Review of “Star Wars: Thrawn” (Star Wars: Thrawn #1) by Timothy Zahn

Zahn, Timothy. Thrawn. New York: Del Rey, 2017.

Hardcover | $28.99 USD | ISBN-13: 978-0345511270 | 427 pages | Science Fiction

5 stars

One of the first series I cut my teeth on in the Star Wars Expanded Universe (now Legends) was Timothy Zahn’s original Thrawn trilogy, so I was curious to see how he would be incorporated into the new canon, even if I’m not too into Rebels, where he made his first appearance. Even so, I’m quite upset I didn’t get around to this new book series until now, as I love how Zahn reworked what made the complex villain great, while also adding something new as well with Thrawn, the new installment of what is not only a new trilogy, but, based on recent announcements, just the first in what will be several books featuring Thrawn in a major role.

Reading about Thrawn’s rise through the ranks in the Imperial military is fascinating, as it exposes some of the darker facets of the Star Wars universe, one of the key things being the racism and xenophobia of that system that Thrawn deals with, and how Thrawn manages to stand out in spite of these challenges. And I like that his reasons for aligning with the Empire were also explored, and we’re getting more insight into that with this and some of the other new canon books, where some of the films, particularly the original and prequel trilogies, dealt more in absolutes, you’re either good or you’re evil.

The book overall is a wonderful literary return for Thrawn, seeing him interact with some familiar faces as well as some new ones, all of which are incredibly compelling and suggest great things ahead for the new Thrawn books, if not for the fate of Thrawn as a character in the new canon. I recommend this both to longtime Thrawn fans and to Star Wars fans who haven’t met the character yet, because either way, it is worth reading.

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