I wrapped up Rough Beasts of Empire
this morning before work. You know how annoying it is to be 30 or so pages from the end of a book and be simply unable to keep your eyes open long enough to finish?!?! Yeah, you guys are all readers. You've been there.
So, I have a few things to say about this one. I'm going to spoiler tag it though, because even though this has been out over a year now, I know some of you in this thread are just now getting caught up like me. But first, most of what bothered me about this book was a result of the decision to jump the DS9 characters forward in the continuity. And of course, that's not just an issue here, but has been an element of all the Typhon Pact books. However, it was in this story that the frustration really began to bother me and pull me out of enjoying the book. All the painful and weighty events that have brought these characters that I love to the point of their actions in this book are empty holes in my brain. I really could have wished that one or more of the Myriad and Mirror trades could have instead been devoted to bringing DS9 forward in a less jarring way. Knowing intellectually that these characters have had all this time to change and grow (or regress in some cases) doesn't help me accept it on an emotional level. There's nothing that happens that couldn't have logically grown from each character's arc where it left off, but being dropped into it with only the occasional oblique reference to how they got there - again, "jarring" is the most apt descriptor I can come up with.
So, more specifically, where Sisko has ended up has depressed me. I have real hopes that he can and will be brought back around to a place of peace with Bajor and the Prophets, as well as reconciliation with Kasidy where he belongs. The Sisko is of Bajor. And just because the Prophets said he would know only sorrow if he married Kasidy, it doesn't naturally follow that marrying her would CAUSE the sorrow. Nor does it follow that now that he HAS married her, that leaving her would somehow reverse the result. I wish Vedek(!) Kira had smacked him upside the head with some sense!
As for the Spock story line - *sigh* I will never forgive "Unification" for creating this mess. Really, I wish someone would pull him back from the whole "reunification" objective. It's like saying Black Americans should return to their African heritage, only multiply that times 100 or so. Sure, there are some who are drawn to ancestral ties and would embrace them - and that's a worthwhile pursuit. But Spock's position always seemed to be an attempt to "heal" or "correct" the Romulan division and bring them back to a Vulcan mindset, which just seems to fly in the face of IDIC. HOWEVER, I will quickly say that most of that is handled fairly well in this book, and overall I thought the author did well with what he had to work with in backstory.
Finally, the remainder of the political intrigue was quite engaging. I LOVED the additional detail on the Tzenkethi - I thought they were presented as very unique without being incomprehensible. This was a refreshing contrast to how I felt reading Seize the Fire and learning about the Gorn - ugh, did we really need another race of mostly stupid thugs?
You are drifting off topic...
Ahem. Anyway, I liked the Romulan politics. I liked having Sisko go talk to Donatra. I didn't like how easily she was lured to her demise. I didn't need to see Sela ever again - I could have wished her role to be played by another character. But for the most part, the Romulan storyline worked for me.
I know that was mostly negative, and I'm truly sorry for that. It's really not about the writing, or even so much about the specific story. My dissatisfaction is primarily an outgrowth of my frustration over that huge gap in time. I have a hard enough time keeping up with the chronology and all these characters and events without being intentionally left in the dark.
C'est la vie. On to Paths of Disharmony