Star Wars: Thrawn – Book Review

‘After Thrawn is rescued from exile by Imperial soldiers, his deadly ingenuity and keen tactical abilities swiftly capture the attention of Emperor Palpatine. And just as quickly, Thrawn proves to be as indispensable to the Empire as he is ambitious; a brilliant warrior never to be underestimated.

‘On missions to rout smugglers, snare pirates, and defeat pirates, he triumphs again and again, inspiring even greater admiration from the Empire. One promotion follows another, but will be put to the ultimate test when Thrawn rises to admiral – and must pit all the knowledge, instincts, and battle forces at his command against an insurgent uprising that threatens not only innocent lives but also the Empire’s grip on the galaxy.’

When Disney acquired Star Wars and did away with the old expanded universe there were many things that fans were sad to see go, the Solo Twins, Mara Jade, Kyle Katarn, but one that the most people were sad to see go was Grand Admiral Thrawn, one of the most ruthless, and cunning bad guys in the Star Wars universe.

Star Wars Rebels surprised fans in the third season with the surprise return of Thrawn, casting him as the main antagonist for the series. Star Wars: Thrawn is set before his on screen debut, and tells the story of his arrival within the Empire, and his rise to the rank of Grand Admiral. The best thing, however, is that the book is written by Timothy Zhan, the original creator of Thrawn.

Whilst in the past books that have featured Thrawn have also had some major Star Wars characters competing for story time, with Thrawn sharing his pages with Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Princess Leia to name just a few. Here, however, Thrawn is front and centre of the book, though the story does include some small interludes with Arihnda Pryce.

Thanks to Thrawns cold, calculating manner, and his tight focus on his goals this book works so incredibly well. Any other character in this same story just wouldn’t be as interesting, but Thrawn himself exudes the same menace and awe here that he has on screen in Star Wars Rebels. Thanks to the inclusion of Eli Vanto, Thrawns aide and friend, we get more of a grounded and human insight into the character, though he never feels warm of kind at any time.

The book not only tells the backstory of Thrawn, but also shows how Pryce, who would go on to be Governor of Lothal in Star Wars Rebels. Seeing the twin stories is an interesting choice, seeing these two ruthless and calculating people rising to positions of huge power through very different paths. It also adds a little more depth to the scenes that characters share together in the television series as you discover that the two of them have a history and connections beyond the show.

Star Wars: Thrawn doesn’t add anything big to the Star Wars universe, there are no huge revelations or reveals here that will be effecting the wider universe, but it does explore a small portion of the past of one of the most popular Star Wars characters in a hugely well crafted and entertaining way.

With a second Thrawn book coming out in 2018, one that will be teaming him up with Darth Vader, it’s well worth going back and reading Star Wars: Thrawn before it’s release.

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