Even better than the last….
Each of Zahn’s books seems to out do the one before it and Greater Good is no exception. Timothy Zahn is a brilliant author in his own right, but something magical happens when he picks up his pen to write about his most well-known creation – Thrawn. Like a master composer, all the pieces seem to come together into one beautiful symphony for the eyes and mind. It’s a book of intrigue and mystery. It’s a thriller with twists and turns. And it is an exploration into loyalty, dedication, and self-sacrifice. But most of all, it’s about Thrawn.
Or is it?
While the master tactician plays a central role in everything that happens, Greater Good focuses equally on the supporting characters in this trilogy, building them up and positioning them for what is sure to be an exciting conclusion to this story. The perspective of his first officer Samakro and Caretaker Thalias are intriguing looks into Thrawn’s life and how those around him see him. Senior Captain Lakinda who always seems to be in Thrawn’s shadow comes into her own in this novel with some real depth of character. And the navigator Qilori makes an appearance once again, playing a more secondary role this time around but hinting at somehow being a key player in how all of this will play out as we discover Qilori is working for the mysterious Jixtus. Who is Jixtus? What plans does he have and why? And can Thrawn’s tactical brilliance prevent a civil war from erupting in the Chiss Ascendancy? Or does Jixtus have something even worse planned for Thrawn and his people?
What makes Zahn brilliant is his ability to world build while telling an amazing story. That isn’t easy to do. He is able to flesh out this entire unknown sector of the Star Wars universe with such richness and depth that it seems created by Lucas himself. Maybe even more rich in story goodness than the man who created Star Wars. It’s why Thrawn is such a popular character while having never appeared in a single film. People who read Zahn’s work are just drawn in by Zahn’s storytelling talent and the way he is able to balance painting a rich picture of the world Thrawn lives in while still crafting an intricate story. There are times when authors spend too little time building up the supporting characters (including the culture and environment those characters live in) and there are authors who spend way too much time building up all those things while the story suffers. Zahn is able to balance both and this story in particular is a big, juicy ribeye steak of a story!
Adding to the richness and depth of this story is the audio version read by Marc Thompson. Just as Timothy Zahn has mastered writing stories about Thrawn, Marc Thompson is the epitome of capturing the tone and tenor of Zahn’s work. But more importantly, Thompson knows this character inside and out. His reading of Thrawn’s character is so good it will transport you to the Chiss Ascendancy and make you feel like you’re there. And of course, the master technicians who put together all the Star Wars audio recordings blend in the sounds that define a Star Wars story. From laser blasts to hyperspace engines to thrilling music playing in the background, you KNOW you’re in a Star Wars story. My ONLY gripe about Marc’s interpretation is Admiral Ar’alani’s voice. In my own head, I imagine someone much more smooth and classy with an air of grace while still having the grit and determination needed to lead her people – like Laura Dern’s portrayal of Vice Admiral Holdo from The Last Jedi. Marc’s vocal intonations make me think of a bird turned into a human more along the lines of a British nanny. But with that one quibble aside, the audio version is beautiful. Short of actually making these books into movies, these audiobooks are the next best thing and make for great traveling companions.
Title: Thrawn Ascendancy: Greater Good
Author: Timothy Zahn / Audiobook read by Marc Thompson
Cost: $28.99 ($20.20 on Amazon) / $25 audiobook ($6.95 on Audible by Amazon)
Age: 12 and up
Publisher: Del Rey
Genre: Star Wars, Science Fiction
- Thanks to Del Rey Publishing for giving me a copy of the book for review. All opinions are my own.