Book Review: Thrawn

Review via Yodasnews Contributor Jacob Burdis:

Thrawn No Spoiler Review

Simply put, Thrawn is one of the best novels that has been released in Disney’s new series of canon novels. Period. I usually start these reviews with some sort of introduction to the novel and the timing of its release. But this novel was so good that I’m breaking tradition to tell you to read it! Now, onto the review…

Inarguably the loss of Grand Admiral Thrawn was one of the biggest upsets for many die-hard Star Wars fans of Disney’s decision to demote the Star Wars Expanded Universe to non-canon Legends. But when Thrawn appeared in the trailer for Season 3 of Rebels and the canon Thrawn novel was announced, the surge of excitement throughout the fanbase was palpable.  To top it all off, none other than the revered Timothy Zahn, the original creator of the Thrawn character in the Expanded Universe, was given the helm to bring Thrawn into the Star Wars Canon in novel form.

In my opinion, Thrawn may have just become Dos Equis’ new spokesperson as the most interesting alien in the Star Wars Universe. Those familiar with the incredible diversity of species in the Star Wars Universe haven’t missed the fact that there is hardly a species other than Human in the Imperial Ranks. For Thrawn to have risen to the top of the ranks of the Imperial Navy in just a few years, despite his non-humanness, is a story worth telling, and a story worth reading.

The novel begins on a back-world planet on the edges of Wild Space bordering the Unknown Regions. An Imperial crew, investigating a reported disturbance, finds a mysteriously abandoned camp on the planet, which they thought to be uninhabited. Thrawn’s uncanny, Sherlock Holme’s-like mastery of strategy and tactics becomes apparent from this opening scene as he single-handedly infiltrates the Imperial cruiser, earns the respect of the commander and gains an audience with none other but Emperor Palpatine himself. Thus begins his acceleration up the Empire’s ranks.

Surprisingly, the novel also features two additional, unexpected protagonists whose lives become intertwined with Thrawn’s: Eli Vanto and Arihnda Pryce. Eli Vanto is an Imperial cadet from Wild Space who becomes Thrawn’s interpreter, as he is fluent in Thrawn’s native language Sy Bisti. As Vanto shadows Thrawn in his adventures (much like Dr. Watson shadows Sherlock Holmes I might add), he is torn between revering Thrawn and his genius and resenting Thrawn for stunting his own career ambitions. The resolution of Vanto’s dilemma was, for me, one of the most satisfying endings in all of Star Wars Canon.

We first met Arihnda Pryce in Rebels as she was serving as the Governor of Lothal. In addition to Thrawn’s backstory, we also learn how Pryce maneuvered her way from corporate mining into becoming an influential leader of the Empire in the Outer Rim. This was most definitely an unexpected, yet very satisfying origin story as well.

Thrawn also plays a crucial role in the emerging Star Wars story at large. One of the reasons Emperor Palpatine finds Thrawn so valuable to the Empire is his knowledge of navigation routes through the Unknown Regions, and his warning of dangers and evils that lie therein. Certainly this plays into the Emperor’s “contingency plan” that we learned about in the Aftermath series that took the Imperial remnant into the Unknown Regions to later emerge as the First Order in the new Star Wars film trilogy.

I will say it again. I’ve read every canon novel and junior novel released by Disney, and Thrawn ranks among the top. Read it. You will not be disappointed.

Click Here or the image below to pick this up via digital, audio or physical form.  We would like to thank Del Rey/Penguin Random House for providing the review sample.