I am currently reading my way through a long list of science fiction and fantasy titles. (http://www.npr.org/2011/08/07/138938145/science-fiction-and-fantasy-finalists if you are interested in the list).
The dying Empire's most cunning and ruthless warlord—Grand Admiral Thrawn—has taken command of the remnants of the Imperial fleet and launched a massive campaign aimed at the New Republic's destruction. Meanwhile, Han and Lando Calrissian race against time to find proof of treason inside the highest Republic Council—only to discover instead a ghostly fleet of warships that could bring doom to their friends and victory to their enemies.
Yet most dangerous of all is a new Dark Jedi, risen from the ashes of a shrouded past, consumed by bitterness… and scheming to corrupt Luke Skywalker to the Dark Side.
Recommended for Star Wars junkies and younger sci-fi readers.
The author leans heavily on the reader’s assumed knowledge of the Star Wars franchise. Now, it would seem that a person cannot live in our society these days without knowing the basics of the movies, but I admit that I have never watched them. So I have no emotional involvement arising from the films.
As I said in my review of Heir to the Empire, I find that these books would be better suited to the young adult age group and skewed toward the lower end of that—maybe age 11 to 14? Very simple vocabulary, uncomplicated plot, very black-or-white characterization. There are fights and deaths, but not described in gory detail. Princess Leia is pregnant, but that is the full extent of the acknowledgement of sexuality. Readers are very obviously supposed to be picturing Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill in their minds’ eye while reading and superimposing their film knowledge over the skeleton that Zahn provides.
Readers that enjoy this trilogy should also consider reading the Legend of Drizzt series by R.A. Salvatore. They require about the same level of reading ability and provide less graphic violence than some other science fiction/fantasy series.
Book number 298 in my Science Fiction & Fantasy Reading Project.