Last year when it was announced that Grand Admiral Thrawn would be appearing in season 3 of Star Wars Rebels, I was excited. When that announcement was followed with news of a new Thrawn novel by Thrawn’s creator, Timothy Zahn, I realized I was looking forward to the novel much more than the television season. As it turns out, my anticipation was properly placed. Seeing Thrawn in Rebels was fun, but somewhat underwhelming. Star Wars: Thrawn, on the other hand, was great!
Timothy Zahn has always been one of my favorite Star Wars authors, and he didn’t disappoint here. The story was fun and engaging, and it brought a new depth to several characters. This book is set in Disney’s new continuity, but it is written in such a way that it can mostly fit into the previous Legends continuity. In particular the events of Outbound Flight are not contradicted, and the first chapter of Thrawn is very similar to Mist Encounter. That said, the book is firmly in the new canon, and leads directly into the events of Rebels Season 3. References to evils lurking in the Unknown Regions applies equally well to Legends (the Yuuzhan Vong) and whatever is being alluded to in the new canon (see Aftermath: Empire’s End).
A few other highlights for me: the reader gets into Thrawn’s head to understand how he thinks, the Chiss Ascendancy is now canon, H’sishi is back in canon, Governor Pryce is given an interesting backstory, and Sy Bisti returns as a language. Overall, a fun read that stands on its own but really shines if the reader is familiar with Legends or with Star Wars Rebels.