Thrawn

Thrawn serves many purposes. On one hand, it reintroduces readers to a fan favorite character. From Thrawn’s discovery by the Empire to his rise through the ranks, this book shows the character in action just as we remembered him. But it’s also an introduction for new readers. Through the story, they’ll learn more about the character than what has been revealed on the animated television show. While Timothy Zahn hasn’t changed much about the character, this novel has given him the opportunity to explore a part of Thrawn’s life we haven’t seen before, as well as telling a story that’s completely canon. So whether you’re a fan of Thrawn or a fan of Star Wars Rebels, Thrawn has a lot to offer.

First off, Thrawn covers a lot of territory. The book starts out in Wildspace with the discovery of Thrawn which results in the Empire’s first encounter with him. It goes from him joining the Empire, gaining their trust, and slowly, raising through the ranks. We see Thrawn go to an Imperial academy for training. We see him deal with the alien bias of the Empire, learning their ways, their culture and even their language. His career goes from ship to ship, assignment to assignment, and all the promotions along the way. Ultimately, it ends with his promotion to Grand Admiral.

For Star Wars Rebels fans, this story goes a long way in fleshing out the character. It explores what makes Chiss unique from humans, it dives into Thrawn’s motivations and goals, and it explains what happened with Batonn which was mentioned on the show. Furthermore, the book sheds more light on Yularen and his relationship with Thrawn, which ties into the show. It touches upon Thrawn’s relationship with the Emperor which has not been explored in the show, but has been mentioned in other books like the Aftermath Trilogy. Yet one of the biggest surprises of the book is the inclusion of Governor Pryce.

In Star Wars Rebels, Governor Pryce didn’t show up until later seasons of the show and her character has received almost no background. In Thrawn, we get a complete background for Pryce. The book dives into her life on Lothal before she sided with the Empire. It shows her family, her struggles, and her character motivations. Through the book, we slowly see how she came to power and became the character we see in the show. Oddly enough, I was so intrigued by her character that her exploration in the story actually rivaled that of Thrawn. I loved seeing Pryce as someone other than just another Imperial crony. While she’s no tactician like Thrawn, she is quite the political power player. Yet it’s the little things about her character, the moments that make her relatable, that adds so much to Pryce. It throws her character into an all new light.

There is one other character worth mentioning, is that is Eli Vanto. Eli is a new character and in a way, he serves as a fill in for Pellaeon who isn’t in this book. Eli ends up being tied to Thrawn and his training, essentially his tutor for speaking Basic and the culture of the Empire. However Thrawn takes it upon himself to train Eli as an officer, teaching him tactics and how to study one’s opponents. This creates a little bit of a buffer between the reader and Thrawn as Eli is used as the viewpoint character, which helps maintain some of the mystery. That said, the book still dives into Thrawn’s head especially with journal entries by Thrawn at the beginning of each chapter.

Between the characters of Eli, Pryce, Thrawn and Yularen, the book leads up to the events of the Star Wars Rebels tv show. This allows the story to explore and expand upon the characters and add a significant amount to the show. The relationships between the characters takes on a new meaning which put the show in a new light. On top of that, the story that is told is entertaining and a fun read. It strikes a good balance between telling a Thrawn story but also telling a Star Wars Rebels story. Given all the years covered in this journey, it creates quite the adventure. I give it a four out of five metal bikinis. It’s a great read and the only thing it’s missing is the big cinematic gasp moment. As yet, Thrawn still lives, and we’ll have to wait and see how that tale turns out.

Reviewed By: Skuldren for Roqoo Depot.
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