I finally got the chance to sit down and read this book after several months (my bookstore not carrying Trek novels anymore is really starting to get annoying). I have to say I went into this somewhat worried. Before Dishonor left a very bad taste in my mouth that made me consider giving up on the TNG Relaunch. I couldn't see how this book could possibly reconcile the differences in the characters. I finally broke down and read it because I wanted to hear the story between Before Dishonor and Gods of Night.
I was happily surprised.
First I didn't expect to like T'Ryssa Chen when I first read about her and now she's probably my favorite of the new arrivals to Captain Picard's chain of command. She's uncertain about herself and is a very complex character, which is welcome. I haven't gotten very far in Gods of Night but I'm hoping that she doesn't change much. She was a welcome change from T'Lana.
I wasn't too pleased when I read that Leybenzon was being reassigned - in Q&A I liked the character but Before Dishonor did him in for me - so I was hoping he could somehow be redeemed. His reassignment I didn't like when I first read it, but I like Choudhry and I'd say she's my second favorite of the new crew.
The story itself was spot on and intriguing. I don't usually read books in one sitting because I have so much going on, but when I started on Sunday I cleared my schedule and read it straight through. The characters were engaging, the return of old favorites (Guinan and Hugh) was welcome, and the Noh Angels were an interesting new race. It reminded me in many ways of the old TOS stories rather than a TNG one. It was refreshing.
And this was the progression for the characters that we should have seen in Nemesis. When Nemesis was announced Logan said he wanted to show the characters progress on to the next stage of their lives. He did an average job compared to what Christopher has introduced. Picard's storyline and marriage to Doctor Crusher was something that I thought was needed, and everything he was thinking and feeling seemed real. While "The Inner Light" is not one of my favorite episodes (yeah I know amazing), I enjoyed seeing that it stuck with him on an unconscious level and even influenced him in how he treated Beverly's desire and that of Hugh.
I'll admit that I'll miss Guinan in the TNG novels but I have no doubt she'll turn up at a later date. As the narrative said Picard didn't need her around as much as he did before and it showed. The characters have all grown up and the crew of the Enterprise (both old and new) couldn't be any better in my opinion. Even though I'm typically critical I have to say that Christopher has removed the bad taste of Before Dishonor and I can't wait to see the continuing adventures of this crew.