Star Wars Thrawn Alliances No Spoiler Review

Thrawn Alliances No Spoiler Review

If you are reading this review to decide whether to read Thrawn Alliances, let me save you some time. Stop reading this review immediately, and grab a copy of Thrawn Alliances and read it. There are no caveats or conditions. This novel is simply a must-read for any and every Star Wars fan. Really, it’s that good.

Thrawn Alliances is the sequel to the Thrawn novel written last year by the character’s original creator, Timothy Zahn. Zahn does a masterful job building on the epic origin story of Thrawn and his rise in the Imperial ranks, as described in the novel Thrawn, and his involvement and pursuit of Phoenix Squadron in the Rebels animated TV series.

The novel is set shortly after the Battle at Atollon (depicted in the Rebels TV series) where Thrawn’s seemingly inevitable defeat of Phoenix squadron was foiled unexpectedly by the intervention of The Bendu. Emperor Palpatine assigns Darth Vader and Grand Admiral Thrawn to the edges of the known galaxy to investigate an anomaly in the force. While Emperor Palpatine apparently understood and accepted the reasons for Thrawn’s failure at Atollon, Vader viewed them as unacceptable excuses. So when Palpatine put Thrawn in command of their mission, Vader’s resentment for Thrawn only grew deeper. Perhaps sensing his apprentice’s growing disdain for Thrawn, an asset that Palpatine was quite fond of, Palpatine orchestrated the mission to allow Thrawn to win over Vader’s respect through his strategic genius. And Thrawn did just that.

To make matters more interesting, the novel also describes a parallel encounter years earlier between Thrawn and General Anakin Skywalker during the Clone Wars. Thrawn, at this time a Commander in the Chiss Ascendancy, teams up with Anakin on the edges of Wild Space to stop a top secret Separatist facility that threatens both the Chiss and the Republic. In both stories, Thrawn accomplishes victory in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds through his uncanny ability to thoroughly understand his enemy and exploit their weakness. But while Thrawn and Vader accomplish victory over this battle, the war for control in the Unknown Regions has only just begun…

There is so much to love about Zahn’s approach and style in this novel. He takes and improves elements from some of the best Star Wars Canon novels to craft an amazingly entertaining narrative. While many of the recent Star Wars novels tell multiple stories set in different time frames in the novel to tell the overall story, none have so artfully interweaved these stories to build such suspense and gratifying resolution. While several of the novels explore Vader’s character arc in the years between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, none so effectively compare and contrast Anakin Skywalker’s brash impulsiveness with Darth Vader’s impatient decisiveness. While several of the novels cause readers to root for the “bad guy,” none cause readers to feel such profound awe and respect for the “bad guy.” While some novels explore the expansiveness of the Star Wars Universe, none so compellingly open a new frontier in the Star Wars Universe that is every bit as exciting as the one we originally fell in love with.

Not only does Thrawn Alliances contain a fantastic and entertaining story arc, but it adds more pieces to the overall Star Wars storyline that fill in a bit more of the puzzle of what happened between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens. We’ve learned that the secrets of the Unknown Regions were crucial to Emperor Palpatine’s “contingency plan” that eventually allowed the remnants of the Empire to give birth to the menacing First Order. We are now learning that Thrawn’s association with the Emperor may have been the key to give birth to the contingency plan in the first place.

If I haven’t convinced you to read Thrawn Alliances yet, let me make one final attempt. I have read every single canon novel and junior novel that has come out since Disney purchased the franchise (many of them multiple times). Some of the novels aren’t worth reading. Most of them are very enjoyable and add a considerable element to my understanding and enjoyment of the Star Wars Saga. Both Thrawn and Thrawn Alliances remain at the top of the list. Trust me, they are worth the read. What are you waiting for?

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