Book Reviews: January 2019

I only had a book in hand for about 7-8 days of January. My husband and I have been preparing to move across the country since early December (and he’s already in our new city) so I only had the mental capacity for light reading.

Thrawn review has minor spoilers.

  • Thrawn #2: Alliances by Timothy Zahn

  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

  • Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

  • Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins


THRAWN #2: ALLIANCES BY TIMOTHY ZAHN

Thrawn: Alliances is the second book in the new canon Thrawn series by Timothy Zahn. The first book followed Thrawn’s rise through the ranks of the Empire. In Alliances, Thrawn and Vader team up to take out a disturbance the Emperor has sensed.

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Alliances was a great read, mainly because Vader was in it and Eli Vanto was not. Picture this in Jean-Ralphio’s voice: “Eli is the woooooorrrssst!” Seriously the most bland character in all of Star Wars and Thrawn had to explain EVERYTHING to him in the last book. He made canon Thrawn #1 the worst of the five Thrawn books. I loved having Vader instead.

The part I most appreciated was Anakin’s refusal to listen to Thrawn and Padme as he was destroying the mine. That was a chilling moment that highlighted where he was in his decline toward the Dark Side. It’s been several weeks since I read it, but it’s still stuck in my mind.

I did have a few issues, though. I’ve been picky lately.

  1. Padme running off on her own mission in the middle of a war seemed odd. In the prequels she was often away from Coruscant, sure, but she at least always had people with her even if that someone was C-3PO. What about her meetings? Wouldn’t she have emails to respond to?

  2. Zahn has this habit of waaaay over-explaining some of Thrawn’s thinking by having Thrawn teach his commanders strategy. Which would be fine if it wasn’t such basic stuff. On the other hand, someone would get shot or something would be wrong with a ship and I would only have a vague idea of what happened, and the story would continue without explanation.

  3. Zahn dumbed down Vader somewhat to make Thrawn seem smarter. I think Zahn just likes his villain best.

Even with the issues above, I still really enjoyed reading Alliances. It was (mostly) mindless Star Wars fun with my favorite character of all time making an appearance as both Anakin and Vader. It doesn’t take much more than that to make me happy.

Rating: 3.5 of 5 stars (Rounded to 4 on Goodreads.)

THE HUNGER GAMES TRILOGY BY SUZANNE COLLINS

I was on a plane back to DC when I finished the Thrawn book above, and I didn’t have anything new on my Kindle...but I did have the Hunger Games trilogy! I first read these books at the end of 2011 and it was what got me back into fun reading toward the end of my senior year at VT. I was an English major, so I did a lot of reading but very little outside of class. I read through this series probably at least seven times in that first year or two after I found it, mainly because it’s so quick to get through. My first job after college also had many periods of downtime so I’d read it on the Kindle app on my phone.

The Hunger Games is not the most well-written trilogy. It took me less than a week to get through all three books again. It’s very action based and I’m always wishing there was more detail. (YA in general does that to me, though.) That being said, I truly love this trilogy. I actually have Catching Fire listed under my all-time favorites; I remember being unable to go to sleep when the Quarter Quell was announced. I’m still Team Peeta, but I had a bit more sympathy for Gale than I did in my last read six-ish years ago.

Rating: 5 of 5 stars for The Hunger Games and Catching Fire, 4 of 5 stars for Mockingjay