Book Review: Thrawn

As I anticipate the release of the newest Thrawn: Ascendancy book, I've decided to go on a binge re-read of the Thrawn books. This week it was the first one- just Thrawn. [rest of spoiler free thoughts here]


Spoilers ahead for Thrawn by Timothy Zahn.


Thrawn is a novel that is primarily character driven, so that will be the focus of my review however I did really enjoy and get pulled into the story as we followed various exploits around the galaxy, taking down pirates and battling rebels. It's always pretty fun to read from the bad guys' side, and I definitely enjoyed it. This book is also really good at setting up the atmosphere for a variety of places, I particularly enjoyed the parts of the book focused on Coruscant for this reason.


Thrawn himself of course is the main focus of the novel, and he's really interesting to read about. I really liked getting to be inside his head as he learned more about the Empire and the galaxy outside of the regions he was familiar with. I really liked the aspect of him not being as good at the political aspects of his military role. While he is of course a brilliant strategist in battle, he lacks a lot of tact when it comes to dealing with the people that he works with and maneuvering the petty political fights between high ranking Imperial officials. He simply sees the end goal and a good way to get there, and doesn't understand why everyone won't just work together. It's really interesting to read about and adds layers to his characters.


The other most prominent character in the book is Eli Vanto, Thrawn's assistant who goes through a really great character arc. In the beginning, Eli is assigned to the newly discovered Thrawn because he is the only one who spoke his language, Sy Bisti, since he grew up on the edge of Wild Space. Eli resents the disruption to the career path he had envisioned for himself, but eventually grows to be grateful for the new opportunities and appreciative for the opportunity to work with someone as brilliant as Thrawn, because he himself grows to share a tactical mind like Thrawn does as well. I really enjoyed Eli's character arc, of course with the exciting bit at the end when he goes to join the Chiss Ascendancy on Thrawn's recommendation, and this re-read is definitely getting me excited to read the Ascendancy books!


Finally, I have to talk a little bit about Pryce. While I'm not a fan because of her actions in a particular episode of Star Wars Rebels, I have to admit that it was pretty neat to read about her rise to power as governor of Lothal, and especially the cutthroat tactics she used to get there. She's pretty ruthless at times in this book, and gets more and more so as time goes on. She doesn't always get credit for being a smart strategist, but the way that she bides her time and works hard to seem unassuming while she's really plotting a long, long plan to take power is very neat and is a part of her that doesn't shine quite as much in Rebels, so it was cool to read about for sure.

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