The embattled Republic reels from the attacks of Grand Admiral Thrawn, who has marshaled the remnants of the Imperial forces and driven the Rebels back with an abominable technology recovered from the Emperor's secret fortress: clone soldiers. As Thrawn mounts his final siege, Han Solo and Chewbacca struggle to form a coalition of smugglers for a last-ditch attack, while Princess Leia holds the Alliance together and prepares for the birth of her Jedi twins.
The Republic has one last hope—sending a small force into the very stronghold that houses
Thrawn's terrible cloning machines. There a final danger awaits, as the Dark Jedi C'baoth
directs the battle against the Rebels and builds his strength to finish what he already
started: the destruction of Luke Skywalker.
I'm struggling to write a proper review. Much of what I've written about the first two
books can be applied here: the familiar characters from the movie are flat, Zahn's
original characters are well-drawn, and the peril doesn't seem too perilous. Zahn brings
the trilogy to a proper close and wraps up all of the plot lines. All that's really
left is to figure out how many stars to give it.
I distinctly remember the way Han Solo uttered "sweetheart" in the movies. It wasn't a
term of endearment. So every time he used the term on Leia in this book, I got a bad vibe.
It gave me a negative view about his relationship with Leia, who is now his wife and the
mother of his kids. Throughout the series, I've felt that Zahn got Han's character wrong,
and it's no different here.
Another negative was the character of Joruus C'baoth. He was a windbag with an ego the
size of a planet. Sure, he was powerful, but most of the time he was just full of hot
air. Contrast him with Thrawn and the differences couldn't be more stark. Thrawn was the
brilliant tactician who used a culture's art to gain strategic insight. Cold and calculating,
he was the military mastermind that was always two moves ahead of his opponents, and when
dealing with C'baoth, he always kept his emotions in check.
The other positives were the smuggler Talon Karrde and his associate Mara Jade. Despite
what the book blurb would have you believe, Karrde was the one that struggled to form the
smugglers' coalition. His storyline in this book was really good as he tried to outwit
the nitwit that Thrawn sent to undermine his efforts. And Jade struggled with her
compulsion to kill Luke while also doing the right thing by Leia. Meanwhile, the Alliance
was split on whether or not she was an Imperial spy or Alliance ally. But I wasn't too
keen on how her internal conflict was resolved. It involved something that I thought
had been lost in one of the movies. My reaction being: "No way, you found that? How?"
So in the end, I'd say that this series was consistent. It had its good points and
bad points. I was entertained, but in a beach read sort of way. Therefore, I'm
going to stay consistent with my rating.