Del Rey recently launched a new set of Star Wars books all about the infamous Thrawn. Star Wars: Thrawn Ascendancy (Book I: Chaos Rising) comes from author Timothy Zahn and is really interesting to read. Del Rey was kind enough to send me a copy to review and I was excited. I’ve never read about Thrawn, and I haven’t watched Rebels yet (I know, I know), but I’ve heard that he’s an incredible force to be reckoned with. After reading this book, I understand why.

Chaos Rising takes place during the Clone Wars, with almost the entire book taking place in a whole other part of the universe that’s part of the Unknown Regions. We get to learn not only about Thrawn, but the Chiss. The book gives us a glimpse into the psyche of Thrawn, and that is very interesting. The crazy thing is, due to what I read in this book, I feel like it’d be hard for Thrawn to become part of the Galactic Empire. I’m sure the follow-up books will help show what happened, but for now, I don’t see how it happens.

One of the things that I genuinely love about Chaos Rising is the fact that there’s one human in the entire book, and they’re not in it very much. Everyone in this book is non-human, and I love it. The world of Star Wars has so many interesting species, I hate how the movies always focus on humans. That being said, I do wish that some kind of images were provided for some of the alien species. That is a very minor complaint though.

Zahn sure knows how to write a very intriguing book. For a good part of it, the book didn’t feel like anything special, but once you get to the last seven or so chapters, it really changes and grips you. Then you look back and realize that even though it starts out kind of slow, it is all pretty necessary to help build up the results.

One thing I appreciated was the fact that the edition I had had blue accented pages for the memory chapters that serve as flashbacks. This was incredibly nice to have to help me understand what was a flashback and what was present.

Finally, the characters are amazing. Of course there’s Thrawn that we get to meet, and I enjoy the fact that he’s smart but not an egomaniac and he recognizes his weaknesses. It’s pretty refreshing to see. Then, there’s his friend Ar’alani. I totally ship it. Not to mention Che’ri the sky-walker and her caregiver Thalias. I love all of these characters, and I love the relationships we see them build with each other. They’re all there for each other and respect each other. They also teach each other new things.

If you’re a fan of Star Wars, I would highly recommend reading Chaos Rising, even if you don’t know anything about Thrawn. This book is a great place to start. You can purchase Chaos Rising from your favorite retailers including Amazon and Barnes & Noble.


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