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Old March 3 2012, 01:32 PM   #3
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Re: Vanguard: Harbinger by David Mack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

I haven't reread it since I originally read it in 2005, so I think the wisest move for me is to just post my review from way back then (I gave it 82 %, which translates to an above average in this poll):

Me in 2005 wrote:
A good pilot for the Vanguard series.

It produces some interesting starting points for story arcs and has mostly interesting characters. There are two characters which don’t really work for me, though. These two people are Quinn and Pennington, both don’t really make me want to read more about them separately, I think a mix of both in one character would have worked better for me. My problem with Quinn is that he’s somehow hard to grasp, he isn’t really believable, be it as a "bad guy", "good guy" or "lonesome Wolfe" and I don’t think he was intended to be so faceless. Pennington on the other side is somewhat inconsistent, on the one hand he seems to be really hit by the loss of his lover, on the other hand he just deposes everything belonging to her, as if he was just making his spring clean up. Maybe they’ll work better for me now that they are teaming up.

One other problem of the novel is that it’s lacking a real stand alone part. Granted you could count the destruction of the Bombay and the post and the following inquiries as a stand alone part, but I see it more as a part of a larger story arc.

One thing I found intriguing to see was that here the Starfleet personnel (at least not all of them) isn’t really the good force, on closer look you see there isn’t really anyone important with a white vest on Vanguard. I like that, I never was a fan of the perfect utopia Roddenberry tried to create. I like my characters with flaws and dark sides, and T’Prynn seems to be a character with great potential. And I don’t see any problems with Vaughn and T’Prynn coming so close that he names his daughter after her, he isn’t such a perfect person either. If you think about it, all T’Prynn did was respecting the mantra "The good of the many outweighs the good of the few". She destroyed the life of one person (Pennington) and blackmailed another (Quinn) in favor of the greater good, or at least what she perceives as the greater good.

Overall a good start, but in the end the following books will show how good it really was. If the started story arcs aren’t adequately followed up on, this book will be hurt, too, because it is full of potential stories, but with very few stuff which can life on it’s own.
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