What am I talking about this time: Del Rey Books & Random House Audio, Thrawn: Alliances (Star Wars)
Written by Timothy Zahn
Read By Marc Thompson
Run Time: 13 hours and 21 minutes
Feels Like: 13 hours, tops!
Overall Review: 4 out of 5 Thrawn Action figures
Is It Worth $27 (Itunes Price)? Yeah, man… it’s good times.
Spoiler Free Review:
Timothy Zahn’s writing is great, but we aren’t here to review the book as a better reviewer than I has already accomplished that. Rather, we are here to discuss the long sought medium of people reading to us like we’re children.
Like most Star Wars Audiobooks, the music, sound effects, and audio cues are all perfect. Blaster fire rings out, light sabers hum, and exciting music swells all in time with the words. This is what sets Star Wars Audiobooks apart from most audiobooks out there and while I love leaving things to the imagination, I say leave that for real reading, for audiobooks- I want music cues and wav files and boy did I get em!
Marc Thompson plays the part of our mothe….er… narrator and his Thrawn is perfect. After hearing his voice, I have replaced his Thrawn with every interpretation I have heard since, including my own inner-Thrawn voice from initial readings. I mean, he nailed it. His Annikin starts a little off-key, whiny and bro-ish, but the more I think about it, the more it rings true than most portrayals.
His Vader is mostly voice modulated so it sounds like Vader, but the emotions he puts behind it emit the perfect level of intimidation and power. The remaining cadre of voices are distinct and fit naturally into the characters they are portraying. His talent serves the book well and underlines the text allowing for an enthralling read (I tried for an “en-thrawning” there, but couldn’t pull it off).
The only place Marc fails is at Padme, he leans on her softer side too much and it hurts the text, as opposed to her more hardened battle moments where he hits it out of the park. It’s hard playing all the characters of different alien races and genders, and with any other character it might have been a blip in the radar, but for such a major player in the book, it definitely took me out of the experience a few times, especially in the end.
There is one other element that might have hurt the audiobook- One of the highlights of Timothy Zahn’s writing is getting into the head of our main characters; Thrawn, Darth Vader, and Anakin Skywalker. He does this by comparing Thrawn’s sharp observations and analysis with the Jedi/Sith Lord’s Force power “Double Vision”. A sense that is used quite a lot and every time it is used, the writer and Marc Thompson lead the moment by saying “Double Vision”… a lot. After the 3rd of 4th time within a chapter, you cannot help but add Foreigner’s song into the mix, which to be honest, works pretty well, especially in some of the fight sequences… but once exiting the beat, I found the song still playing on a loop in my mind. While not the fault of Marc Thompson, I do feel that a different term could have better suited the moment and repetitive use.
Overall, the story is as great as when I read it the first time, enhanced to an almost cinematic level by the voice acting, music, and sound effects and I highly recommend it.