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Old November 29 2010, 11:12 PM   #55
Aranamac
Lieutenant Commander
 
Location: Pacific Northwest
Re: Typhon Pact: Seize The Fire review thread

This feels like a book with some great ideas and potential that ends up making some very strange choices. There were many places where the writing felt very repetitive, like little things where Christine Vale is introduced to the reader as Riker's executive officer, after that's already been established in dialogue and interaction.

Basically, everything from here on out are spoilers. Should I put my whole post in spoiler code?

Other things that left me confused were the moments when major events would happen off-screen. For example,

When Tuvok mind-melds with the ecosculptor, the event happens entirely off-screen. This seems like a wasted moment, as we're denied a chance to learn more about the ecosculptor's mind and thoughts. It's an encounter that's foreshadowed early in the book, leading me to look forward to a tense, creative, and insightful dialogue between Tuvok and the ecosculptor. Instead, we're limited to Vale's perspective, arguably less dramatic and interesting.

The same thing happens when the two Gorn return to the Gorn ship with Riker to confront the Gorn captain. This is same captain who tried to execute Ssyrrix (spelling?), and whom Riker deceives during the tractor beam "malfunction". This could've been a very tense, dramatic, character-driven scene. Instead, we get more ship battle logistics with Vale.

In general, the book seems to err on the side of space battles and violent solutions when something more…*Trekkian? could've happened?

At the very end, Riker's only misgivings about the destruction of the ecosculptor are only about him being sad that they couldn't get anything useful from it…*not that a millennia-old intelligence had been destroyed at his say-so. There were no ethical qualms, just practical and tactical losses. Something about that response felt wrong.

Overall, I felt that a lot of interesting ideas were brought up with worthwhile payoffs promised (such as Tuvok's experience with terraforming in the past) that failed to deliver, resolved with excess violence, in a few perfunctory pages, or "off-screen" (whatever the printed equivalent is of that). Characterization felt off, other things felt redundant and repetitive. Troi's empathy seemed overpowered. I had none of the sense of wonder and exploration of compelling ideas and new races that all previous Titan books have had. Definitely a bit a slog to get through.

On the positive side, there were some really fascinating concepts, such as the Gorn possibly having a religion grounded in an ancient terraforming device, the world of Hranrar, Gorn castes, more of Titan's diversity, the ecosculptor itself being sentient.
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