Author: Timothy Zahn
Publication Date: April 27, 2021
Length: 432 pages
Read Date(s): April 28, 2021 – April 30, 2021
HAPPY STAR WARS DAY!
I’m excited to review this book today. It feels like I waited an eternity for this next book in the Thrawn Ascendancy series to be released. I started reading it almost as soon as I picked it up on release day last Tuesday. Scroll below to see my spoiler-free thoughts on the book!
May the force be with you!
Thrawn and his allies race to save the Chiss Ascendancy from an unseen enemy in the second book in the epic Star Wars: Thrawn Ascendancy trilogy from bestselling author Timothy Zahn.
Thrawn’s latest triumph still rests newly on his shoulders. Despite leading the Chiss to victory and bringing glory to the House of Mitth, the true threat to the Ascendancy has not yet been extinguished. Their foes do not send threats or ultimatums, or mass ships on the edge of the Chaos. Their weapons come cloaked in smiles and generosity: Gifts offered freely. Services granted unconditionally.
Across the Ascendancy, seemingly inconsequential events could herald the doom of the Chiss. As Thrawn and the Expansionary Defense Fleet rally to uncover the enemy plot, they discover a chilling truth: rather than invade Chiss capitals or pillage their resources, they strike at the very foundation of the Ascendancy, seeking to widen the rifts between The Nine Ruling Families and the Forty Great Houses below. As rivalry and suspicion sow discord among allies, each warrior must decide what matters most to them: the security of their family, or the survival of the Ascendancy itself.
Thrawn is one of my favorite Star Wars characters. So, to say I was excited for this book doesn’t even begin to explain the anticipation I had for this release. I picked it up on release day before it even got to the shelf at Barnes and Noble; I took it off the cart holding the books being stocked that day. All in all, the book met my expectations and was a really great read.
There were so many things to like about this book. The writing style was engaging and kept me glued to the page. I enjoyed the overall story and the level of mystery surrounding the villains that slowly unfolded over the book. The tying together of seemingly disparate threads is something that Thrawn, and by proxy, Zahn, did so well here. I enjoyed seeing this take on destroying the enemy from the inside because I was never quite sure exactly what the plan was until it all unfolded. Then, in hindsight, it was perfectly obvious. My only complaint about the plot is that it seemed somewhat low stakes for the second book in a trilogy, especially with how the crisis in the book was resolved. I expected the ending to be much more dramatic than it turned out to be.
The characters were well-rounded and interesting. There were many returning faces from the first book in this series, including Admiral Ar’alani, Thurfian, and Thalias. Although, only Thalias had a large role to play throughout the story. Thurfian was more in the background until the very end of the book, and Admiral Ar’alani was largely sidelined. Even Thrawn was missing from a great deal of the story, which is one of the few things I didn’t like about the book. In their absence, though, several new characters were introduced. I especially enjoyed meeting Lakinda and seeing the major conflict of the book play out from her perspective. What is more important? The pride of one’s unit/family or the overall survival and success of the entire society and way of life. It is a compelling question, especially when set within the environment of the Chiss society.
There was so much information in this book about the Chiss Ascendancy and way of life. It expanded on the lore in big ways by showing how people outside of the military live. The book also provided more detail about the structure of Chiss power and the strengths and weaknesses of their social hierarchy. Being the Star Wars nerd I am, I loved getting all this new info and am continuing to geek out over it. The ending of the book also foreshadowed some future big reveals about the history of the Chiss and potential ties to events from the last Thrawn trilogy. Needless to say, I’m already biding my time until the last book in the series comes out next year!
Overall, this book was a fun read that provided an interesting mystery, new villains, and a ton of information about the Chiss society. I was somewhat annoyed that it sidelined some of my favorite characters and didn’t have the dramatic impact I expected from the second part of a trilogy. However, I also greatly enjoyed the new characters and information along with the teases for future stories. Therefore, I rate the book 4 out of 5 stars. If you are a fan of Star Wars or Thrawn, I definitely recommend it.
Have you read Greater Good yet? What did you think?