Star Wars: The Thrawn Trilogy: Dark Force Rising

Star Wars: The Thrawn Trilogy: Dark Force Rising




What does Grand Admiral Thrawn have in store for the fledgling New Republic? It is time to return to a galaxy far far away to find out.


The dying Empire’s most cunning and ruthless warlord – Grand Admiral Thrawn – has taken command of the remnants of the Imperial fleet and launched a massive campaign aimed at the New Republic’s destruction. With the aid of unimaginable weapons long hidden away by the Emperor on a backwater planet, Thrawn plans to turn the tide of battle, overwhelm the New Republic, and impose his iron rule throughout the galaxy.
Meanwhile, Han and Lando Calrissian race against time to find proof of treason inside the highest Republican Council – only to discover instead a ghostly fleet of warships that could bring doom to their friends and victory to their enemies.
Yet most dangerous of all is a new Dark Jedi, risen from the ashes of a shrouded past, consumed by bitterness…and scheming to corrupt Luke Skywalker to the Dark Side.
©2011 Timothy Zahn (P)2012 Random House Audio


After the events of ‘Heir to the Empire’ the remnant of the Empire has some scores to settle. Grand Admiral Thrawn wants to deal with the smuggler Talon Karrd for his involvement in Luke Skywalker’s escape. He also has grand plans to increase the fighting force of the Imperials and to set the new republic back on its heels.
Meanwhile, Luke Skywalker sets out on his mission to find a Jedi Master long thought to be dead. He is hoping that the old master can help him to grow as a Jedi. The trouble is that things aren’t always as they seem and the Jedi Master has grand visions of his own.
As for Han Solo, he and Lando Calrissian stumble upon something that could change the entire war for better or worse. The only question is if they can get to the lost fleet of ships, known as “The Dark Force,” before Thrawn and the Empire.
Princess Leia and Chewbacca are on a mission of their own. They have traveled to the home planet of an alien race that has been trying to capture Leia and her unborn twins under orders from Grand Admiral Thrawn. Sprinkle in some intrigue about deception within the New Republic government and you definitely have a lot going on.
I really do like this book a lot. It is probably my favorite of the series, in the same way that ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ is the favorite film of most Star Wars fans. Things just seem to be happening on a grander scale in this one.
I find the story of Han and Lando to be the most fun. I have always liked the interaction of those two characters because they clearly have a long history with one another. The banter between them feels the most natural.
Unfortunately, the weakest part of the story for me is Princess Leia’s. I don’t think I’ve read a Star Wars novel yet where she has been the standout character for me. I don’t really blame the authors for this, I think that of the big 3 characters from the original trilogy of films, her character is the least distinct. I’m hoping this new unified story concept will see her character developed in a much stronger fashion.
‘Dark Force Rising’ just works. It is enjoyable on its own, but it is also a nice bridge between the first and third novels in the series. It is also this book that I think features Grand Admiral Thrawn’s biggest miscalculation in strategy which ultimately will be his downfall in ‘The Last Command’. I’ll leave it up to you, the reader, to see if you can figure out what error I’m referring to.


Once again, I am impressed by the story that Timothy Zahn was able to put together. I think of the three novels in the Thrawn Trilogy, this one is my favorite. The stakes are a lot higher than in ‘Heir to the Empire’ and the action moves at a much quicker pace.


Once again, I find myself with the problem of having to say something new about the work of Marc Thompson. The man just knows how to narrate a Star Wars audiobook. There are a few characters from the original trilogy of films where he absolutely nails the impression. His Admiral Ackbar voice is a standout example of what I’m talking about. After listening to him narrate so many of these audiobooks over the years, when I get some of these characters in my head, I am not hearing the original actor, I’m hearing Thompson.


Once more, Random House Audio has produced an excellent track. The track is given the appropriate number of chapter stops and they match up with the actual chapters found in the book. Everything from the dialog to the sound effects and music sounds clear. The sound effects are faded well into the background when Thompson is speaking but there are a few gaps of silence when they are allowed to have more prominence.


As I said above, this is probably my favorite book in the Thrawn Trilogy. I found it to contain the most intrigue and I found the space battle at the end to be the best of the series.
It was while reading this book that I realized just how much of it has been nullified in continuity already just by the prequel trilogy. All of the stuff in the Princess Leia section of the story which dealt with things during the Clone Wars was undone by the prequel trilogy. Perhaps that is why I found that section of the story to be the least interesting.
Continuity issues aside, I still find the overall story quite enjoyable. I think I just have a different way of looking at these older stories than do a lot of other Star Wars fans.
I imagine that somewhere in the Star Wars galaxy, there is a planet with an old man holding court. This man at some point came across the characters of the original trilogy and came back to his home world and started to tell stories. He only had a few to tell but they always held the interest of the children around him. One day, they asked for a new story and not having one that was actually true, he started to make them up. That’s why when the new continuity was announced and the old Expanded Universe was rebranded as ‘Star Wars Legends’ I found the name to be incredibly appropriate. It fit my old man telling stories concept perfectly.
So being able to hold that idea in my head still helps me to enjoy stories such as ‘Dark Force Rising’. I’m generally alright with the continuity problems caused by the events of the prequel trilogy because for me it is familiar characters in a setting that still feels like Star Wars.


Title Author Narrator Publisher Genre Release Date Running Time Score
Star Wars: The Thrawn Trilogy: Dark Force Rising Timothy Zahn Marc Thompson Random House Audio Science Fiction 06/26/2012 14 hours, 56 minutes 9.5/10


A copy of ‘STAR WARS: THE THRAWN TRILOGY: DARK FORCE RISING’ was purchased from Audible for review.