Colleen’s Book Club: Thrawn: Treason
Author: Timothy Zahn
Published: July 2019
Set 0 BBY, during the last episodes of Rebels season 4
Read the preceding two canon Thrawn novels first.
A Favorite Character Returns!
IS THAT ELI VANTO'S MUSIC?! You're damn right it is. The last time we saw our easily-exasperated intrepid hero, he was joining Admiral Ar'alani and the Chiss at Thrawn's “suggestion.” I knew I was going to love Treason when the opening chapter had Ar'alani call for the now Lieutenant Eli'van'to. He got a Chiss name, guys! But Eli isn't the only welcome sight in the novel.
Only One Complaint
I'm going to do a breakdown of my Thrawn canon novel rankings in a later post, but Treason is definitely my favorite. It felt too short, but that was my only complaint. The plotting was tight, the characters engaging, and the new discoveries tantalizing. The battle sequences were a particular surprise; Zahn putting the reader right in the action. We peel back another layer of Thrawn's character and find a deeper well of chilling determination AND a charmingly softer side. We get a little more POV from our favorite Grand Admiral but still minimal compared to other characters. I'm hoping we'll get a look inside Thrawn's mind in the next trilogy, a prequel set in Thrawn's past.
Rooting for the Empire! Ummmmm
Zahn's most astonishing accomplishment is making us root for the Empire, or at least Imperials. I was concerned when anyone was in danger, not just Eli, Thrawn, or Ar'alani. I worried for Commodore Faro, a breakout character of the series. And she's definitely an Imperial. It's her job to help defeat our Rebel heroes. But as the novel moved to its close (knowing the Chimaera would be headed to the Rebels series finale) I wanted her and the rest of the Chimaera crew to be safe. A cool thing about Thrawn: he surrounds himself with highly competent female officers. Along with Faro are Hammerly, who has been around since the first Thrawn novel, and Pyrondi, another capable senior officer. It was refreshing to see female faces on a Star Destroyer, since we're so used to seeing only men on Imperial Navy vessels. This isn't too surprising for Thrawn; Admiral Ar'alani is more than a match for him, which shows that the Chiss might be a little farther along in gender equality. Other women are coming to the forefront with the new canon works, but it still felt great to see them in action.
Another Familiar Face! With a Cape!
I won't spoil much of the plot. Thrawn is tasked with helping KRENNIC with a pest control problem plaguing the Stardust project. Thrawn agrees, needing to keep funding open for his TIE Defender program on Lothal. Admiral Ar'alani and Eli are busy dealing with their own problems and cross paths with the Chimaera. The Grysk are back, and the foreboding I felt when reading Alliances was multiplied by a million when I realized what these guys were capable of. They reminded me a little of the Borg from Star Trek but with different methods. The eerie bastards call their enslaved species “clients.” I'm now very concerned for everyone in the Unknown Regions.
A new favorite character: Vah'nya, a Chiss navigator in her early 20s who flirts with Eli, making him super nervous. One of the main mysteries of the Chiss storylines going forward will most likely deal with how she's retained her Force sensitivity, as most Chiss navigators lose their ability around age 14. Another new character I'm less partial to: Ronan, a KRENNIC lackey and general nuisance. He's an interesting foil to Eli, but I wanted to slap him anytime he came on page.
10/10 Very Enthusiastic Sabers! And a possible Rebels Sequel Clue
Takeaways: there's some major shit going down in the Chiss Ascendancy, probably gearing toward a civil war. Will Thrawn be able to assist if things escalate, or will he still feel tied to the Empire? Is there anyone in the galaxy who can match Thrawn? If he overthinks and overplans to his downfall, as Ar'alani believes will eventually happen, who will help him to his feet? ::Cue INTERNAL SCREAMING::