Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread
I finished the book yesterday, and I've been stewing on my reaction since then. In a vacuum, it's definitely a good read, but it comes off as a bit...frustrating with some of it's contributions to many ongoing narratives.
The look into Spock's ongoing unification movement provided a nice framing for everything going on in the Empire right at this point. It was definitely interesting to see Spock and his movement get played as part of Tal'Aura's plan to bring down Donatra. Also, as positioning, bringing the Movement out of the shadows and underground into the "mainstream" (for lack of a better word) works pretty well - if nothing else, it at least sets up the foundation for why, say, the Romulan government would listing to Spock when the ST09 supernova comes.
All that said...isn't the Romulan storyline just a Nemesis reset? Don't get me wrong, the machinations that go into it are interesting to read, but the end game is what? Reconstituted Senate with all the political structure introduced in Trek Lore, reintegration of the empire (getting rid of the IRS so quickly was one of the bigger surprises in this book), anyone associated with Shinzon and events immediately following are gone...the Empire itself is right back to where it was before Shinzon. OK, sure, as part of the TP it's by definition different, but after all the time spent setting up the post-Nemesis empire(s), it just seems to wipe the slate clean and make the future narratives strictly Typhon Pact related. Not that it's a bad thing, but the payoff isn't here in this book - it's going to come whenever we revisit Romulus next.
Argh. Sigh. Ugh.
Before I get going here, I should point out my own biases - I've been excited about the Typhon Pact books for 2 reasons - 1) the concept and post-Destiny cleanup seemed awesome and 2) we finally get some more DS9-related goodness (or what I hoped to be goodness). I'm a total unapologetic DS9R cheerleader.
The Sisko stuff is hugely frustrating. I can sort of see the argument that all this crap hitting the fan can destroy a man's soul causing him to take drastic actions. Unfortunately, we don't get to SEE the crap hit the fan over the previous 5 years. We don't get to see the tension with Kasidy develop organically. Instead, we're forced into a situation where probably the consummate family man in Trek history (with O'Brien being in that discussion as well) abandons his family because of...what? I can't see how a man who had all sorts of crap thrown at him in his lifetime suddenly doesn't realize that sometimes bad things happen, everyone dies eventually, and that it's all completely beyond his control. It's like he came down with a massive "the universe revolves around me" complex - our friends on Bajor died? It's because I married Kassidy. The Borg invaded? Because I married Kassidy. Vaughn is brain dead? Kassidy again. My dad died? Yep, you guessed it, because I made the decision to love and commit my life to Kassidy and start a family. What sort of God-complex did he come down with during his time with the Prophets? Plus, with the line of "the Prophets have left him after his use was up," he comes off as nothing more than an addict - trying to get that next hit, wondering where the high is and why it isn't as high, and despondent with the withdrawal.
The flip side to this is that it's possible to see someone hitting this rock bottom and making drastic decisions based on any rationalization he can come up with. But we don't get to see that - we're treated to what looks like a complete character break rather than normal character development. To be fair, this isn't the fault of the book or of the author - it's the result of the DS9 Great Leap forward. There's no context to his actions - it's just a jarring jump.
I hate to say it (because it would serious bum me out if it were true), the DS9R threads in the Typhon Pact books almost seem to be the epilogue to the DS9 story. It just comes off as cleaning up/cutting various hanging threads, reposition all the characters to different points in their lives, completely remove/separate everyone, and end the ongoing stories. 2 starships with new crews, practically a 3rd new crew on the station, plus all the Bajoran religious/political happenings (along with whatever ends up going on with Shar in Paths of Disharmony)...it just seems too much for a DS9 branded series to keep up with and do justice to. Instead, spread everyone out, look in on them/have them show up randomly from time to time in other novels, but the "Season 8" style of the relaunch (Avatar through Unity) seems to be a thing of the past. From a publication/editorial perspective this makes some level of sense - remove one ongoing series from the rotation, instead work it into the main narrative and just rebrand everything under the "Star Trek" moniker.
I really hope I'm wrong about this, but after ZSG and RBoE, I can't shake the feeling that the DS9 relaunch (such that it was) is over.
Anywho, enough of my rambling - RBoE is a good read in a vacuum, a frustrating read for the ongoing story threads, but mostly comes off as repositioning and setup for whatever comes "next."