Star Wars: Thrawn: Alliances by Timothy Zahn, narrated by Marc Thompson. 13 hours 21 minutes.
Grand Admiral Thrawn and Darth Vader ally against a threat to the Empire in this new novel from bestselling author Timothy Zahn.
“I have sensed a disturbance in the Force.”
Ominous words under any circumstances, but all the more so when uttered by Emperor Palpatine. On Batuu, at the edges of the Unknown Regions, a threat to the Empire is taking root—its existence little more than a glimmer, its consequences as yet unknowable. But it is troubling enough to the Imperial leader to warrant investigation by his most powerful agents: ruthless enforcer Lord Darth Vader and brilliant strategist Grand Admiral Thrawn. Fierce rivals for the emperor’s favor, and outspoken adversaries on Imperial affairs—including the Death Star project—the formidable pair seem unlikely partners for such a crucial mission. But the Emperor knows it’s not the first time Vader and Thrawn have joined forces. And there’s more behind his royal command than either man suspects.
In what seems like a lifetime ago, General Anakin Skywalker of the Galactic Republic, and Commander Mitth’raw’nuruodo, officer of the Chiss Ascendancy, crossed paths for the first time. One on a desperate personal quest, the other with motives unknown…and undisclosed. But facing a gauntlet of dangers on a far-flung world, they forged an uneasy alliance—neither remotely aware of what their futures held in store.
Now, thrust together once more, they find themselves bound again for the planet where they once fought side by side. There they will be doubly challenged—by a test of their allegiance to the Empire…and an enemy that threatens even their combined might.
My wish came true! I had mentioned in my review of the prequel that I wanted the story of when Thrawn met Anakin Skywalker and would he figure out that he became Darth Vader?
I don’t think one has to read Thrawn before reading this sequel, but it sure would help to know his background. That said I was reading some reviews on Goodreads and some people mentioned that they missed Eli Vanto. I honestly did not. Though knowing the outcome of Thrawn: Alliances I wouldn’t mind seeing what he is up to with the Chiss Ascendancy.
I listened to this story on audible and once again Marc Thompson is a fantastic narrator. I did laugh at his voice for Padmé, but what can you do? He’s not Natalie Portman, or Catherine Taber.
I also bought the Barnes and Noble exclusive edition, only because I wanted the poster of Padmé. (Side rant: why must they put that ugly sticker on the cover? It’s hiding Vader’s buttons. And it is already printed inside that it’s a B&N exclusive. I pealed it off but there will always be a sticky residue.)
Ok, so back to the review.
I like that we have a time frame. The past is set after Ahsoka has already left the Jedi Order. The present is set after the Battle of Atollon on Star Wars: Rebels. So between seasons 3 and 4.
I’ll start with some critiques and then end on the positive. This is going to get spoiler-y.
-In the beginning of the book I kind of felt that Anakin and Vader were dumbed down a bit to build up Thrawn. I know Anakin is impulsive and acts recklessly, but he seemed a bit too oblivious at the start. Vader as well. As the novel went on it happened less and by the end Anakin and Vader were making their own observations without Thrawn’s help.
(I saw on twitter someone called it Thrawnsplaining – which I have to admit cracked me up!)
-I think this only annoyed me because I was listening to an audiobook. Had I been reading the written word my eyes most likely would have skipped it, but once again Thrawn says “Perhaps” way too much. Even Vader and Anakin were saying it. I was saying to myself, “I forbid you to use that word ever again, Mr. Zahn.”
-This is a minor thing but since when is Vader pro-Death Star project? He didn’t seem to be in A New Hope when he says the power of Death Star pales in comparison to the Force.
On to the positive!
– First off, YES to Padmé getting more literary content. Her parts were some of my favorites. I especially like the epilogue when she is questioning the war and her actions during it while repeating clichés like “This is war” and “collateral damage.” It’s a good lead into the (deleted) events of RotS when she petitions with other Senators to end the war.
– Not as much romance for my OTP, but having Anakin and Padmé unsuccessfully try to hide it from Thrawn was amusing.
– I really liked the way a few of the battle scenes were written. In particular when Anakin was fighting and would see into the future. The “double vision” was a nice touch to describe it. I really loved BOTH scenes when Vader was fighting the insects that turned to stone. I thought that was so cool.
– I also loved in Chapter 8 when Thrawn uses the rum as a weapon! That was a cool maneuver!
– Victory and Revenge. Nice balance of when Thrawn brought that up to Anakin and then Vader threw it back at Thrawn decades later.
– Which brings me to how I loved the power play between Thrawn & Vader and whenever Thrawn was trolling Vader by bringing up Skywalker. Ok, maybe he wasn’t trolling, but he was testing his theory! I thought maybe Thrawn knew for sure when he told Vader how they call their Chiss navigators “sky walkers” but it wasn’t until Vader was flying the TIE that Thrawn was 100% positive. I like that Thrawn said he would honor Anakin’s legacy.
I could go into so much more detail, but since this is a Zahn novel that would be a very long review. It’s better suited for a book club discussion.
4 out of 5 Cortosis ore.