Lit Hand of Thrawn Duology by Timothy Zahn what do people think of them ?

Discussion in 'Literature' started by fett 4, Dec 27, 2012.

  1. JackG Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 15, 2011
    star 4
    I love the excellent and engaging politics of the New Republic in this duology - something sorely missing in post-NJO novels (of the GA that is).
    Last edited by JackG, Dec 29, 2012
  2. DarthApprentice Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 17, 2011
    star 1
    I was a big fan of these and Survivors Quest when I fist read them. Now I read them more than any of the others (except Abyss, love that book!). I very much liked the Mara and Like stuff, but I really enjoyed the Shada/Karrde stuff(guess im the minority here). I never really looked at it as Mara 2.0, altho that does make some sense....
  3. DarkEagle Jedi Grand Master

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    Jan 10, 2009
    star 4
    I really like them (Pellaeon is a personal favorite); particularly how they do an excellent job of wrapping the Bantam era up nicely.
  4. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    There are two great underrated gems from the Bantam run: The Black Fleet Crisis trilogy and the Hand of Thrawn duology.

    Zahn's examination of New Republic politics is great, and gives us a really great internal crisis political thriller plotline that intersects with the Empire and gives great material to Han, Lando, Leia, Wedge, Corran -- everybody. There's a wonderful exploration plotline for Karrde, and a different exploration plotline for Luke and Mara, which sets up a magnificent new playground. And Pellaeon gets great material with Imperial politics, which give us the triumvirate threat of Disra, Tierce, and Flim, which is pretty underrated in the annals of great villains. In the end, we get a great story that establishes a lot of new stuff in Zahn's great worldbuilding fashion, ties the era together, and delivers a sense of profound closure to the era while also promising to open up another. There are a few missteps -- Luke and Mara's courtship is too short and moves too fast, sitting Chewie is a mistake, and the Aing-Tii were probably a mistake -- but overall the material is rock-solid, I would say roughly on par with TTT.
  5. fett 4 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jan 2, 2000
    star 4
    Just curious what would be your rating for each book ?

    Chewie was not a problem since beside going arff arff there's not a lot he can say or do. As the Aing-Tii and there Trek style Warp engines (or why would Monks have them) were never mentioned again and quietly dropped gives me a pass for Zahn.

    I agree about Pellaeon and his storyline, though less so about Corran and Wedge's as there plot pretty much went no where and got replaced by the more interesting Moranda one instead. Again I agree about the triumvirate but as said previously Tierce was beaten to easily at the end and he didnt need to have some of Thrawns mind in him either.

    Anyway my rating would be 7 for Spector, Enjoyable but felt like set up for the next book. While Vision I give 9 and is great but not a 10 for reasons already listed.
    Last edited by fett 4, Dec 30, 2012
  6. fett 4 Chosen One

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    Jan 2, 2000
    star 4
    Lol the ironic thing about the Ewoks, is that the original version of having arm-ripping Wookies was and is far more believable in beating "A Legion of the Emperors best troops" rather than angry Carebears While I do wonder if Lucas regrets making Luke and Leia brother and sister now that 7,8,9 are coming out.
  7. fett 4 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jan 2, 2000
    star 4
    To give reasons on why she is labelled that here is a comparison

    In TTT, Mara is a deadly warrior woman, with a snarky attitude to cover her own inner fears, insecurities etc. She has a secret past and issues who subsequently discovers that everything she was lead to believe was wrong and moves on from it and also kills the main bad guy (C'boath) of the book.

    In the HoT Shada is a deadly warrior woman with with a snarky attitude to cover her own inner fears, insecurities etc. She has a secret past and issues who subsequently discovers that everything she was lead to believe was wrong and moves on from it and also kills the main bad guy (Tierce) of the book.

    Agree about the 2nd part and was best part of the book.
  8. Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn The Other Saga Moderator

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    Sep 23, 1999
    star 6
    @Havac @fett 4 I always thought the Aing-Tii were one of the cooler inclusions. And don't forget, they weren't invented for this book - they came from the Darkstryder campaign. True, Zahn chose to use them, but he didn't invent them.

