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Publisher's Summary

In this definitive novel, listeners will follow Thrawn's rise to power - uncovering the events that created one of the most iconic villains in Star Wars history.

©2017 Timothy Zahn (P)2017 Random House Audio

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Nice To Have Thrawn Back, But...

Timothy Zahn returns to the Star Wars universe with Thrawn, the titular character that first appeared in print back in the 1990s and helped reignite fan’s interest in a galaxy far, far away. 1991, when Heir to the Empire was first published, presented a very desolate landscape for Star Wars fans, and was certainly a far cry from the series current-day resurgence. Back then, we only had three films – Episodes IV, V, and VI. There were no prequels, no other sequels, no real line of novels, video games, Funko Pops! and cartoon series. Fans were starved for more stories set in their favorite cinematic series. Timothy Zahn helped change all that with his initial Thrawn Trilogy, reintroducing us to the heroes of the Rebel Alliance cum New Republic five years after the The Return of the Jedi and the Battle for Endor. Right from the outset, Thrawn was a bold new villain and cunning strategist, and an immediately iconic one at that.

Nowadays, Star Wars is everywhere. The series of Expanded Universe novels was relaunched in the build-up for The Force Awakens, and a series of tie-in novels helped lay the new groundwork between Episodes VI and VII. One question that kept coming up among fans and readers was, Where is Grand Admiral Thrawn? Was there even a Grand Admiral Thrawn anymore, or had his enduring legacy between swept away in the relaunch?

Well, now we know. Thrawn is, indeed, a canonical part of the new Expanded Universe – and still an enormous threat for the galaxy to reckon with. With this novel, Zahn dives into origin story territory, detailing the blue-skinned alien’s rise to power within the xenophobic and fascistic Empire. For readers of Zahn’s original Thrawn novels, the character will be intimately familiar. This is still the same character, his keen intellect and powers of observation fully intact, and reintroduced into the Star Wars timeline between Episode III and Rogue One.

I, for one, am thrilled to have Thrawn back in action again. This is a thinking-man’s villain, one who uses his brains above all else, never relying solely on brawn and bluster to get through the day, but rather through sly, Sherlock Holmes’ style observation and chess-like maneuvers. It’s great to see him again outwitting his opponents and manipulating his way through the Empire’s ranks. The story suffers, though, with a side-plot revolving around Arihnda Price, an ex-miner forced by external powers into the Empire’s employ. The dual narratives provide insight into the political machinations of the Emperor’s regime, and it’s interesting to listen to how both maneuver through the Empire in order to meet their own goals. The biggest problem, though, is that Price’s story is a bit dull with its focus on politics and takes a long while to really get anywhere. The same is slightly true of Thrawn’s narrative as well. While it’s interesting to see him work his way up the ranks, we also know how this story ends. The plot device hanging in the middle of this story, operating behind the scenes and driving Thrawn and Price toward their end-goals, is one that Star Wars fans will be able to peg right from the outset.

Thrawn presents little in the way of surprise, and given the nature of the Empire and the character’s carving their way into and through it, it’s also difficult to find reason to root for any of them. Anyone who is familiar with Star Wars knows exactly what the evil Empire is, what it’s all about, and what it represents. Do we really care, ultimately, if any of these characters succeed in reaching the top of Mount Evil, particularly in light of the story’s lack of worthwhile protagonists? Thrawn works well when we have a central heroic, good-guy (or gal) character to root for, and there’s none of that here. While Thrawn is interesting, it’s never really very exciting or fun, and it never reaches the heights of greatness exhibited in the original Thrawn Trilogy. Sadly, from a story perspective, this book’s a bit of a dud.

Thankfully, Marc Thompson’s narration is brilliant. After listening to his voice talents on Chuck Wendig’s Star Wars trilogy, I was really chomping at the bit to see what Marc would do with Zahn’s novel. In this respect, I was not the least bit disappointed. He presents a number of varied voices, tones, and speech patterns, and does an absolutely superb job all around. The use of sound effects and music throughout help up the ante on the production front, reminding us regularly with its familiar score and laser blasts that this is a legit Star Wars story.

