Thrawn: Alliances (Star Wars) Paperback – 28 Feb 2019
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"‘With Zahn at the height of his skills as a sci-fi writer, this latest instalment explores Thrawn’s past… a bad guy double bill’" (Starburst)
"Zahn's grasp of the STAR WARS universe and its characters never fails to be impeccable, with Alliances yet another classy read…[Zahn is] truly at his best here in the printed dimension- calculated, subtly menacing and, above all else, distinctly alien" (Star Wars Aficionado)
"‘A must-read for either fans of the Clone Wars or Rebels TV series’" (Nudge)
"The must-have original Star Wars novel of the year so far" (Star Wars Afiacnado (For Thrawn))
"Classic Zahn …A fun Star Wars action story" (Talk Star Wars Podcast)
About the Author
Timothy Zahn is the author of more than forty novels, nearly ninety short stories and novellas, and four short-fiction collections. In 1984, he won the Hugo Award for Best Novella. Zahn is best known for his Star Wars novels (Heir to the Empire, Dark Force Rising, The Last Command, Specter of the Past, Vision for the Future, Survivor's Quest, Outbound Flight, Allegiance, Choices of One, and Scoundrels), with more than four million copies of his books in print. Other books inlcude the Cobra series, the Quadrail series, and the young adult Dragonback series. Zahn has a B.S. in physics from Michigan State University and an M.S. from the University of Illinois. He lives with his family on the Oregon coast.
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This book book is set in two time periods. Going back to the line in the first book where a meeting between, then General Anakin Skywalker and Thrawn, during the Clone Wars was mentioned. The majority of this book takes place in that era, as well as the current problem. One thing I like very much in this book is Zahn's writing the differences between Anakin and Vader, and how Vader refers to the memories of Anakin as "the Jedi's". Zahn also did a great job of showing the precognition powers the Force sensitive use. As the story progresses I saw the reason for this.
The second era that this book is set in is right after Season 3 of Star Wars Rebels, right after Thrawn's biggest defeat to date. So his standing and loyalty is in question. There is a lot of verbal sparing and jockeying for the number 2 position in the Empire between Thrawn and Vader. Usually with Thrawn coming out on top. However there is a great deal of respect between the two the telling point of that is Thrawn was still alive as Vader is not known for his patience.
There are elements taken from other Star Wars pre-Disney era books. One of the ideas come from the Golden Age of the Sith comic series where a couple of Force sensitives found another way to earn a living out of their talents, and a material that has not been used in the Disney era as of yet, as well some more of the behind the scenes of Order 66.
A very good book, that is slightly slow in places. I think this was the only stumbling block for me as with Vader in the book I was expecting a lot more action in the book. Though the lack of fights did show Vader's other skills that are sometimes forgotten because of his fearsome reputation and displays of power.
Honestly both storylines weren't the best. They had good bits but promised more than they delivered. The Thrawn-Vader storyline basically consisted on Thrawn asking Vader to trust him and Vader questioning his loyalty to the Empire. And Vader did trust him a lot which seemed out of character. There is some mitigation because of the events of the earlier timeline but not enough. WE did finally get some of the real motivations of Thrawn which was good, I had been wondering. The earlier timeline was ok but seemed rather pointless, similar stories have already been done. I think one of my main issues is that all these novels sound great and might finally reveal some actual major information but in the end they don't. More hints about the outer rim but again nothing really relevant to the major storylines from the films. Disney probably have an embargo on what can be discussed but sometimes it feels kind of pointless reading these because of that.
I really like how Zahn sets this story during both the Clone Wars and Galactic Civil War eras. It’s really interesting to see how Thrawn interacts with both Anakin and then Vader many years later.
Zahn does an excellent job with all the main characters. The dialogue is spot on in my opinion.
The plot is a little weak unfortunately and I would have liked to see the two timelines link up with each other a bit better. The enemy Grysks were also very uninteresting and didn’t appear to be nearly as intimidating as I feel they were intended to be. Hopefully the next instalment fleshes these guys out a lot more.
All in all a great read and I highly recommend if you’re a fan of the blue dude.