    And their technology was far from Trek - it was all Force-based, which is, I think, important. The duology was about wrapping up a lot of loose ends while also opening some new possibilities for Star Wars to explore in the future. There were character possibilities (Luke and Mara becoming an item, the Fel clones existing at all), geographical possibilities (the Unknown Regions), situational possibilities (internal wars and possibly external ones, with the threats from the UR), and finally spiritual or philosophical possibilities (illustrated by the Aing-Tii and their very non-Jedi, non-dark-sider, non-Sith, etc way of viewing and using the Force).
    Last edited by Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn, Dec 30, 2012
  9. JackG Force Ghost

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    Aug 15, 2011
    star 4
    Okay, I've started reading them again thanks to this thread - they're just as good as I remember.
  10. JediMara77 Force Ghost

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    Mar 5, 2004
    star 4
    The Aing-Ti are used again, in Fate of the Jedi: Outcast.

    Also, the Luke/Mara coutship, while short, is definitely not out of left field. I've read the L/M parts a billion times and it's completely obvious they were going to hook up. But Zahn is subtle like that. :)
  11. fett 4 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jan 2, 2000
    star 4
    I'm suprised he didn't hook em up in Last Command as it was obvious they had good chemistry then, Also suprised why KJA decided to pair her with Lando instead! which Zahn then retcons in HoT [face_rofl]
  12. JediMara77 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 5, 2004
    star 4
    Zahn has stated that Luke and Mara weren't ready for a relationship at the end of TLC, which I very much agree with. (I wouldn't have made them wait ten years, however.)

    Why did KJA pair her with Lando? Who knows. I guess he thought they'd go well together.

    Zahn had the contract for HoT in 1994, so it was set up from way back then that Luke and Mara would be together. All the other authors knew about this (which is why Luke's love life seemed doomed for failure) and none of the authors spilled the beans in all those years. That's why Stackpole included some L/M interaction in I, Jedi. (Zahn revealed this information at Celebration VI, and I believe that was the first time they actually confirmed that all the other authors were in on Luke and Mara getting together from that early on.)

    In short, they screwed with us for six years. :p
  13. kataja Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 4, 2007
    star 4
    Actually, KJA didn't actually paiI Mara with Lando - he only set Lando to chase her. It was Barbara Hambly who had Mara in Lando' s shirt as sleeping attire in Children of the Jedi (1995). While in TNR (1996)there's a scene where they talk pretty much like they'd be a pair. The funny thing is, that I've read a KJA interview where he says he asked Zahn after TLC if he was setting Luke and Mara up together - and Zahn denied it. :confused: But that was before Zahn got a contract on THT, after which the other writers were told they'd hook up. I can't exactly remember when it was...

    The sad side about the screwing, is that we're still waiting for the Luke & Mara stories where you can see some fun tension between them...
    Last edited by kataja, Dec 30, 2012
  14. Sniper_Wolf Force Ghost

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    Nov 26, 2002
    star 4
    The foreshadowing of NJO, LOTF, and Legacy make the novels readable. Zahn starts his slide towards self-indulgence with some of the sillier moments including the mass hysteria of Thrawn's spectre somehow giving the minute Remnant the ability to conquer the galaxy. Still, important enough novels to read given the conclusion of the Civil War.
    Reaper63 likes this.
  15. Reaper63 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 17, 2002
    star 4
    I read in the Essential Reader's Companion, that the Callista Trilogy, starting with Children of the Jedi, was supposed to have Callista become the love of Luke's life. a Foil to him. Luke had no history for Jedi, but the power, Callista was to provide that history, but be unable to tap into the force. But during the second book, LFL took Reader Feedback on how much people liked Luke and Mara as a potential couple, that they Nixed Callista and set Zahn up to write them finally getting together. So at the time Zahn Denied setting them up as a couple,. I think that was the truth at the time.
    Although I hate the novels that introduced her, I liked the Character of Callista (and love that more recent Clone Wars Novels included her) and I do feel she would have ultimately made a bette rmatch. But I do LOVE the character of Mara.

