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Reviews Books The JC Lit Reviews Special: THRAWN ASCENDANCY: GREATER GOOD (spoilers)

Discussion in 'Literature' started by The2ndQuest , May 5, 2021.

  1. The2ndQuest

    The2ndQuest Tri-Mod With a Mouth star 10 Staff Member Manager

    Jan 27, 2000
    Thrawn Ascendancy: Greater Good by Timothy Zahn

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  2. SWpants

    SWpants Force Ghost star 5

    Oct 28, 2004
    I would give it a 9.5/10.

    With the Xodlak family, all the core names begin with L-A-K. Unlike with other families like the Mitth (T-H), the fact that the first three letters are the same made a lot of names blend together. I personally had a LOT of trouble keeping up with who’s who.

    I really want a map of Chiss space.

    Ar’alani and Thrawn work VERY well together. The question comes up as to whether Ar’alani learned from Thrawn or the other way around. She has indeed learned well.
    Thurfian analyzes Thrawn well in chapter 1: that “he loses all the time” but with each loss and disaster “is followed so quickly by a glowing success that everyone forgets or ignores what came before.” Thurfian may hate Thrawn, but he is quite an interesting character to read.

    I get that the Magys subplot is very important, but a lot with her and her suicidal tendencies is quite annoying. Yet she and her people are overall interesting in that they are...if not Force users or even sensitive, accept that it exists and respects it as the Beyond.

    Between Thalias and Che’ri, even more information about Sky-Walkers is provided. I like that Sarako isn’t the only one who is confused as to why certain aspects are never actually addressed and/or holistically understood.

    I like Lakphro from the start, and like him even more as the book progresses.

    The Grand Migration IS quite interesting once Jixtus points out his observations. The Agbui work with a young couple Yomie and Yoponek. Yomie is bloody awesome. I love how she integrates journaling and note-taking within her art.

    I feel very bad for Senior Captain Lakinda. The notion of honor and glory is so embedded in her understanding of life that she feels like everyone looks down on her; that she’s always a fool. Her desire to be better (and have more honor) leads her to be susceptible to a nasty scheme.
    Because Lakuviv is crazy pants.

    Memories VI makes me loathe Haplif. As if I didn’t hate him before.
    But my memory is so shoddy that I didn’t remember details about the characters when opening this book.

    The truth about the mines and metals is so predictable and foreshadowed along the way that I’m almost mad I didn’t recognize it, but I truly am blind to some of those things. I love that Lakinda immediately accepts that truth, and recognizes that different mindsets doesn’t mean any one person is better or worse than another. And that, in the end, being Chiss is greater than family.
  3. Todd the Jedi

    Todd the Jedi Mod and Loving Tyrant of SWTV, Lit, & Collecting star 6 Staff Member Manager

    Oct 16, 2008
    We return to the vast reaches of the Chaos for another adventure with young Captain Thrawn, and while there are more adversaries for him to face, they are more elusive than ever, hiding in plain sight and obfuscating his efforts to act on behalf of the greater good of the Chiss Ascendency.

    Having covered the earliest aspects of Thrawn’s rise to prominence, Zahn focuses on the present in this book, partially dealing with the aftermath from the events of Chaos Rising and partially presenting a new threat for Thrawn and co. to deal with. Though interestingly enough for most of the story Thrawn is on a seemingly unrelated mission involving some refugees from Yiv the Benevolent’s conquest. Naturally we still get to see Thrawn’s analytical prowess on display as he finds himself entangled in a mystery involving unknown attackers; we get an interesting new perspective on his enigmatic methods in the form of Captain Lakinda, as straight-laced as they come but savvy enough to recognize winning tactics when she sees them. Even later on when she realizes she’s made a grave mistake she’s able to set aside her pride to work together with Thrawn to fix the situation. But much of the novel is focused on a new threat that’s steadily infiltrating Chiss society- the Agbui, a seemingly nomadic species who can secretly read people’s emotions. It’s definitely a different sort of threat, and plays into the title of the last book with them sowing chaos into Chiss family politics. Zahn’s given us some nasty villains in his older books, and he does really well here once again creating some baddies that you just want to punch right in the face for being so conniving and toxic towards the good guys. And though he provides some of that cathartic release with the main Agbui’s fate, he pulls the rug out from under us by revealing that the ones who tasked the Agbui with their mission are none other than the Grysks.

    Along with Thrawn we get a little more development for Thalias and Samakro, who are both prodded along by Thrawn into taking more responsibility in his mission to safeguard the Ascendency. Though similar to the last book, they react in opposite manners to Thrawn’s encouragements, with Thalias coming to respect him more and Samakro coming to respect him less; however both have learned to trust in Thrawn’s methods, so even when they’re at odds on how to think about him, they’re on the same page in thinking that his methods get **** done. It’s a direct representation of the ways various characters perceive Thrawn throughout the Chaos; indeed we follow Syndic Thurfian again as he schemes to bring Thrawn down, not really understanding just how difficult a task that is, and on the flip side we see the pathfinder Qilori again and he straight up warns the Grysk interloper not to underestimate Thrawn. It’s a bit of an ironic effect of conflict that Thrawn’s enemies understand him better than his allies.

    There’s a lot of good twists and turns in this book, and as per usual for a Thrawn story there’s plenty of great space battles with some inspired battle tactics both from Thrawn and from his opponents. Having established the core mechanics of the Chiss family hierarchy in the first book Zahn dials those plots down a bit here, but the addition of the Agbui gives him a chance to show just how easily those political relationships can be undermined. With Thrawn off on a mission to save some refugees, we get to see the Chiss come under attack in a very surreptitious way, paving the way not only for future battles but even more strife within the Ascendency’s own ranks, and as Thrawn often learns too late, that can be the most damaging attack on his people of all.

    I give this an 8.95 out of 10 for a fun further exploration of Chiss society and Thrawn’s place within it. It’s not the most eventful book ever, but it still weaves an interesting story with a balanced mix of action and intrigue.
    Iron_lord likes this.