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on 11 March 2016
Timothy Zahn is a great writer and storyteller! I have read all three volumes of this trilogy for several times in last 15 years. I'm a great fan of the original Star Wars. I could not stand the new ones... You know, Jar Jar Binks and stuff... This Zahn's trilogy should be the next Star Wars movies. This book introduces great characters, mainly Imperial Grand Admiral Thrawn... I don't want to spoil this trilogy but if you're into Star Wars, this trilogy is a must read!
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VINE VOICEon 2 November 2004
Five years after 'Return of the Jedi', Grand Admiral Thrawn continues his devastating war against the New Republic by seeking out the Dark Force, a fleet of Dreadnaughts that disappeared decades earlier. Mara Jade, hoping to rescue her employer Talon Karrde from Thrawn's clutches, seeks the help of Luke Skywalker, but first she must free him from the influence of the Dark Jedi Joruus C'baoth. Elsewhere, Leia and Chewbacca seek to turn the Noghri against the Empire and Han and Lando discover a potential ally from the early days of the Rebellion.
In a lot of ways this book is an improvement over it's excellent predecessor, having more character development, more dynamic action and more interesting plot twists. I enjoyed the idea that Luke is so desperate to further his Jedi training that he fails to resist C'baoth's mind control and that it is Mara, who is sworn to kill him, who saves him from this new dark side temptation. The pace of this novel is excellent too, with the disparate threads gathering momentum as all the elements of the story plunge towards the battle for the Katana Fleet. The character of Garm Bel-Iblis is a welcome addition to the story, being a founder of the Rebellion, who broke away to conduct a private war against the Empire, but who is now drawn back towards his old comrades. I'm sure you'll also enjoy the ending, in which Borsk Fey'lya gets exactly what he deserves! An interesting element of this book is Zahn's use of clone Stormtroopers; did Lucas give him hints of his plans for the prequels, or was Lucas himself influenced by this book (don't forget that Zahn was the man who named the galaxy's capital 'Coruscant' and Lucas used that...)
I found the storyline involving Leia's trip to Honoghr to be tedious at the best of times and, despite it's importance to the eventual outcome of the trilogy, I could have happily done without it. Mara's seeking out of Luke seemed a little far fetched, considering the lengths Zahn has gone to to show how much she hates him.
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on 19 February 2013
This trilogy rivals the original 3 movies, and destroys completely the last 3 ones.
I kid you not!
If you like star wars, get these 3 books (this one being the second of the series) right now!!!
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on 19 May 1999
This piece is a magnificent sequel of the Heir to the Emire. It just can't be better. At least I didn't find anything that I'd like to change. Here are all well known characters Chewbacca, Leia, Luke, Han, Calrissian, Grand Admiral Thrawn, Karrde, Mara Jade, C'Baoth. Well the last four of them are from Heir to the Empire and if you hasn't read it yet (what are you doing here? - get Heir to the Empire first), do that now. I also agree with someone who said that there should be a movie. I hope that will happen someday, because I'd really like to see Mara and all new characters live, in movies. I've been wondering for a time now, why I always give 5 stars to all books I review. Maybe I'm just lucky and I buy all the best books.
I think everyone will agree with me, that Timothy Zahn really knows how to write a good book.
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on 24 January 1999
This book is really great. The characters are like they are in the movies, instead of all strange (like Luke in The Crystal Star.) I like the scenes with the Dreadnaughts and Luke's rescue of Karrde. I also like Thrawn. What Vader and Palpatine accomplished with brute force, Thrawn accomplishes with brains. This is one of the best SW books ever, and of course Zahn is the best SW author. My other favorite SW books are the Wraith Squadron novels, the Hand of Thrawn series, Heir to the Empire, and The Last Command. However, I think Luke should have figured out C'Baoth was evil sooner than he did. L. Command is better, but this is great, too.
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on 3 September 1999
Dark force takes the gauntlet from 'Heir to the Empire' with the usual slick action and excitement of any Zahn novel. Characters develop (Borsk Fey'la escpecially - you'll wnat to strangle him soon enough!), and the story unfolds further and deeper, with a spectacular (and superbly executed) ending (as per 'Heir'). If you've read 'Heir' you'll want it anyway. If not, you should start the whole trilogy, and be amazed at how well Zahn writes for the Star Wars universe.
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on 10 November 1999
The best star wars novel yet! Zahn is trully the best star wars author next to George Lucas himself. The story has exactly the same atmosphere as the films, and never, at no point at all, becomes boring. Next to that, Zahn adds new characters worlds and creatures that fit in as if they were from the original movies. Okay Thrawn is no Lord Vader, but he will do just fine (very, very fine). Keep up the good work Tim!
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on 15 August 1997
In my opinion, Zahn is the only SW author who can tell a story like Lucas. He was so true to the characters (all of them, even Chewie) that you could hear the actors say his lines. Also, Zahn's writing is a tight combination of fast paced and vivid. Unlike many of the other SW athors, Zahn plays by Lucas's rules. Even the characters he created seemed like they fit into Lucas's movies-- especially Mara Jade and Grand Admiral Thrawn. So far, Zahn's trilogy is the only one that gave me the impression he had actually watched the movies. Many of the other books have a weak Leia, a wimpy Luke and a non-existant Han. Zahn's deep, acctuate characterization, vivid writing, chilling villians and sprawling, moral story do the movies justice.
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on 11 October 2010
Dark Force Rising is the second book in the Star Wars: Thrawn Trilogy and following on from events in book 1, Heir to the Empire. I quite enjoyed the first book, mainly due to my love of the original Star Wars trilogy and the fact that the characters from that returned for this story. What was also good was the way Timothy Zahn introduced new characters to the setting that felt right and worked extremely well. So, I was quite eager to get my teeth into Dark Force Rising and see how the story continued. In short, very pleasing, but read on for some more details...

