I got a shiny new tablet for Christmas so I finally have a decent way to read e-books. This is one of the first things I picked up. I thought it was pretty great.
I agree with people who think it feels like an episode of the series. The novels, while often really entertaining, seldom have that je ne sais quoi
that the shows do. I think this comes really close to capturing that. But it's not really the length. At least not solely. The best episodes of Star Trek are tight and focused, like this story. The emotional punch at the end is effective because we haven't spent too much time bullshitting around and diluting it.
That said, the Kinshaya story is the clear standout here. It was really cool to go behind the "Iron Curtain" and get a look at what the Pact is doing to the civilizations involved. It didn't hurt that Trys was in there heavily. She's one of the very few novel-only characters that seems to pop enough on a regular basis that I don't get her confused with the rest of them.
The Talarian stuff was okay, but I found it less compelling. I only really have two gripes with it. First, when the extent of the Tzenkethi plot is revealed at the end, I kind of rolled my eyes. It's an example of a ridiculous plot like the Joker's plan in The Dark Knight
: actually pretty enjoyable until you think about it too hard and it's contingent on way too many events happening in precise and unlikely ways.
My second beef is with Picard's characterization. I get that he's a family man now and Beverly's extraordinarily important to him. But the story tries to score points on Picard's willingness to be reckless on that count, even though I don't buy that he'd be that blinded by familial attachment. In many ways, Picard's the ethical centre of the whole franchise. If you can count on anyone to be dispassionate in the face of doing the right thing, Jean-Luc's your guy. I guess you could believably take him to a place where he'd make the choice he makes here, but I'm not sure a story this compact is the place to do it.
Anyway, that's a little bit of bitching but I'm a Trekkie, it's how I roll. For the most part, even though it's short, TSW
was a great read and well worth the few bucks I shelled out for it. Thanks Christopher