Sunday, 24 July 2011

Outbound Flight (Star Wars)

Outbound Flight (Star Wars)Title: Outbound Flight
Author: Timothy Zahn
Superseries: Star Wars


Score: 10/10
Chart Entry Point: 7


Outbound Flight is a mission to explore the galaxies beyond the one Star wars is set in. It's the first book in the Star Wars chronology to include Thrawn - one of the most famous characters in the Extended Universe, and it's for this reason that I chose to read it. And it was a good decision...

The characters were generally done well. I liked Jorus C'Baoth's Apprentice, Lorana, and Thrawn's guest Car'das quite a lot. Then there was the Chancellor. Palpatine is an incredibly complex character, and a very important one. And I've never seen him portrayed better. But there was also the two main players in the book. Thrawn and C'Baoth. I wasn't amazed by C'Baoth, but I think that's more because I didn't like him as a person, than didn't like how he was written. But Thrawn I did like. I haven't actually read the trilogy he was first written about in, but after reading this book I will be. He's a fascinating character, and I found myself looking forwards to those chapters about his storyline. The only thing he didn't have was any flaws. He was a little too perfect. But that didn't mean I didn't enjoy reading about him. He was extremely well written.

I felt that the inclusion of Anakin and Obi-Wan was rather unneccesary. I felt like it was done just because they were famous characters, rather than because they would add anything to the story. They weren't major characters, didn't do an awful lot, but hung around where all the important stuff things happened, disagreeing and agreeing with C'Baoth respectively. I didn't really understand what they were there for.

But it was an excellent story otherwise, two main storylines that merge towards the end of the book, but full of moments that make you think "that was clever". The two masterminds of the book are facinating to read about, and some of the tactics and technology of the various groups was extremely interesting. Especially the methods of the Vagaari, which were brutal, but again were a clever idea. And it manages to link into much of the other stories in the star wars universe. It has ties to the previous books, "The Phantom Menace" and "Rogue Planet".  It also links into the Thrawn books, by the same author, by introducing their eponymous character. and then it hints at the events in the New Jedi Order, which is set over fifty years later.

There was one thing that I felt the story could have done with, was a small bit of back story about Vergere, a missing Jedi. It wasn't an important plot point, just mentioned a couple of times as an indirect mission of Outbound flight. It could be picked up by the end of the book that she had gone missing, and where, but it would have been handy if there had been a brief paragraph about what she was doing when she went missing, or perhaps a bigger mention of Obi-Wan's search for her (This is the subject of the book set before outbound flight, "Rogue Planet").

From a technical point of view, I couldn't see anything wrong with the writing at all. No typos, no weird formatting. Not even any badly worded sentences. Zahn is a brilliant writer, and this work reflects that. Although reading Rogue Planet before hand might be useful for that one thing, this is a really good entry to the Star Wars saga and a highly interesting read.

More Information

Main Protagonist(s): Mixed
Main Antagonist(s): Male
Main Relationships: Heterosexual, not really discussed much
Genre:Science Fiction
Brief Synopsis:

Before the start of the Clone Wars, the future Emperor was already maneuvering to destroy the Jedi. This is the tale of the doomed Outbound Flight Project, which began as a new hope for the galaxy...and ended in despair. A grand Jedi adventure by one of the most popular Star Wars authors. Before the Clone Wars began, a group of Jedi led by Master Jorus C'baoth lobbied the Republic Senate to fund a project to search for and contact intelligent life outside the known galaxy. Six Jedi Masters, 12 Jedi Knights, and 50,000 additional support personnel boarded an incredible starship and left on their adventure...only to disappear without a trace. This was the Jedi's first encounter with the aliens called the Chiss, and the New Republic's future archenemy, Thrawn. But until Luke Skywalker and his wife Mara headed out for the Unknown Regions in Survivor's Quest, the fate of the Outbound Flight Project remained an enigma. This is the story of those Jedi Masters and Knights, their heroic quest, and their mysterious end. 

ISBN: 978-0-099-49358-7
Amazon Link: UK | US
Pages: 420
Published: 2006
Publisher: Arrow

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