31 of 33 people found this review helpful

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Un-Surprisingly, Beautiful

Zahn and Thompson come together once more to weave an exceptional story! Zahn has woven another patch into the quilt that is Star Wars. His writing is superb, and thankfully we have someone just as brilliant to narrate! I can not applaud this enough! I also plan on purchasing the physical copy, because apparently there is a pull out poster featuring the Grand Admiral himself! But do yourself a favor and jump into this audiobook!


A few notable aspects that I can remember (re listening after this!) NO SPOILERS!

The story of Thrawn's ascendancy to Grand Admiral.

The unique Chiss twist of the importance in utilizing and preserving resources, which bordered on compassion for others.

The tie in to Star Wars Rebels! Providing a really rich background into why certain events occurred in the show.

A beautiful balance of political intrigue (which I ABSOLUTELY love in the Star Wars universe!), and intense action scenes!

One detail I really appreciated was the depiction and hesitance of Coruscant's underbelly. We typically see this through the eyes of force wielders or soldiers, neither of which really experience the emotions that an everyday person would when confronted with the slums.

45 of 49 people found this review helpful

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The Sherlock of Star Wars

Timothy Zahn is one of the masters of the Star Wars universe. Thrawn is a masterpiece. A character study of one of the most famous and beloved adversaries in the Empire, Grand Admiral Thrawn is not driven by evil or domination. The Sherlock of the Star Wars galaxy, he is a master at military tactics and studies the culture and art of varying species in an effort to understand them. This book gives us insight into Thrawn's thought process as he ascends the imperial ranks, artfully handles core world bigotry, tangles with another tactical master and trains another outer rim outsider in his crafts. I loved watching Thrawn outwit humans who felt far superior and learned they were not. This book also featured the backstory of Lothal governor Pryce and her journey down a dark path of ruthlessness. I read this book using immersion reading, while listening to the brilliant Marc Thompson's incredible narration. His character voices are spot on and his beautiful intonations really make the story come alive. I loved Thrawn's voice. This book is another reason why he is my favorite narrator.
A must read/listen for Star Wars fans, Zahn does not disappoint. Political intrigue, action, drama and excitement await within. I took my time to savor this book and was sad to see it end. I hope we have more of the Grand Admiral's adventures both in print and on the big screen.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Miss the old voice

Love it. But I miss the old voice for Thrawn. The new one lines up with Rebels, but is less powerful.

19 of 23 people found this review helpful

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Somewhat disappointing

While not bad, per se, unfortunately this fell far short of my expectations. The Thrawn character here doesn't compare to his excellent arc in the 'Heir to the Empire' trilogy.

16 of 21 people found this review helpful

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Thrawn has survived the purge of the cannon

5 hours in and Thrawn seems to have survived the cannon purge wonderfully he is still Thrawn and this story reinstates alot of thrawns back story that had evolved other the course of Zahns other novels

35 of 47 people found this review helpful

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awesome

Marc Thompson's narration was incredible! A must listen!! Timothy Zahn's writing remains the best! Thrawn

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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A Zahn Book - Expertly voiced

This is what I was looking for in a Timothy Zahn Book. I've missed his thrawn. I also want to be first to say the voice actor is perfect, even if Eli is clearly George W. Bush.

18 of 25 people found this review helpful

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Exceptional entry into the Star Wars Canon

I’ve read a lot of Star Wars books and generally, I really enjoy them. I love the universe, love the consistency from Novel to Novel and have really grown to love listening to them through Audible. Star Wars: Thrawn took that to a whole new level. I was blown away by the thought and care that went into making this book exceptional. It was more than just a run of the mill Star Wars novel, although run of the mill is pretty darn good when it comes to Star Wars. This book was about tactics and strategy and showed the mind of Thrawn on full display for us all to enjoy and marvel about. I was impressed and had a ton of fun with this novel.

We’ve known of Thrawn for some time, back in the day, he had several entries in the Legends works, but this was the first one in the new canon and they based this character on what we saw in Star Wars Rebels. His voice, his mind, his blue skin and red eyes, all present and exactly what I had hoped for.

Marc Thompson is something special and his work on Thrawn was no exception. Even if you don’t care for Thrawn, you should listen to the book just to hear what Marc does with the character. Next level work performed here.

This book was a hard to put down, fun to listen to and I highly recommend it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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sound effects

overall...excellent...as usual. Some sound effects are tpo loud. For example, the blaster fire drowns out the narrator sometimes. sound of the alien voices can be obnoxious af

3 of 4 people found this review helpful