Review: The Last Command by Timothy Zahn

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YOU WILL KILL LUKE SKYWALKER!! Ahhh okay I get it – THAT’S why Mara wants to kill Luke so badly. Nicely done, Mr Zahn, nicely done.

The good:

As it should be this book is all action from beginning to end. From the get go this book picks you up and never really lets go. The tension ramps up, we have a massive space battle over Coruscant mid-way through the book, a quick gasp for air then we are off at breakneck speed to Wayland for the final showdown with C’Baoth at the Emperor’s sinister cloning facilities and the climactic battle between the New Republic and Thrawn.
I think I’ve fangirled enough over this series so I’m pretty much all out! Needless to say I think this was my favourite book out of the trilogy. The whole novel felt so cinematic and I had to keep reminding myself that this isn’t Episode IX (Disney please note the bar has been set very high…)
The alliance between Grand Admiral Thrawn and C’Baoth stands on a knife edge as the mad Jedi clone becomes more unhinged. The way his explosive instability comes up against Thrawn’s cool logic creates a pretty compelling villain dynamic. I really enjoyed all of their scenes together. Each storyline in this book is entertaining, and finds a way to wrap itself into the overarching plot. We get the birth of the Jedi twins (more on them in later reviews – let’s just say this is the only book they feature in for a long time where they don’t irritate me!), the cracking of Delta Source (go Leia!) and Mara Jade faces her destiny.
I also liked how Zahn let Han take the lead down on Wayland, it’s a nice touch and a little nod to Han’s natural abilities as a leader and general – whether he likes it or not! Also, I liked how it was Leia rushing to Luke’s aid on Wayland, a neat little throwback to The Empire Strikes Back where Luke rushed off to Bespin. Although, Leia definitely takes on a more measured approach and I really like how her talents with the force are very different to Luke’s. She’s a politician and a diplomat through and through and I think her Jedi training will make her a force to be reckoned with (pun intended :-p).

Note: there are obviously continuity errors as these books were kind of blown apart by the prequel trilogy when it comes to cloning but as these were written way before I’m not going to harp on about it here as it really doesn’t matter. Just replace Wayland with Kamino in your head if you like (although the weather is better on Wayland!).

Apart from all the obvious action and drama that The Last Command packs in, one thing I found myself noticing was that the presence of the Emperor hangs like an omnipresent shadow over this book and, really, the whole trilogy. Zahn has such great nods back to
the original trilogy without being heavy handed. Whether it’s Karrde reflecting on the impact of Jabba’s death on the criminal underworld or Luke’s painful memories of his fateful encounter with the Emperor to Mara’s flashbacks from her time as the Emperor’s Hand. It’s a great testament to the power and influence of the Emperor and a nice touch by Zahn that someone of that gravitas isn’t just going to shuffle off his mortal coil without leaving some sort of legacy on his allies and enemies alike for years to come.

The bad:

Does the fact that it’s not canon count?!

5 out of 5 Death Stars of course – ‘it was……artistically done’

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