In a word- wow. Though I’m a huge Trek fan, I’ve never cared much for the Mirror Universe, seeing it largely as a means of seeing dark Trek antiheros. “Rise Like Lions” completely changed my perception of what that universe represents and is capable of. Here we see dark reflections who are dark by nurture rather than nature fighting, not because they are violent psychopaths, but because it is the world they must survive in. What is more, they are trying to change this world and themselves to reflect the ideals of the Trek philosophy that attracts its fans.
Rise Like Lions is rich with cameos from the various series and books but doesn’t become drivel fanboy literature that makes up for poor story with a plethora of familiar faces like books with lots of name dropping often do. What is more, with these many characters the reader doesn’t just see heroes and villains acting contrary to how he knows them but finds an inspirational tale with rich character development full, tyrants being overthrown, and individuals committing to paradigm shifts.
Of course, being a David Mack novel, there is a lot of action. The action scenes are fast paced, compelling, and are punctuated with nice twists which keep the pace of the book moving and make it difficult to put down.
An interesting contrast can be seen between “Rise Like Lions” and “Romulan War: To Brave the Storm.” Both are war stories with a lot of time to cover and filled with stories in need of wrap ups. Whereas Romulan War suffered do to this with missing action scenes and lost opportunities to provide meaningful character development, Rise Like Lions was satisfying, rich in story, and didn’t leave me feeling like I missed out on any of the significant events in the time it covered. To that end, Rise like Lions has shown me how bad Romulan War was while my recent dissatisfaction with Romulan War caused me to be that much more satisfied with Rise Like Lions.
I recommend this book to Trek fans without any reservations. Even if you haven’t kept up with Mirror universe books or DS9 episodes, you can jump in, quickly get up to speed, and enjoy the journey.