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Audiobook Review: Star Wars: Thrawn: Treason By Timothy Zahn
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Thrawn: Treason by Timothy Zahn

Star Wars: Thrawn: Treason
Hardcover | Kindle | Audiobook
Star Wars: Thrawn, Book 3
Written by Timothy Zahn
Narrated by Marc Thompson
Publisher: Del Rey Books | Random House Audio
Release date: July 23, 2019

Timothy Zahn returns with his denouement in his new canon trilogy of tales about Imperial Grand Admiral Thrawn titled Star Wars: Thrawn: Treason.

In it, Grand Admiral Thrawn butts heads with Director Orson Krennic over project funding. Thrawn believes the future of the Empire, at least in the years leading up to Episode IV: A New Hope, is his TIE Defender project. Krennic, on the other hand, is certain the Empire can only hope to survive if his Stardust* project even if it has been delayed and run a bit over budget.

*POSSIBLE SPOILER:
(I hope this is not a spoiler at this stage in the game, but recall that Stardust is the Death Star… see Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.)
/SPOILER

To hammer home the point about Stardust, Krennic challenges the renowned problem-solving mind of Thrawn to figure out how to resolve the issue plaguing his project. The bet: Thrawn must eliminate the “issues” wreaking havoc on Stardust. If Thrawn succeeds, he will receive the funding he needs for his TIE Defenders. But if not, all his TIE Defender funding goes to Stardust and Krennic. Oh, and he only has five days to do it. Much to the surprise of everyone in the room at the time of the challenge, Thrawn accepts.

What results is a whodunit mystery of a Star Wars novel that is a fairly intriguing peer into Thrawn’s internal process.

Immediately upon starting the audiobook, I was relieved to discover that this was the hoped-for continuation of the first Thrawn novel that Alliances never became. We are treated to the return of Commander Eli Vanto, now believed by most of the rest of the Galactic Empire to be a defector and traitor. We also get to see interplay between Thrawn and others of his species as the Chiss Ascendancy plays as much a part in this book as the Empire.

My issues with the story are the characters introduced via the Chiss Ascendancy and some of the investigative work taken on by Thrawn’s crew. I felt many were unnecessary and only added more baggage to what came off as a pretty bloated storyline. Ultimately, it all made sense and worked out, but I can’t even recall who they are anymore because they just haven’t stuck with me.

My other issue is that there doesn’t seem to be a true conclusion to Thrawn’s story. Reports online say this book series is only supposed to be a trilogy, so what happens to Thrawn? I know that next in his storyline is his well-publicized arc in Star Wars Rebels and we see a very indecisive conclusion to it all. But what really happens to him? I guess I had hoped that this final book in the trilogy would be one that post-dates the Rebels cartoon and gives us Thrawn fans some real closure.

I think I need another Thrawn trilogy.

From the publisher:

Grand Admiral Thrawn faces the ultimate test of his loyalty to the Empire in this epic Star Wars novel from bestselling author Timothy Zahn.

“If I were to serve the Empire, you would command my allegiance.”

Such was the promise Grand Admiral Thrawn made to Emperor Palpatine at their first meeting. Since then, Thrawn has been one of the Empire’s most effective instruments, pursuing its enemies to the very edges of the known galaxy. But as keen a weapon as Thrawn has become, the Emperor dreams of something far more destructive.

Now, as Thrawn’s TIE defender program is halted in favor of Director Krennic’s secret Death Star project, he realizes that the balance of power in the Empire is measured by more than just military acumen or tactical efficiency. Even the greatest intellect can hardly compete with the power to annihilate entire planets.

As Thrawn works to secure his place in the Imperial hierarchy, his former protégé Eli Vanto returns with a dire warning about Thrawn’s homeworld. Thrawn’s mastery of strategy must guide him through an impossible choice: duty to the Chiss Ascendancy, or fealty to the Empire he has sworn to serve. Even if the right choice means committing treason.

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