We've got a few main threads in Dark Force Rising, from the big threat of the Empire now commanded by Grand Admiral Thrawn, Leia and her quest to bring the truth to the Noghri people and get them on side with the New Republic, Luke and his inevitable drawing to the old, and dark, Jedi Joruus C'Baoth, Han and Lando on a mission to find out more of the Katana Fleet - the Dark Force of the title, and general goings-on that have carried through from the first book.

While I've mentioned the new characters in my previous review I won't go into detail on them, although I will talk a little about the Noghri. These are a race that are sworn to help the Empire, or rather were recruited by Darth Vader himself before he transferred command of them to Thrawn. They do as Thrawn commands and their current target is Princess Leia, but when they discover that she is the daughter of Darth Vader all this changes. We get to see their motivations and why they continue to serve the Empire, all of which is very satisfying. It's nice to see a good amount of detail go into new races such as the Noghri in this series, and it brings a little extra than the normal Star Wars story does.

The story is overall very pleasing, delivering pretty much what I expected from a Star Wars tale, especially the second part of a trilogy. It continues the plot threads from the first book and also builds up plenty of things ready for the conclusion in book three. All the characters are well portrayed once again and Zahn does a terrific job of bringing a proper Star Wars feel to the novel. While there is nothing overly surprising, I found that my main enjoyment came from how well written and true to the source material the novel is. Some plot threads do tend to be dragged out a little, but ultimately they satisfied my inner fan boy and made me want to get around to the third book sooner rather than later.

So far the Thrawn trilogy is turning out to be a pretty good continuation of the Star Wars story. Here's hoping that Zahn can bring the finale to a close in spectacular fashion!
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on 5 December 1997
Wow. That is the one word that perfectly sums up my opinion of this book. I agree with those who say that this was not quite up to the standards of Zahn's other action-packed, edge-of-you-seat (or where ever else you read)SW novels, but it was still great, eh? Can't argue with that! Sure, I have my complaints, and I have other books I enjoyed more (plenty more), but that's how it is with nearly every book I read. (Except with "The Princess Bride". In the words of Westly, "I've never seen it's equal.") I think that Mr. Zahn should have spent more time away from going on and on about how insane C'Baoth was. Now, listen closely to this. I have meant to say this in my other reviews, but I keep fogetting.... Is there anyone else who get a little agitated when authors of SW novels keep using lines from the movies excessively in the books, such as "I have a bad feeling about this" or "It's not my fault!"? It has been this way with every SW novel I have ever read. Just once, I want to read one that does not mention any lines from the movies (except when quoting), and the author is able to make their own "Star Wars cliches". I'm still looking for that book. Mr. Zahn's new characters fit in perfectly with the movies and original characters. I find myself talking to other people who have seen the movies, speaking of Mara Jade as if she really were a main character in ROTJ. Zahn puts her in the background so well, one will begin to doubt their memories of the movies, and watch them again to make sure Mara was really not in any of them. Anyway, I know Zahn is a great author, especially in his SW novels, but for anyone who has not read him, just look at the other novels, where Mr. Zahn's words and characters, animals and places are used endlessly. That in itself should tell you just how good Mr Zahn is.
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