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Old October 25 2011, 06:41 AM   #22
ex Zane Gray
Re: Enterprise: The Romulan War: To Brave the Storm review thread

Well, I found a copy over the weekend and just finished this afternoon. As someone who's enjoyed the Enterprise relaunch so far, I have to say that I have really mixed feelings about it. I liked it because it does, mostly competently, wrap up the war storyline. I enjoyed the various turns and twists of the war, how it all plays out. But I'm disappointed because, having read all of the interviews about the relaunch series I can find online, it's clearly half the book that Mike Martin and former editor Margaret Clark wanted it to be. I guess that was at Simon & Schuster's direction (after Clark was let go, it seems as if the planned Romulan War books went from a trio of hefty trade paperbacks to this), but it still sucks as a reader who's been waiting so long for the next (and now apparently last) installment.

Whole years pass between chapters! Beneath the Raptor's Wing covered a single year of the war in 576 mass-market pages - this one covers 6 years in just 352 pages! So many of the storylines raised in the previous books are only lightly fleshed out here, and a number of direct plot threads from Raptor's Wing are never even followed up on. For example, at the end of the last book, T'Pau asks Trip for help uncovering those who executed the terrorist bombing on Vulcan. In the new book, it's as if that scene never happened! While the last book was expansive and comprehensive, this one reads like Cliff's Notes. So we essentially get a really elaborate build-up and only a hasty conclusion. What I dislike most is that so many of the character subplots never really pay off. Yes, Trip and T'Pol get their happily ever after, but we never see their reunion after the last battle! We never see Archer and Trip reunited, or their friendship rekindled. We never see the moment when Archer and Travis mend fences. We never get to see the aftermath of the war on Archer - the long-term impact of the personal toll it takes on him. We never get to see Trip reunited with his parents and family, or any indication that they ever learn he's still alive. We never get to hear any of the speeches at the Federation charter signing. Honestly, I'm really surprised that Mike didn't offer Enterprise fans a little more of an emotional payoff at the end, because as a reader, I feel like we've earned a few more of them. But we just never get that "poker game" scene (as in the last episode of The Next Generation) or scenes like those in the Enterprise episodes Home and Terra Prime, where all the characters are finally together again and get to acknowledge the journey they've taken together and the sacrifices they've made.

I appreciated the overall plot, but I just find this book unsatisfying. To Brave the Storm isn't bad per se. There's actually a lot that's good in it. But it still feels much less than what it should have been, based on the build-up and the sheer heft of the previous book. It feels like a novel cobbled together from the best bits of a much larger planned story arc, with a lot of important material hacked out because the new editors in charge at Simon & Schuster just wanted to wash their hands of the whole thing. It's a letdown for me as a reader. It's especially disappointing because I don't think we're going to get any more Enterprise books for a long time. The fact that the editors decided to end the entire Romulan War series when it had only just begun tells me they're not interested in more Enterprise books.

Sure wish I had deep pockets. If I did, I'd cut Mike a check and ask him to please write the rest of the Romulan War books he wanted to write, as he and Margaret planned them. I sure as heck wanted to read them.
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