says, it's nice to have Tesseract
From Ad Astra:
Wow. What a beginning! Book One ending with a big finish and it asked the question what was going to come next and how would Book Two open. With so many questions from the last time it would have been tempting to give us some answers. Instead, you throttle us with this dark and chilling opening.
Scary Chilling Emotional Stark
I recall one of Fifteen [here after 1/15 ] whispering Dena and the hairs on my neck were raised for some reason. Something truly horrifying about the prospect of Assimilation - worse than death - but maybe worse still is this living hell of realising that you are trapped, confined, assimilated, part of the Collective that has destroyed your world, your life, your family.
This is a gut wrenching chapter. With 1/15 reliving her futile attempt to flee assimilation. It only gets more intense that the perspective is that of a mother running not just for her life but that of her child. It is a very primal fear and you nail that. Tapping into that emotional thrust adds layers to this Dena stroke 1/15 character. An aside, I can only but hope that she survives this and becomes a character in this volume. There's so much potential to her! On top of which is the contrast with Dena's memories with that of the 1/15 drone self combating the emotional responses of the memories and computing them as an error. It adds to the horror of the scene.
This opener adds an emotional punch to things early on. It is a frightful and dark opener. Very ominous and actually a clever move because it shows just what is at stake for our heroes too. Tackling the Borg as your enemy in any writing now is almost a death cue for the author. Why? Because the Borg and Assimilation feel diluted by so much over use and the inclination to go epic in using them. At the end of the day, the most frightening aspect to the Borg is their relentless nature and their fate worse than death weapon and method of conquering - assimilation.
Assimilation: what with the First Contact movie, Voyager and its numerous uses of the Borg but especially the series ending with Endgame, not to mention the number of persons now rescued from the Collective [Picard, Seven, Icheb, the various other drones in Voyager], and the massive Borg onslaught in the novels means the Borg are almost an overkill - so many clichés surround them and it seems that resistance is not so futile and their evil and horror is diluted. So to make their assimilation scary again and have a feeling of real consequence and horror is a skill.
I'm happy to report that you do that here. Full whack scary stuff. You convey the horrific horror of someone trapped within their Borg drone body and their literal desire to rip the 'Borg' out of their body. Might I add, a clever device too to show what exactly our heroes are facing and the fate that may await them or the Alpha Quadrant. Gripping stuff if I say so myself. Loved this.