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on 15 September 2015
Although these books have no been declassified as Star Wars lore, they are still some of the best Star Wars books out there. If you're a Star Wars fan and want to read about some of the "Legends" pick up the Thrawn trilogy ASAP!
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VINE VOICEon 23 November 2004
THE STORY:
Fifteen years after 'Return of the Jedi', the New Republic is troubled both by an impending civil war above Bothawui and the apparent return of Grand Admiral Thrawn. Elsewhere, Luke tracks Mara Jade to the uncharted world of Nirauan and together they make a startling discovery about the mysterious Hand of Thrawn.
WHAT'S GOOD:
Zahn uses this book to bring up to date all of his leading characters (I suspect he thought this was to be his last Star Wars novel), meaning we get some serious development of some familiar faces. I enjoyed the subplot involving Karrde and Shada seeking out Karrde's fearsome former employer, which leads to the revelation of the Thrawn hoax and also to a fascinating bit of back story about Yoda's adventures on Dagobah. Pellaeon (did anyone else notice that in the 'author' review that name was spelled wrong? Can you say 'impostor'?) really comes into his own as the head of a new forward-thinking Empire. Ultimately, the best reason to buy this book is the development of the relationship between Luke and Mara, which avoids being a fantasy romance and is instead a more subtle development in which they simply realise that they don't want to be apart. The Luke and Mara storyline is also packed with other treats, like a Thrawn clone, the return of Soontir Fel, the discovery of Thrawn's people - the Chiss - and Mara's Jedi Knighthood.
WHAT'S BAD:
The only thing I didn't like was the Qom Qae and the Qom Jha. Having psychic bats as main characters doesn't sit well with me.
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on 2 April 1999
I enjoyed the latest storyline that Timothy Zahn had written, It includes a lot of interesting charaters from the Star Wars Universe, (ie Micheal Stackpoles characters from Rogue Squardron). And it ties up some loose ends from his original series Heir to the Empire. Now if you had read some of the reviews you know that Luke Skywalker proposes to Mara Jade near the final chapters of the book. Its is enjoyable to see that Luke is finally going to have the same happiness that his twin sister. Unfortunately I thought the same thing after reading "Children of the Jedi". It seems that there is something that always messes up Luke Skywalker love interest. If you have read all of the Star Wars Novels all of the potential love interest in Luke's life had fell in love with a Hapan Prince, died in a space battle, ran away because she lost her powers. Most of these happened in the sequels. I really hope that Luke does finally gets married and lives happily ever after, but until he says "I do " I'm gonna remain a skeptic. Another little thing that I found annoying about this book is that it reference several characters from the Comic book Dark Horse. Like the Reborn Emperor and Baron Fel. I did not know who these characters were and thought I missed several Star Wars novels. But overall I enjoyed the book and would recommend that it is "worth reading" I seriously hope that Zahn will continue to write more award winning Star Wars novels in the future, but I fear that all of the original Star Wars novels will be moving towards the eagerly awaiting Episode 1 that is coming out in May.
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on 9 June 1999
VISION OF THE FUTURE is probably one of the best Star Wars books I have ever read. Timothy Zahn far surpassed his writing in the original trilogy. VISION OF THE FUTURE is a fitting book to end Bantam's line of Star Wars books and to begin the storyline of Del Rey's NEW JEDI ORDER. I've always been a Mara Jade fan, ever since I read about her in HEIR TO THE EMPIRE, and I am glad that she is now engaged to Luke. They had always been friends, though the friendship seemed to cool after Mara left the Jedi Academy. They went through so much together while they were trying to infiltrate the Hand of Thrawn that I'm not surprised their friendship blossomed into love. Zahn's introduction to the Unknown Regions prepared us for the storyline of the upcoming books and the invasion of some kind of new enemy. The subplots (Wedge and Corrran on the Bothan homeworld, Han and Lando at the Imperial base, Bastion, General Bel Iblis borrowing the Errant Venture from Booster Terrik, and the Imperial scenes with the triumvirate and Admiral Paelleon-spelling?, and others I haven't mentioned) running through the whole book may have been confusing to first-time readers, but the scene-switching is easy to get used to. After all, we see the same technique used in all four Star Wars films! If we can handle it on the movie screen, why not in a book? I hope Timothy Zahn is slated to write some books for NEW JEDI ORDER; I know he would do a great job! Also, for all Mara Jade fans who don't know, there'll be a comic book series coming out about Mara and Luke, but that's all I can say! :-)
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on 24 April 1999
I've always been a little sceptical of reading follow ups to the Star Wars series, but Timothy Zahn probably does the best job of continuing it faithfully.
