Friday, September 11, 2020

Review: Thrawn Ascendancy: Chaos Rising by Timothy Zahn

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I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

The word  Thrawn  can mean many things to many Star Wars fans. For me I think of the dark times in the 90's when there was little new Star Wars, content until Zahn gave us Heir To The Empire novel. For younger fans Thrawn's first appearance came through the Rebels television show, and another trilogy closely tied to the prequel and original trilogies.

With Thrawn Ascendancy we begin a new journey into Thrawn's past. Ascendancy gives us a central meeting point for two Thrawn's : the one from the Expanded Universe and the newer trilogy. By a meeting point I mean the adding of building blocks to Thrawn's history. Intertwined with this new info on Thrawn we are given a glimpse into the political and social landscape  of Thrawn's home world. 

Thrawn gives us this knowledge in the form of an investigation into an attack on the Chiss home world. What I love most about this book is how smoothly Zahn moves the reader into this new phase of Thrawn knowledge. The vastness of the Chiss home world and it's political structures are told through a strong core of characters, three of them female. 

Thrawn's interactions with them propel the story forward and reveal more insight into his tactical prowess.
Ar'alani especially comes very close to stealing every scene she is in. I really enjoyed that the pair are on a very solid and equal footing. Ar'alani looks at Thrawn's skills as something she potentially can learn for herself and Thrawn gently begins to see how his lack of political acumen.  Their combined skill set leads them on the path to discover a growing threat to the Ascendancy.

I also really enjoyed the pace of this story. The chapters unfold with a nice balance of action and character development and the memories sections give lots of insight to how Thrawn  formulates his observations.
Zahn's overall narrative skills also make you forget for awhile that you are reading a Star Wars novel. When the timestamp of when this story is set in regards to the Star Wars timeline it's a nice reveal (If you don't peek and find it in the books timeline).

I'm also fascinated by the female sky-walker navigators the Chiss Ascendancy has kept a secret to the outside world. 

Overall this book is an enjoyable start to the series. There isn't a sense of urgency to the story but I was continually engaged. It was hard to put down and I'm super excited for the next two volumes!

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