There was a much appreciated, understated but significant sense of discovery and scientific wonder to the plot (as there was in Unworthy
). It's great to see the series - and Beyer - making use of the Delta Quadrant as a place of potential wonder as well as danger, and creating some truly interesting life-forms. This is just what those parts of space near to former Borg territory should be - strange, disturbing, lawless, dangerous places without all the neat national borders and treaties and trade consortiums that we see elsewhere. First with the Indign in the last book and now with the highly "damaged" Children and their mother, there's been a focus on what the setting of Borg space has to offer the series. With the Indign and the Children, we've had sensible but surprising and fascinating ideas on the effects the Borg presence had on those beings and life-forms who lived alongside them. I'm enjoying that dynamic. It combines a Titan
-esque sense of wonder and discovery with a darker undercurrent that makes these Voyager
books different enough not to seem like they're covering the same ground.
Character stuff is good, too. I always liked B'Elanna and Tom as a couple, but I was a little concerned that once they "settled down" it would become boring. It hasn't so far, and Beyer makes their domestic relationship seem convincing. As I suppose was inevitable given that (as we all know) Beyer is a recent parent, the focus on parenthood and its joys/challenges is also convincing, and given what the subject matter means to me, I'm gratified that Trek lit acknowledges its importance so readily.
Nice little subplot with Drafar, too. I enjoyed seeing B'Elanna challenge his prejudice in a reasoned and understanding (yet effective) manner; it shows a maturity that is particularly pleasing when considered that her character arc in these books has seen her embrace her Klingon self more readily. That she can balance her "born-again Klingon" traits with the ability not to lash out aggressively when offended, and instead constructively try to break through the prejudice, is a good sign. I wish I could claim similar maturity for myself, but I'm not there yet, sadly.
Cambridge continues to delight (he's one of the better new characters of late), and the relationship with Seven is getting very interesting. It's been well handled so far - "Seven in a romantic relationship" must be a difficult concept to write around, but so far I'm liking this. The continued growth of Seven as a character has also been a strength of the relaunch-relaunch (if you'll excuse that term).
new characters were strong enough to hold my attention - O'Donnell in particular was a good addition, and his professional relationship with Fife is one I hope we see more of. The dynamic was an interesting one, unlike any other command staff I remember, and made sense given the ship's specialized nature. There's potential for more here. Captain Farkas was also handled well, and I hope to see more of her too.
I liked the fact that Kressari colour-changing eyes were included. I don't quite know why, save that those little bits of consistancy with other novels always please me.
I was disappointed that we didn't learn more about Sharak (Mayweather, on Enterprise! Temba, Sharak!), but his one scene of importance was well crafted. His position on the issue in question was very Tamarian, but explored in a manner that kept him an individual not simply a mouthpiece for the culture. I had a pleasant low-key epiphany when Dathon was mentioned, and I liked how Sharak's stance on Lasren's risk essentially related back to that without screaming "THINK ABOUT DARMOK!!" at us.
The Children of the Storm themselves were also interesting. As someone who experiences, shall we say, very strong emotional surges
, I found their simplicity and power of emotion sadly endearing, and I liked the whole theme of life, regeneration and recreation that connected them, the Demeter
crew, and the whole post-Borg timeframe. Quite fulfilling, and it contributes to what I've mentioned before as one of my favourite things about Trek lit- the way it keeps coming up with new ways to explore issues of self and rebirth, discovery and family. The whole line from Greater Than the Sum
to these post-Destiny
stories has been very mature writing in that regard, if I may say so. It's dealt with some very complex ideas that I welcome exploration of and it keeps finding new and inteligent ways to wrestle with them.