    I do see some kit goves being used by Zahn, but I also think he handles her better then anyone else. Her "journey" in this 2 book series was interesting and I think, as written, it wasn't a short courtship, but finally both of them admitting they were courting ever since Wayland. Even lying to themselves in those years, they couldn't deny the attraction.

    In my opinion at least.
  16. Reaper63 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 17, 2002
    star 4
    ]The rumors of Thrawns return wasn't allowing the Remnant to conquer the galaxy, infact, it I remember correctly, they never fired a shot till Bothwai. It was all politial movements and a "show" of Thrawn to select targets.

    It actually wasn't a bad strategy.they used the fear of what Thrawn was able to do against everyone. And used historical conflicts to their advantage.

    "we have nothing to fear, except fear itself." the New Republic could really have used that advice lol
  17. RC-1991 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 2, 2009
    star 4
    I don't mind to Aing-Tii too much- they remind me, thematically, of the zanier/high Fantasy/sci-fi elements of L. Neil Smith's Lando Calrissian trilogy- in particular the Silentium, the Rafa civilization, and the Oswaft. Something that is very fantastic- in the original sense of the word- yet somehow still fits into the EU. It's an interesting break for Zahn, who tends to stick with "realistic" sci-fi even in a clearly science fantasy milieu such as Star Wars. I feel that they add a sense of wonder and adventure to the galaxy, that there are still these groups that remain mysterious and well outside of what can be considered normal even in a galaxy that contains such things as Jedi, Sith, and Waru.
  18. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Chewie can do all the cool things all the time. The fact that he's frequently underused doesn't mean that he can't be used well -- Zahn got great use out of him in TTT. The fact that he didn't even bother to try in HOT is disappointing and deeply unworthy treatment of one of the main characters of the saga, especially in the end of the friggin' era.

    As for Corran and Wedge, their storyline following the campaign is at least as important and interesting as their stint setting up Moranda's (awesome) espionage plotline. I mean, they're the means for us to watch Garm and BOOSTER FRIGGIN' TERRIK try to punch the Remnant in the face with Errant Venture, and also to argue over melons and expose mountaintop shysters and cut through tensions with clever stratagems that damage Booster's business interests. What's not to like? They get to do all the fun things.

    As for Tierce, that's the genius of it -- Thrawn really is back, because he's had his tactical skills taught to a clone of a great soldier, and this guy is devious enough to play Disra the whole time to get himself into power. The only flaw is that Thrawn chose the wrong guy to try to teach, because he lacks Thrawn's vision. If Tierce is just some Royal Guardsman, he can only ever be a competent soldier, someone just good enough to give Flim the veneer of military ability, the best thing Disra can come by in a pinch. By making Tierce the heir to Thrawn's tactical thinking, it gives the plot a legitimacy Disra doesn't even know it has -- Tierce can make sure Flim actually acts like Thrawn would, and can plot strategems of genuine genius. It's a clever little touch. Moreover, it provides an implicit contrast in methods of teaching -- Thrawn tries to force knowledge into a subject's head with Tierce, and fails because he can't just turn someone else into a copy of himself. Tierce acts in opposition and contrast to Pellaeon, the protege Thrawn trained not by feeding him with direct knowledge, but by giving him the chance to observe him in action and pick up knowledge in the natural fashion. Pellaeon comes out the winner, providing a very Star Wars theme of the triumph of nature over artifice. And as for the fight, Zahn's forte isn't really intimate depictions of hand-to-hand combat; he's not Stover. Letting the reader imagine a breathtakingly intense and swift fight scene is probably the best outcome he could have, and it works. Think of it as a sort of a Bourne-movie effect. LOOK THE ACTION IS SO FAST YOU DON'T EVEN KNOW.

    Ratings would be a nine-something for each book, I reckon.

    The Darkstryder campaign was, however, ridiculous and best forgotten. I'm not rabidly against their inclusion, but I don't think that introducing the Aing-Tii into the main storyline, especially in such a cursory fashion, without an effort to establish what exactly their bizarre powers actually mean, was the best decision. I think there would be other ways to open up philosophical possibilities, and Zahn had already sort of gotten at them with his thoughts about using the Force more "quietly."

