Star Wars: EU Read-Through – “The Last Command” by Timothy Zahn

tlc-zahnI have embarked on a quest to read through the Star Wars Expanded Universe once more. Be sure to check the linked text there to see other posts in this series. Here, I look at The Last Command by Timothy Zahn.

The Last Command

Does the conclusion of the Thrawn Trilogy live up to the opening works’ potential? I’d say it certainly does.

As the Empire’s forces continue to push back those of the New Republic–both through the activity of Crazed “Jedi” C’Baoth and the strategy of Thrawn–Luke and others work to keep politics from overthrowing the republic they’re building up.

The action is effectively constant, and Zahn does a great job interweaving plot into what is effectively an almost 500-page action novel. What Zahn continues to do masterfully is portray characters aside from the “Big 3” (Leia, Han, and Luke) in realistic ways. Karrde and Mara Jade are fully realized characters, and Thrawn himself once more appears to be just as much the strategic mastermind as we have been told to expect.

One area the book really excels in is this latter thing–conveying strategy during battle. The former two books do have some interesting battles, but Thrawn’s blockade of Coruscant with asteroids seems particularly devious, and his use of cloaked cruisers to make it seem like he can shoot through planetary shields was also delightfully tricky.

The ending is perhaps the biggest pitfall of the book. Yes, it does wrap up quite a bit and also–as is typical in the Star Wars EU–opens up a horde of new possibilities for later stories, but it feels incredibly rushed. The last 10 pages happen all at once in a flurry of plot-wrapping that is not disappointing but still feels as though it could have gone on for about three times as long.

As with the previous books–but not so pointed as in Dark Force Rising–some events seem to occur in all-too-convenient ways. Characters show up at just the right (or wrong) times and places to push the plot forward, and this sometimes pushes the boundaries of suspension of disbelief.

All that said, however, The Last Command is an epic ending to a fantastic trilogy which really pushed the Expanded Universe into existence. These books are revered as much for nostalgia as they are for being great, but it is their strong readability and the way Zahn masterfully brings forth realistic characters that make them endure.

The Good

+Unique locales which are all fully realized
+Interesting battle sequences, paired with a strong sense of Thrawn’s tactical prowess
+Good character building across the board

The Bad

-A few all-too-convenient moments, again
-Abrupt ending

Best Droid Moment

R2-D2 attempting to travel through the forest on Wayland. A good reminder that the Prequel Trilogy with R2-D2’s Iron Man upgrades, crazy Yoda, and Jar Jar don’t exist.

Grade: A “A great conclusion to a fantastic series.”

Conclusion

When trying to think of the grade for this book, I tried to best take into account its place both in my heart and in the broader scheme of the Star Wars universe. There’s no way to avoid one’s own nostalgia, but I also think the book, like the rest of the trilogy, represents one of the better entries of the Star Wars universe. So far, my journey through the EU has been great, with very little to disappoint. We’ll see if that continues as I move on!

Links

J.W. Wartick- Always Have a Reason– Check out my “main site” which talks about philosophy of religion, theology, and Christian apologetics (among other random topics). I love science fiction so that comes up integrated with theology fairly frequently as well. I’d love to have you follow there, too!

Reading through Star Wars: Expanded Universe– Here you can read other posts in this series (reviews of other EU books) and make suggestions about what I should include in my reviews.

Be sure to follow me on Twitter for discussion of posts, links to other pages of interest, random talk about theology/philosophy/apologetics/movies/scifi/sports and more!

There are other posts on science fiction books to be found! Read them here.

SDG.

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Star Wars and Disney: Match made in…. ?

I’m a gigantic Star Wars nerd. I sit here with my Boba Fett watch on, my keys in my pocket with the Boba Fett key chain, typing on the computer next to my Boba Fett bobble head, my Star Wars slurpee cup (change jar), with my Darth Maul blanket to keep me warm. My bedset is Star Wars, with the Millennium Falcon and an X-Wing on it. There’s a Boba Fett figure on my bookshelf, and my Christmas Tree will be covered with Star Wars ornaments. I’ve read every post-original movies Star Wars book. I’ve read a decent amount of the graphic novels.

I love Star Wars.

It has been said for years now. There will be no more Star Wars films. It gave me a sense of finality. Yes, the books will continue, and I love them, but the movies are over. Watching the original trilogy was part of my childhood that I would not have wanted to be without. I will never forget the sense of wonder when I first saw any Star Wars movie–it was Return of the Jedi, and I was watching it on my uncle’s couch. I saw Boba Fett and thought he was so cool (still do, obviously!), and the story was just amazing to me.

Now there is the news: Disney bought Lucasfilm, there will be new Star Wars movies.  Intial reaction: shock. I actually had trouble believing it is true.

But what does it mean for my beloved franchise? Will they follow the story in the sequel books? If so, how will they get actors to sign on for an endless string of movies? And where will they start? The Thrawn Trilogy? Oh my goodness. I just realized that is a possibility. Suddenly I’m more excited for something than I’ve been in a long time. I was already.

So, Disney bought Lucasfilm? I hate it. I love it! I hate it. I LOVE IT! Oh please let good things happen.

Here’s the thing though…. what if they ruin it? What if they go with some of my favorite books and then just destroy them? I know how I would feel:

Don’t forget, it you like my random musings here, check out my philosophical, theological, and apologetic arguments at Always Have a Reason.