Last summer author Timothy Zahn introduced us to a whole subset of the greater Star Wars franchise. Thrawn was back in action with the prequel novel Thrawn Ascendancy: Chaos Rising. In it we get to experience the blue-skinned Chiss as a rising star in the Expansionary Defense Force. Further, we got an in-depth examination of Chiss culture and how it operates in the Chaos (a/k/a the Unknown Regions of the galaxy far, far away). The first novel provided tremendous backstory for the Thrawn character, setting up next weeks’ debut of its sequel, Thrawn Ascendancy: Greater Good.

Thrawn Ascendancy: Greater Good
Image: Del Rey Books

The second novel picks up shortly after Chaos Rising left off. Thrawn earned another victory by questionable means, continuing to draw the ire of the Chiss syndics. As before, they still see Thrawn as a threat and want him gone. This time they concoct a plan to ensnare the brilliant strategist once and for all. Unbeknownst to them, however, the outside forces hinted at in Chaos Rising continue to rise within the borders of the Ascendancy…. A threat that challenges the whole of Chiss society and attacks it at its foundation. Greater Good develops the greater story arc nicely, if not a bit slowly, and does so with far less of our (anti) hero than perhaps fans would like.

Greater Good – Thrawn Ascendancy’s middle child

Thrawn Ascendancy: Greater Good
Ar’Alani definitely has less of a presence in the Ascendancy trilogy’s middle entry. (Image: Del Rey Books)

It’s hard for me to criticize anything from Timothy Zahn, especially Thrawn-related. This middle entry into the Ascendancy trilogy, however, is just that – a typical middle entry. Granted, the story progresses nicely, and there is one reveal that will perhaps come as a surprise. Greater Good is certainly solid, don’t get me wrong, Nevertheless, it is definitely lacking when it comes to content focusing on Thrawn, Ar’alani, and Che’ri. (They were, after all, the central character group from Chaos Rising.) Zahn spends so much time setting up the threat to the Ascendancy and the reveal that often times the story feels a bit crushed under its own weight.

Thrawn Ascendancy: Lesser Evil
Thrawn Ascendancy: Lesser Evil arrives November, 2021.

All that being said, the novel does indeed serve its purpose as a central component of something larger than itself. Imaging taking the long way to arrive at a spectacular destination. That’s what Greater Good accomplishes. Thrawn continues to exhibit both his strategic success and political failure. And we do get to see him lean more towards the Thrawn we expect him to be…. The Ascendancy trilogy is a journey, indeed, and one I highly suspect we’ll fully appreciate when Book Three, Lesser Evil, arrives this coming November.

Thrawn Ascendancy: Greater Good is available for preorder HERE and arrives April 27th.