Specter of the Past promised a great deal, but I have to say that I found it a little disappointing. But I was totally hanging out for the next novel, and I have to say, Vision of the Future doesn't disappoint. Ok, a few bits were maybe a little superfluous, but apart from that it was non stop action - and me not able to put it down for two days. If only all science fiction was likte this!
Anyway, the whole gang is back - Han, Leia, Talon Karrde (the incredibly charismatic smuggler), Wedge, Luke and Mara (my favourite character), plus a few new characters. I guess for a new reader, it might seem confusing at times, especially where the story keeps skipping from one place to another, but as usual, Zahn does a great job of pulling the whole thing together. And that Luke and Mara subplot kept me turning the pages when I got a little bored - I was totally rooting for them to get together in the end. The only thing - I was kinda hoping Thrawn really wasn't dead, I thought he was the best villian ever.
But now, with the prospect of marriage for Luke and Mara, and Peace between the Empire and the New Republic, is this the end of the series? Maybe it's better to finish it on that high note.
Verdict : best book in the series, great plot, and a sequel that really delivers the goods. All you Stars Wars fans out there, you will not be disappointed. May the force be with you.
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on 30 December 2008
Having read the Thrawn thrilogy first (naturally), and only a few other Star Wars novels in-between including of course Spectre of the Past, in my view this book can be evaluated positively. The story lines are nice, especially bacause they focus on interesting characters. Mara Jade had been one of my favourites since reading Heir to the Empire, and so I was particularly pleased that she and Luke had one story line all to themselves. And what a one. Although admittedly the sentient "bats" were a bit ridiculous, the rest of that particular thread was absolutely great. It was exciting, and you also get some insight into both their characters. To be honest, after The Last Command, I had expected them to have come together much sooner (there's app. 10 years in-between and they are now both in their late thirties), but as the author himself stated in an interview, Mara needed to come to grips with her new position first. The best explanations always derive from an author, so I accept that! But, it does happen at last. I had to raise my eye brouws a little when the marriage question came up, but that is probably due to living in a culture where it is more common to set up a household together first and only thinking of marriage after some years of living together. Be that as it may, their coming together was logical, and furthermore was arrived at with perfect timing in the book. Great story line! A pity the Thrawn clone died, as the grand Admiral is one of my favourites as well (especially if you have read Outbound Flight, you will be interested in getting more Thrawn), especially when he learns battle tactics and stategies by studying the art of his opponents.

I liked it as well that Talon Karrde was back. This was an interesting character in Zahn's earlier Trilogy, and so he remains.

I also liked the Vengeance group, especially the interaction with their opponents. Regrettably this didn't prevent them from being succesfull.

Finally, there were some nice story lines concerning Han and Leia as well.

The negative of course was the - in my view - rather silly overall plot. I mean, people go to war for more stupid reason's than this, but it was a bit too obvious.

Therefore, not five stars but four. It still is a good read. And for fan's of Mara Jade, an abolute must!
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on 7 January 2000
Finishing off the story begun in Specter of the Past would have been difficult for anyone - except, it seems, Timothy Zahn. Everything about this book oozed class. It also set the scene nicely for anything that comes after. He's now done as much as George Lucas himself in building the Star Wars myth (and, frankly, more believably than Lucas ever did).
