious and bullet proof plan!"
Now for the plus...hot diggity this is a well produced series! From start to finish, the voices are really...really good. My complaint is that the author makes characters like the smugglers, and Avs and Thrawn, way to 'mysterious' and trying too hard to be cool and aloof.... If it's one thing that gets under my skin, is characters are are overly aloof and cool with no reason. Besides this annoyance... the voices of Han, Leia, Luke, and Lando, and all of our favorite on screen heroes are all wonderfully...masterfully recreated..Anyway this doesn't change the fact that the book is sill dripping with an adolescent "I'm a cool, dark and brooding character" syndrome for many of it's characters.
This type of writing gets old and fast...and it's used to ad naseum in the Star Wars Universe. There's no inner doubt, real military planning, strategic and realistic advantages.If you want just a continuation of more Star Wars antics with not a ton of depth, these books are fine, and I have no problem with them on that front. Great summer reads for fun and action. But I can't score this book very high on actual literary content..
I read the Thrawn trilogy a couple of times years ago (in paper edition). I remembered them as being really good books...but I forgot just how totally fantastic they are. Until now.
The story is great---Timothy Zahn really captured the world of Star Wars, the feel for the stories and the characters (now 5 years after the events in Return of the Jedi) as they build the New Republic and still war with the remnant of the Empire. The new characters he added fit into the Star Wars universe perfectly. Zahn's pacing, story elements and writing just make them fun books. On top of that, Zahn wrote these books in the early 1990's, so they are not contaminated by the prequel trilogy.
I would give Marc Thompson's narration 6 or even 7 stars if I could. He managed to catch many of the voices so sound much like the original actors from the films. Maybe not perfectly, but quite good given that it all came from one larynx...I assume the post-production played some games to enhance that, but even so. Amazing.
The post-production also added music and background sound effects to try to enhance the effect. In general, I liked that, although I think it got distracting on occasion.
The Thrawn series is published as a trilogy, but really it is one, large 3-part novel. You will need to commit to finishing the whole thing...especially since you will have a hard time putting it down once you start.
Fantastic conclusion to this trilogy. Keeps you riveted during the finale and keeps the Jedi mythos intact. Great springboard to the EU. Too bad Disney didn't keep it canon.
Now here we are at the end of the journey that started in The Heir to the Empire. What an adventure. This series has nailed what StarWars is about. Fun, imaginative, optimistic, and an excellent tale for all!
Even if you aren't a big Star Wars fan, I encourage to read this series. It is fantastic! Unbelievably so! It is one of the best written stories I've had the pleasure of reading.
In the epic conclusion is all comes down to the last, tense few moments. And against Grand Admiral Thrawn, you really feel like the New Republic just barely won.
This is the Star Wars trilogy that should always be, and in my opinion, even surpasses the original movies. Spend three credits on this series, you won't regret it.
Loved it! It wrapped the story very well and the audio production and the actor's performance were amazing just as in the other 2 books in the trilogy!