After making Geoffrey really, really angry after he misread one of my posts, which he took as me saying he wasn't up to par with other Titan writers but actually saying he was, I'll try and be careful with this review ...
The premise was very original. At least for me. The way the space/time folds to make the planet it's own source of danger and worship. The circular prophecy. A world so defined by it's fear. It all worked together really well.
The interplay between the characters was very well done. There is a large, varying array of dynamics between characters from seething anger to taking people under their wing. It doesn't look like any friction is going to be resolved anytime soon too, and if they do then there are plenty of other people to irritate each other (unlike say...Voyager).
It was also the first book that didn't have to take a lot of time out to introduce and reintroduce all the new characters. The story was able to just throw a handful of characters at the problem and have them work on a solution. It did mean there was a lot of characters barely or not used at all to avoid any confusion, but it saved me having to memorise almost a whole ship of people.
The writing itself was enjoyable to read. Things were described with a lot of detail to paint a vivid picture, without having to take the reader out of the action too much to do so. Scenes were well described so I rarely got lost.
The problem I found with the book was that it was not greater than the sum of it's parts. Although the parts were incredibly well done.
The flow of the book didn't work for me and any confusion about what was going on was only because of the flitting around between Jaza, the away team and Titan never seemed to occur at the right, ideal times. It was obviously done this way on purpose to add mystery but it still seemed jarring rather good storytelling.
The characters that were being used had their journeys to travel. Everyone knows that Titan will be alright in the end, so it's these mini-stories that make the story worth reading. Riker and Troi had their problems, Jaza had his prophecy, Dakal fitting in, Modan introduced, Ra-Havreii's demons, Vale getting used to command...
I don't think all of these stories worked. Jaza's obviously did because it was part of the main story, and Modan's and Dakal's worked, but the others had their problems. Vale just comes across like a bitch who isn't well suited to her new job and paranoid about the command structure. Riker and Troi's problems were improved by them being in mortal danger ...the exact reason for the argument??? I can't work out if Ra-Havreii reached a milestone in his story or if he's still in the same place he was before.
This next problem isn't Geoffrey's fault...it's Titan's fault. There are too many characters. Either there should be 2 books a year (even if the quality needs to dip for some of them just for the charactisation) or a set main 'cast' with others to flavour it depending on the story (the DS9 method).
On the whole, a brilliant, interesting read and a worthy addition to the always above-par Titan books.