    The courtship isn't out of left field, but the engagement is. Note that Luke proposes before they've ever so much as kissed. Well, not counting the creepy time Luke kisses an unconscious Mara. The romantic tension was definitely there in TTT, and maintained in some of the works since then, but Zahn didn't do as much as he could have to play it up, not if he wants to have them engaged by the end of it. More development would have done a lot of good, and there needs to be at least some overt romance before they're engaged. Had the engagement moment led not up to a proposal, but to a request to start dating, it would have worked, also. But Zahn has them engaged before they've even started dating. It's rather ridiculous.
    CT-867-5309 likes this.
  19. kataja Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 4, 2007
    star 4
    Actually, where in the ERC do they say this? Herad it before ,though, but can't find it in the book.
    I think Callista (though a nice character) was too much like Luke. In RL it might have worked - but in fiction it's too little fireworks :p

    I agree completely. It was a very understated romance i THT - but I think it worked. What annoys me it the lack of stories that would give us this tricky courtship in retrospect!!

    Hmm, you almost convince me I need to read that book again to check if I'd get more out of it now [face_thinking] Also, when I read it first, I didn't know neither Booster nor Corran... I just remember it was a very meticulous going with a lot of charcaters snarling or badmouthing each other endlessly.

    But it's happened before that I've changed my mind when loking at things anew :)

    [/QUOTE=Havac]The courtship isn't out of left field, but the engagement is. Note that Luke proposes before they've ever so much as kissed. Well, not counting the creepy time Luke kisses an unconscious Mara. The romantic tension was definitely there in TTT, and maintained in some of the works since then, but Zahn didn't do as much as he could have to play it up, not if he wants to have them engaged by the end of it. More development would have done a lot of good, and there needs to be at least some overt romance before they're engaged. Had the engagement moment led not up to a proposal, but to a request to start dating, it would have worked, also. But Zahn has them engaged before they've even started dating. It's rather ridiculous.[/QUOTE]
    Untraditional? Yes! But ridiculous? No. Neither Luke or Mara are exactly 'normal' people. Mara's never been in an actual relationship and Luke too has very few in his luggage, having left 'normality' more or less behind after he became Jedi. I think it would very much be a 'now or never' thing for them. That said, I would of course have loved if there had been something more juicy in the novel - but that's obviously not Zahn's style -a dn I'm ok with this.

    That said, L&M's final chat always annoys me! I can accept Luke's humble about having Mara as fiancé - but it gets to me that Mara just stands on her pedestal and even after pointing out marriage isn't all about rational pro's and con's she still gives a purely rational reason for marrying Luke. Like 'it's the meaning of the Force'. Hooray! Lets get married. :rolleyes: The scene would still work for Mara's character, but it leaves Luke too much with his hat in his hand IMO
  20. Zorkel567 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 20, 2010
    star 3
    Actually, it was Omen, not Outcast. ;)
  21. JediMara77 Force Ghost

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    Mar 5, 2004
    star 4
    WHATEVER it started with an O. ;)
  22. Zorkel567 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 20, 2010
    star 3
    Outcast, though, had the Baran Do Sages instead. But other than that, they were pretty similar. [face_whistling]
  23. CT-867-5309 Chosen One

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    Jan 5, 2011
    star 5
    Luke/Mara should have started with an O.
    Last edited by CT-867-5309, Dec 31, 2012
  24. fett 4 Chosen One

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    Jan 2, 2000
    star 4

    That's not the problem I have, mine is the author using Luke to declare that Mara was never on the darkside. It was not just a POV but the clear intention of the author which he confirmed in subsequent interviews.

    I didn't make sense then nor does it now and is just really bad in jmo.
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  25. Jedi Ben Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 19, 1999
    star 6
    That's why I like Tyers take far more, she doesn't absolve Mara in the way Zahn does.
    kataja and fett 4 like this.