Star Wars: Thrawn - a short guide on how to become a Great Admiral
Some time ago I posted an Instastory about the next post on my blog in which you could see the book Star Wars: Thrawn. It’s been a while since that moment, but in the end, I managed to prepare for you the review of Timothy Zahn's novel. Yes, it ‘s going to be about Thrawn again! A character supposedly is known, but with each new book, we discover him anew. This time, we have the opportunity to see the beginning of Mitth'raw’nuruodo's career in the ranks of the Imperial fleet.
I would point out that the book was given to me as a birthday present from my gaming team. Thanks to them, I fell in love with Timothy Zahn’s books. To make matters worse, I got it in English so reading the whole novel took me some time. For those who prefer the Polish version, it was released by the Uroboros publishing house on November 13, 2019, and is available in bookstores around Poland.
Before I get to the story of the book and my opinion about the action itself, I will focus on a few technical issues regarding the book's construction and narrative. Well, the novel is composed of 29 chapters, which start with short introductions from Thrawn's diary. These are his private thoughts and teachings arising from the events taking place in the following chapter. So, partly, we have the opportunity to familiarize ourselves with the effects of specific events before knowing the whole action. Personally, the information presented in this way encouraged me to read the following pages. The narrative is conducted from the point of view of 3 characters: Thrawn, his helper and collaborator - Eli Vanto, and Arihnda Pryce. If any of you associate the last name, then you deserve applause and a bottle of Corellian Whiskey. It is the same character that occurs in Star Wars: Rebels, where she holds the function of the governor of the planet Lothal. The adventures of Thrawn intertwine with the fate of the aforementioned Mrs. Pryce, thus creating two different stories that meet at some point. On the one hand, we have the world of the Imperial Navy presented by the red-eyed Chiss and Ensign Vanto, and on the other, the dirty reality of political struggles and fights for power on Coruscant depicted to us by Arihnda. The action is stretched over time and lasts for several years, through which we see the fate of all heroes with their subsequent professional promotions and victories over the enemies.
I should underline that people expecting epic galactic battles may be a bit disappointed. In fact, all military actions are mostly shown from the deck of Imperial ships in the form of reports provided by the crew. Therefore, the reader learns about the result of the landing operation on the planet or the attack on enemy ships. The main action revolves around a mysterious man named Nightswan, who incites the inhabitants of the planets under the Empire to revolt. Timothy Zahn created his character very well, enriching him with an analytical mind, cleverness and tactical thinking tailored to the skills possessed by Thrawn. Speaking of which, Zahn uses a very interesting measure to show how Chiss perceives and studies the reactions of people in his surroundings. Thrawn assesses people based on very detailed observations of gestures and body language of the interlocutors and colleagues. This allows him to draw conclusions about the true intentions of others. In turn, studying the art of a given nation, well known to us from the Rebels series, is a confirmation of his military genius and attention to every detail and information that he can get about his opponent.
I haven't mentioned Eli Vanto - Thrawn's helper and translator, whom we've met from the first pages of the novel. The inconspicuous and insignificant cadet of the Imperial school on Myomar with time becomes the most trusted associate and more importantly a student of the Great Admiral. The son of the owners of a shipping company from the Wild Space, all he wanted was to become a supply officer. However, meeting a stranger from the Unknown Regions, changed his fate forever. He remains unwaveringly alongside Chiss as a loyal ally, even though he himself has remained an ensign for a long time, while Thrawn has advanced quickly from one step to another, gaining more and more publicity among the envious and envious glances of Imperial fleet commanders. I really enjoyed the talks between Mitth'raw’nuruodo and Eli after each military action. This form of a dialogue between the characters was presented in order to explain Thrawn's plans and decisions on the basis of pieces of information presented during previous events. It is Eli who discovers Chiss cards for readers and explains his way of thinking and acting.
Unfortunately, despite all the consistency and well-presented Star Wars world, I didn't like Pryce. She wasn't convincing enough for me, and I had the impression that she gets off the tiger’s back from every oppression. Of course, she met with difficulties and had to deal with the cruel world of politics, but her fate seemed to be presented quickly and a little without idea. Her fate with Thrawn's story was really sketchy and mainly concerned the help of the Great Admiral in devising a plan to destroy her political enemies, in order to get the position of the Governor on Lothal, and Chiss's consent to the infiltration of the rebel camp by Arhinda during the final battle on Batonn. Of course, Pryce had her own interest in it, but I won’t say a word about it – just read the book.
This definitely doesn't diminish the Zahn's novel, which abounds in many interesting titbits, including information about the meeting of Thrawn and Anakin Skywalker or Vanto's discovery of the carefully concealed circulation of rare metal doonium, which, as it turns out, the Galactic Empire needs to build ... can you guess what?
With a clear conscience, I can recommend the book to any fan of the Star Wars universe and those who want to reach for a very good quality sci-fiction novel. I am already waiting for Thrawn's further fate, which will appear in May next year in the first novel of the Ascendancy trilogy, entitled “Chaos Rising”.