“Thrawn Ascendency”: The Next Big Series in “Star Wars”

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Craig Bardo

“Thrawn Ascendancy: Chaos Rising” on display with Lego minifigure of Thrawn himself. The book is yet another masterfully crafted work of Timothy Zahn, the accomplished sci-fi author.

Craig Bardo, Staff Writer

Renowned author Timothy Zahn makes his return to one of Star Wars fans’ favorite villains with the first installment in the “Thrawn Ascendancy” series, “Chaos Rising.” Contributing to the fans’ desire for more Thrawn, this book answers many questions about his origins and is one of Zahn’s best works yet.

Many unique approaches create the younger Thrawn fans have wanted to see for a long time, and adds plenty of substance to the Thrawn story.”

— Staff Writer Craig Bardo

An overall excellent book, it does a great job tying up loose ends for one book, but building hype for the next, along with the perfect amount of action to keep you on your toes and invested in the characters. Many unique approaches create the younger Thrawn fans have wanted to see for a long time, and adds plenty of substance to the Thrawn story.

Thrawn, one of Star Wars’ most infamous villains in both Legends and the current canon, has equally infamous roots. An excellent student in the Chiss military academy, he is soon selected as one of the few “merit born” by one of the nine ruling families of the Chiss Ascendancy, the Mitth. 

Causing political tension wherever he goes, he becomes renowned for his tactical ability, gleaning his knowledge through the unlikely vessel of his opponents’ culture’s art.

Oblivious to his political disruptions, his allies must protect him to advance his career as a military officer. With several factions conspiring against the Ascendancy from both within and without it, Thrawn must overcome all odds and prove his talent on the battlefield to win respect and merit for his achievements.

Zahn once again provides a book that gives us more information on the amazing character Thrawn has grown to become. At 400 pages, I finished the book in about four hours, and was enamored with it at every second. The book really expands on Thrawn’s roots, and how he became who he is now. 

In 1991, Zahn released “Heir to the Empire,” our first glimpse of Thrawn, a book that also breathed new life into a dying Star Wars community during the wait between “Return of the Jedi” and “The Phantom Menace.” Although now legends, Zahn’s new canon novels continue to live up to the high expectations put in place by fans of the series as well as the rest of the literary part of the Star Wars franchise. 

Always from a bystander, Zahn never truly lets you into Thrawn’s mind…”

— Staff Writer Craig Bardo

The book and series takes a unique perspective of the main character. While reading this, I realized that you never actually see from Thrawn’s point of view. In what is now the Original Trilogy of this series, there are memoirs from Thrawn, but readers never see any of the action from his point of view. 

Always from a bystander, Zahn never truly lets you into Thrawn’s mind, which is an interesting take on a character. It keeps a certain degree of mystique, as well as keeping readers coming back for more with each new installment of the series.

Zahn also does an excellent job of creating multi-faceted characters, with almost every named character in the book playing some sort of essential part which helps advance the plot or adds depth to the overall story, and most importantly expanding a part of the Star Wars universe that we’ve never seen before in writing or in the movies.

Don’t hesitate to pick up a copy of the book in stores or online, and for those who may not be able to sit down for a few hours, there’s also a skillfully voice-acted audible edition available. With excitement building for the next installment in this series, it’ll be interesting to see where the series goes, and what will happen next to one of Star Wars’ most beloved villains.

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