I thought this book didn't quite make it to the soaring heights you reached with The Buried Age and Orion's Hounds, but it was still a very good read, Christopher
. It's unfortunate that the previous TNG post-Nemesis books had such a wacky revolving door of characters, characterizations, and Borg plots, but I think GTTS did an admirable job of tying everything up. Every once in a while I wished I hadn't read the previous books so recently...that way some of the exposition here wouldn't have felt so redundant.
That being said, I understand why the first third of the book was necessary, and I think you did an admirable job of cleaning up the craziness. It certainly would have been FAR worse if everything was immediately swept under the rug and never mentioned again.
The story itself was terrific, and as I've come to expect and look forward to in your novels, you explored a very intriguing and evocative sci-fi premise with the carbon planet intelligence. I enjoyed how "Qing Long" never spoke, instead using imagery and Trys's perceptions to communicate. The crew's gradual understanding of the entity was nicely done.
The slipstream angle was a good hook, and I really expected that the "big ending" was going to be the Borg getting their hands on the technology and zipping away. I hope this tech is returned to in future novels, but for now it seems the Einstein (or Frankenstein, I think I'm with Worf on that name
) plot has no direct connection to the main collective's new attacks. At least, that's the impression I get now, but I'm sure it'll all be dealt with in the Destiny books.
I'm mildly interested to see what comes out of the Borg saying they will "welcome" resistance, but at this point the escalation has become a little ridiculous. In Reistance
, it was "The Borg attack on sight!" In Before Dishonor
, it was "The Borg have an enormous cube that eats planets!" And now it's "They're going to annihliate rather than assimilate!" I don't think anyone wants to restart the "too much Borg" circular discussion/argument that happened in the Destiny thread, but that's my two cents on the issue.
I was suprised to see Hugh killed off, especially since a few chapters later his noble sacrifice turned out to have been in vain. Nevertheless, his last scene with La Forge was terrific. I was thinking the same thing as Geordi about the seeming futility and circular nature of Hugh's existence. Freed, used as a weapon, remained free, only to again be used as a weapon years later. Hugh's impassioned declaration about how meaningful his life as an individual has been was really quite moving, and it rang truer than similar scenes done over and over and over with Seven on Voyager.
Speaking of ex-Borg drones, I honestly thought Picard's reasoning behind his reluctance to have children had something to do with the alterations the Borg made to him. I remember thinking the same thing in "Generations" when he said "Now there be will be no more Picards" after his brother and nephew died. I guess his organs are just fine, though.
Picard's actual explanation turned out to be my favorite part of the book: the "Inner Light" connection. The scene where Picard finally broke down to Beverly about such unimaginable grief (a thousand years ago is a long time) was remarkable and perfectly in character. I thought of Patrick Stewart in "Sarek" and most of the scene came out in his voice in my head as I read. VERY well-written. I loved "The Inner Light" and wished we had seen ramifications on the show, but this was the next-best place to do it. The sly explanation about his "present" memories being immediately accessible to him after the Kataan probe severed the connection was a clever way to explain why the show didn't have much fall-out.
Overall, I'd give the book somewhere around an 8 or 8.5 out of 10. As a bridge between the previous TNG books and Destiny, GTTS gets the job done, while also showing off a very respectable "stand alone" story with some great character themes. I'm ready to see just how much of the status quo David Mack is going to shatter, and once again I eagerly await the next CLB Trek novel.