In Grand Admiral Thrawn, Zahn has created the best character in the Star Wars universe, and it's a pity that he didn't decide to preserve the clone in the fortress. It would have been an interesting plot development if he had allowed Thrawn to be resurrected for real and to lead the New Republic and the Empire against the "horrors" in the Unknown Regions.
It is nice to see that Zahn has decided to concentrate mainly on the characters of his own creation (Thrawn, Pellaeon, Talon Karrde etc) rather than rehashing old characters as some authors could be accused of doing.
And, for those who think it could be the end of the Star Wars story, don't forget that Zahn has left the door open for new enemies of the New Republic from outside the scope of the galaxy, rather than just leaving a New Republic versus Empire scenario in place. In many ways, what the book has set up could lead to a similar scenario to The Truce at Bakura.
It's more believable and better written than anything that's been done so far, and hopefully, people can learn from Zahn's triumph.
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on 4 January 1999
This was a very entertaining read all the way through, especially for anybody who might have been expecting a tired, uninspired fifth book to the Thrawn novels. Zahn shows once again that he is perfectly capable of maintaining the same quality of work that he shows in his earlier books, a performance which most SW fans of his would justifiably be expecting anyway.
Exactly how good that is, might be slightly in question. I am not implying in any way that Zahn is an inferior writer, but I must confess that in reading this novel I was rather hoping for a slightly more equalizing view of the Empire and the Republic...which Zahn does not deliver to the extent I had been anticipating. Blessedly, he keeps key Imperial characters such as Admiral Pellaeon very much in the forefront of things, and also (and this is not often seen in SW novels at all) manages to make them look halfway morally respectable. I was happy let myself sympathize with these well-intentioned, well-presented characters, who, solely because they happen to be wearing Imperial uniforms, understandably cannot be presented as 'heroes'.
Unfortunately, there is too little of this sanitizing of the Empire for my tastes. In "Vision", all the plotline enemies are on the side of the Empire, all the enemies are absolutely defeated, and every defeat inflicted upon the enemy is done in a fashion that implies only structural importance (ie they advance the story of the book, without regards to statistics and likelihood). These are all visible in the Thrawn trilogy and Specter of the Past, by the way.
Harrowing escapes from the enemy by Leia and Han...daring infiltrations of the enemy by Lando and Talon Karrde...breathtaking duels against the foe by Luke and Mara Jade...Artoo Detoo surviving infernoes and holocausts...
I do not dispute Zahn's skill at making each individual encounter concerning a major goodie, very very convincing indeed. Zahn is perfectly capable of suspending your disbelief as he writes of Han's (N)th or (N+1)th escape from an Imperial Star Destroyer. As you read it, you accept it and it's okay...
But, my problem with the plot surfaced after I looked at it in retrospect...primarily the idea of Luke and Leia and Han and Lando and Karrde and Mara and Ackbar and all the rest of the goodguys surviving five whole novels and coming out TOTALLY UNSCATHED, whilst Imperial after Imperial (Thrawn, Ferrier, Disra, C'Boath) goes down without so much as a moral whimper. Perhaps I am setting myself up for a Laser lynching by all you SW fans out there, but doesn't anybody else out there have the slightest bit of sympathy for the Empire?
In this novel Zahn places a very reasonable, sensible leader in charge of Imperial forces. He presents the 'civilized', acceptable face of the Empire: the one which shows that they are also decent people who have been led astray by ruthless leaders in the past. However, this still doesn't prevent the fact that every death you read about is 99.999% likely to be that of an Imperial badguy. Zahn does imply occasional losses by the Republic to the Empire, but this is muted and aesthetically euphemized...so much to the point that, by the end of the novel, I was actually feeling quite sorry for the Empire.
