Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Book Review: The Last Command

book cover for The Last CommandThe 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.

3.5 stars