I'd like to know who voted average and why.
Well, I was one of them. And since you ask...
In some ways it's hard to rate Mere Mortals
on its own and without having read Lost Souls
, since Destiny
is one story and aspects that appear to be loose ends or unnecessary elements may turn out to be very important in the end. For now, though, I've decided to rate the book as a single unit, with the caveat that I might change my mind when I've read the whole trilogy.
Even taking it as a single unit I had some trouble judging Mere Mortals
. On the one hand, I read it in about 24 hours and was enjoying it most of the time as an in-the-moment reading experience; on those terms, I might have rated it "above average." On the other hand, I felt like the book suffered from rather spare plotting and a lot of the character work, while interesting, was excessively straightforward. Enterprise
spend most of the book chasing down the subspace tunnels, and then the Caeliar close them before the Starfleet characters can accomplish anything, so that plotline feels a bit aimless. (Perhaps Lost Souls
will reveal that this isn't so.) The Titan
thread has a couple foiled escape attempts that likewise contribute nothing much to the narrative momentum, and then an abrupt ending. That ending is the capstone to the Hernandez plot, which was easily the best worked out and most satisfying in the book, though again, on a level of plot it doesn't reveal much one couldn't have guessed from the climax to Gods of Night
. The two Bacco/admirals chapters are also great reading, but they don't feel particularly integrated into the storyline; that strand of the story is in the awkward middle ground between being a full-fledged part of the story and a fleeting cameo. The bottom line for me is that the only substantive developments here are the Borg armada launching and Hernandez rescuing Titan
, both of which happen at the tail end of the book. Despite the apparent busy-ness of the different threads, I'll disagree with Steve Roby's comment above: this had a bad case of middle volume syndrome. Or, at least, it appeared to; as I said above, Lost Souls
may demonstrate that the plotting is tighter than I've suggested.
Given the limitations of the plot, the character work takes the brunt of the burden in making Mere Mortals
succeed, and it mostly meets that burden. My one issue is that the conflicts tended to be telegraphed through expressions of concern from friends or counselors, who will say "Don't you think you have this flaw" before the book has really shown us that said flaw exists. Obviously balancing all the different characters and situations in this crossover is a difficult task, so I don't want to complain too much about this, but I thought it deserved a mention.
So that's how I feel about the book. I really liked reading it, but on further consideration I felt it lacked a certain tightness. Ask me again when I've finished the trilogy and I may feel differently.