[Imperial elite stormtrooper, deadliest fighter in the Empire, greatest remaining strategist in the Empire, killed on the bridge of an Imperial Star Destroyer by a poisoned hair-needle. Oh dear, oh dear.]
Perhaps Zahn had been pressured into limiting his more detailed defeats to just the Imperial side, but I for one found rather difficult to stomach the fact that the Empire could pose such a threat to the forces of good and niceness, whilst still suffering such drastic and bizarrely orchestrated defeats.
Am I alone in thinking this? Read the book, enjoy the good writing, chew the plot over, and let me know what you think...
PS A final word of warning to those expecting a mighty Imperial Grand Admiral comeback: it doesn't really look like there will be one...while Zahn makes no absolute proof of it, he has made it extremely difficult to convincingly write in a return of the "Red-Eyed Warlord". Guess we'll have to look to stalwart, trusty Admiral Pellaeon for our next Devil-incarnate Imperial leader :)
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on 24 July 1999
WHOA!!! Vision of the Future blew me away! Timothy Zahn is the best author who ever lived!! The entire storyline is pure genius! Even though it's a book, I really felt honored just to read it. The various plots have a lot to offer as well. FOr example, Luke following his instincts and heading to the Nirauan system to rescue Mara turns out to be the best thing he could've ever done. For both him and for Mara. You see a side of Mara that remained hidden until then. And the Talon Karrde sub-plot! Whoa!! That was something to remember. Especially Jorj Car'das! The stories he told of his adventures with Yoda and Dagobah....well, they're amazing. And those Aing-Tii monks he learned to use the Force from! That one really gets you thinking. And anyone whos a fan of the X-Wing series know who Booster Terrik and Mirax Terrik Horn are. The son Valin is the perfect follow-up of I, Jedi's children hints, but the absolute fear I felt when reading about the Errant Venture's mission posing as the Tyrannic.....and Garm Bel Iblis' strict rules that nothing must stop them from completing the mission, even if it meant blowing a hole in the station where civilians may be killed....the station where a famous slicer is on a mission of his own.... Well...you get the picture. There's so much more to talk about, the sleeper clone regiments on Pakrik Minor, the "relaxing" vacation and then the galaxy changing missions of Han and Leia, Corran and Wedge trying to discourage sabotage attempts on the shields of Bothawui, the realization of what The Hand of Thrawn truly is, the increasing heat in the Imperial leadership, the tidbits of info on the Mistryl and the loyalties of Karoly and Shada, its all to much to fully explain with only 1000 words. But what other then STAR WARS and Timothy Zahn can pull that off? Nothing, nothing can and nothing will, just like nothing can or will top this book. A true must-have for STAR WARS fans. If you don't have a copy yet, get one. Period.
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on 31 August 1998
Vision of the Future was one of the most involved, intricate, and incredible books I've ever read. There is so much going on in this story that I won't even try to explain it all. Let's just say that it ties up most, if not all of the loose ends that have been in every book so far. Yes, I mean it. It is the perfect end to the Bantam series of books, and the perfect beginning to the new stuff that will be coming from Del Rey. And where things will go from here isn't certain. However, I think it's safe to say that there won't be anymore 'kidnapping the Jedi kids' storylines, or 'an Imperial warlord finds another superweapon, and threatens the New Republic with total destruction' storylines.
In conclusion, if you have been tired to the point of nausea of these half hearted books like the Crystal Star, the whole Corellian, and Black Fleet trilogy that aren't worth the paper they're printed on, or even infantile efforts like the Jedi Academy trilogy and Young Jedi Knights series (dear God, please end the last one), but still hold onto that last sliver of hope that the books would become great like they should be, your day has finally come. We can now put those horrible stories behind us with the Star Wars Christmas special and Lando Calrissian books, and enjoy things like all the Zahn stories, the X-Wing series, I, Jedi, and all of the wonderful things that are sure to come. Give it a try, folks. They finally fixed it, and got it right for a change.
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