Timothy Zahn has solidified his place in the Star Wars, canon, universe with the second installment in the military career of Mith´raw´nuruodo. One novel could be viewed as a nod to previous work but two novels appears to be more of a commitment to Zahn as a permanent fixture in the Star Wars stable of authors. At least that´s what most of us hope.
Thrawn: Alliances moves through two separate places on the Canon timeline. The first is what would be considered current, relative to the main character´s perspective. This part of the story takes place between the third and forth season of Star Wars Rebels animated series. Darth Sidious feels a disturbance in the Unknown Regions and sends Thrawn and Vader on a mission to investigate. In the process Vader makes an attempt to determine Thrawn´s loyalty to the Empire while Thrawn has a suspicion that he knows Vader´s former identity. The mixing of the Emperor´s agenda and theses two character´s mistrust toward one another makes for an intriguing story.
The second part of the story place in the timeline during the Clone Wars. Though it makes sense to use this entire novel as way to bridge the gap between Rebels and the newly announced continuation of the Clone Wars series it is less interesting of a sub plot. Padme leaves Coruscant to look into the disappearance of one of her handmaidens. The very capable handmaiden was to investigate a Separatist droid factory. When Padme turns up missings as well, Anakin joins the search and has a chance encounter with Thrawn.
I found the Vader/Thrawn interaction the most compelling. I was hanging on every word toward the end to find out what Thrawn had discovered about his Co-Imperial partner. You will have to read the book to find out. No spoilers here at Coffee With Kenobi!
The audio version of this book was a joy to listen to. This time Zahn added inner thought dialogue to Vader/Anakin just as he did to Thrawn in the last book. Marc Thompson´s portrayal of Anakin´s voice was a bit jarring and took some getting used to but eventually I settled into it. As often is the case the music and production is top-notch, however it does seem that there was more of an effort made to be transparent with effects and music. They accomplished that well and let the story stand on it´s own. I might also add the story did just that. At this point I wonder if there will be a third novel and what new ground Zahn may cover next.
You can order the audiobook of Thrawn: Alliances, read by Marc Thompson, now from Amazon.
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