Boy, did I call this one. I was saying all along, that Specter of the Past, while not a great book, was setting up for a potentially explosive ending. And that is what Vision of the Future was. Although, the ending wasn't THAT unpredictable, it still was a great read. You thought Zahn's first Trilogy was deep, how about this one?
One of the negative's may be that it tends to get too epic, and too deep, and that there are simply too many sub-plots going on at the same time. If you are interested in one, be prepared to be kept waiting while that plot's turn will not come around very quickly. Perhaps the least interesting of these sub-plots was one that I found to be mildly dull. It focuses around a character named Navitt and his partner Klif. Occasionally Wedge, Coran and an old woman named Moranda encounter these characters. Both times I read this novel, I found myself uninspired to continue through these parts. With that being said, the other six plots were very solid! It helps that they all tied in very nicely in the end - even the one that I was not very interested in.
Yes I am biased because he is my favorite character - but the plot involving Talon Karrde and Shada D'ukal looking for Karrde's former mentor, Jorj Car'das, was very interesting. The plot involving Luke and Mara - despite not interacting with any of the other major characters throughout this entire book - was actually another highlight of the story. Wait for the climax of this plot at the end. It dramatically shapes the future of all Star Wars novels.
This novel is what I was hoping Specter would have been. So if you were somewhat disappointed with the first book, you MUST read this one. After all, they were once one book that had to be split into two... so you could see where Zahn had too add some extra description and padding to make it work. I rather a story be too deep then too shallow.
Lastly, if you notice, the last paragraph is the same as the last paragraph in The Last Command. I think that Zahn is telling all the other authors, "hey, I set you guys up with a perfect continuation, you blew it. Now I will start over and give you a second chance." Of course I am talking about Luke and Mara.. but' you'll see. And by the way, Mara is another character that is heavily developed in this book.
Though Thrawn wasn't back, it sure felt like it because you will learn a lot about him and his background. It is very interesting to say the least.
Overall, not as compelling as the original trilogy, but defiantly a keeper with a great climax.