Goody’s Publication Audit: A Review of Star Wars: THRAWN! By Timothy Zahn
Words can’t begin to express how excited I was when this beautiful little gem arrived on my door step on the day of its release. I’ve been looking forward to this book ever since it was announced that Thrawn was receiving a new book, but more importantly, that the original author who wrote about him in the now “Legends” canon was doing the writing, and let me tell you folks…… I was not disappointed by Zahn’s work with one of my favorite all-time Star Wars characters. Although, there are a few subtle differences from the original character to this new one that we first saw in Star Wars Rebels on Disney and to the one in the book, but we’ll dive into that in a bit.
A little background on our Chiss genius for those of you who aren’t too familiar with him. Thrawn is an alien species known, as I stated above, the Chiss. The Chiss don’t live within the known universe that we’ve seen in the movies or books, they hail from the Unknown Regions, which is a vast area unexplored due to unsafe routes of travel.
Like the book cover above, the Chiss have blue skin, red glowing eyes, and are very humanoid. Thrawn’s actual Chiss name is Mitth’raw’nuruodo, which is a mouthful and not the easiest to pronounce. In the old Legends canon Thrawns history was mostly mysterious, and the portions that we did know we only got in small bits and pieces.
Comparing the two versions of Thrawn is difficult. Both are highly intelligent, both have a love and appreciation for art, and both are very secretive about their plans until they are revealed. If I had to compare and pick which I prefer I would pick our new version. The newer version of the character is far less ruthless when it comes to civilian casualties and I loved how Zahn wrote him this time around. We were placed within his shoes, or his point of view far better. We got to see how he observes others. The chiss can see into the infrared spectrum and their vision is far superior to a normal humanoids. He can see muscles tightening under uniforms and how facial features adjust when being questioned. He could be compared to other great highly intellectual fictional characters like Sherlock Holmes, Batman, C. Auguste Dupin, Columbo, Hannibal, or Keyser Soze. All of which have either keen observation skills and or are highly intelligent.
There were several characters who either supported Thrawn or were enemies of him within the old canon that were not brought back in this book. I’d rather not dive into that since I would more than likely be writing a review that’s far too long about a topic that isn’t even explored anyways. I’m sure I’ll be mentioning comparison’s here and there, so please stay with me.
The book goes through the discovery of Thrawn on an undiscovered planet, his presentation to the Emperor, his induction to the Imperial Navy, his rise though the ranks (which is a bumpy one), to his appointment to Grand Admiral. Yes, I know, very brief. You all know how I do it, little to no spoilers.
The “Dramatis Personae” include Eli Vanto – Thrawns personal assistant and translator. Arihnda Pryce – Mining Engineer who we later see in Star Wars Rebels as Governor Pryce (we see her fall and rise within the Empire). Grand Moff Tarkin – Same old calculating and ruthless skull face, as well as some other characters who will be kept from mentioning so not to spoil the story.
The story timeline takes place long before the Star Wars Rebels TV show, but does lead up to it.
Throughout the book, there were several times that Thrawn mentions a larger threat out in the unknown regions. I thought this should be mentioned as a small spoiler here since we have seen in the old expanded universe a very large threat that come out of the unknown regions. this leads me to believe that they might use this in future Star Wars canon story lines.
There a lot of Easter Eggs within the story, you’ll have to pay close attention or you’ll really miss a couple. And no, I’m not spoiling them for you, lol!
The author leaves a lot open for future stories and it’s done perfectly. I’ll be highly disappointed if they don’t run in at least a couple of directions with some. I was a little disappointed there wasn’t a major rival in the book for Thrawn, there was one but he really wasn’t, kinda hard to explain.
There’s a minor difference between the Thrawn we see in this book to the Thrawn we see in Star Wars Rebels. Not major, but enough to notice a difference.
This book made me like Governor Pryce much more, I didn’t care for the character very much in the Rebels TV show.
No one else could have written this book, certainly not “He Who I Will Not Name”. Zahn knows Thrawn the best and I’m so happy that he was chosen to bring him back and I’m also hoping that they decide to do another one.
Given the time frame that Thrawn was chosen to come back in, I’m hoping that they have a bigger plan for him and not some ridiculous death scene before Episode 4 – A New Hope. If you read the book and understand the ending then lets talk about the possibilities. I’m hoping that he decides to return home and face the “Greater Threats”.
Let me know what you all thought, I’d love to hear your opinions.