My Complete Review:
On the whole, I have to say this is a true Trek tale and what the franchise is all about- exploring the unknown and causing you to think about your view of the universe. That said, to me the story is divided up into three parts: establishing the mystery around the NX-07 Intrepid, the Rasmussen/Bok plot, and solving the mystery of the phenomenon behind what happened to the Intrepid. Of these, I didn’t care too much about the R/B story but loved the other two. I feel the author has a pleasant writing style and weaved a good story but I did feel there were some needless conversations that went nowhere, and there were times I felt the story jumped around too much during key happenings that should had been developed more instead of cutting to a different scene so quickly. I also felt there were too many cameos to the point it seemed that the author just wanted to fit in all his favored characters and couldn’t limit his choices; that said, at first this annoyed me but later I appreciated the inclusion as it brought back so many memories from the shows.
The first part of the book set the stage for a great mystery and I enjoyed seeing the 24th century characters on the NX set as I did reading Destiny. It reminded me of Clive Cussler’s Dirk Pitt novels when the tale of how a ship was lost is imagined and then the wreck is investigated later when the wreckage is key to the modern plot.
The second part of the book involving Rasmussen and Bok just plain bored me. Not that this part wasn’t well written or the characters not realistic but it just didn’t fit in with the first and third part of the book and the plot they were involved in wasn’t interesting nor were the antagonists. I only stuck through at this point because the mystery at the beginning was so well laid that I wanted to know what happened.
Indistinguishable from Magic REALLY soared in the third part involving Sela and the pretzel-pocket universe. This was the best Sela story I have read and I felt McIntee did an excellent job not only making her a realistic Romulan antagonist but also exploring the inner conflict she must have being a “half-breed” in a xenophobic society. The scientific concepts central to the plot, the living planet and spaceships as well as the torusal universe were the type of concepts Trek is all about and were quite “fascinating”. They were the type of elements you typically only find in the Titan series anymore. I enjoyed trying to grasp and explore these concepts even when I put the book down. The moss-skeleton creatures were an equally interesting idea and were a creative spin on classical zombies.
Though the middle of the book was a chore to get through to me, unraveling the mystery was so incredibly done that I was glad I read it. I went from intrigued, to bored, to excited. I recommend the book despite the parts I didn’t like. I see much potential for McIntee as a Trek writer and look forward to his future works.