Just finished... and wow! I voted "outstanding" (and, incidentally, was the 47
th vote; do I get a prize for that?
Spoilers ahead. (And long post too. Sorry 'bout that. I get excited. You understand, I'm sure.)
I liked a lot of things about this book. This year, starting in February, I read (and reread in some cases) all of the DS9-R books up through the Worlds of DS9
trilogy (wasn't interested in the MU stuff) and then reread PoD
and the Sisko sections of RBoE
. Very glad I took the time to reread the other TYP novels, because it was nice to see DRGIII weave all of them together so well in the first half of the book. ZSG
worked very well as an episodic DS9 novel, but it was great to see both the build-up and the fall-out from Bashir and Sarina's mission. And this novel totally made RBoE
worth it. Sisko's actions were very believable in both books. As others have said, Sisko does have a history of running away. And in this case, he thinks he has objective evidence that forces him to do so.
how many threads DRGIII had going on at once. It did mean that there was a lot
of exposition for the first half of the book. But that was okay. It was good to get reacquainted with everyone. And then the summit happened and the Bajoran Sector was opened up and that was awesome and we were moving again. Political manipulations and machinations aside, it was so fitting to have DS9 be the crossroads of the galaxy again. Everybody comes to Quark's, literally. (Well, except for the Kinshaya, Tzenkethi and the Tholians.)
Surprisingly (to me), I enjoyed the Prynn storyline. I actually found her scene with Vedek Kira, where she asks for there to be a religious service of some sort for Vaughn to be very touching, possibly one of the most moving things I've read in a Trek novel actually. Not sure why it had the effect on me, but it felt very real and heartfelt. At one point, I was actually expecting Vaughn's death scene to be the ending of this book, but obviously, that did not happen. I'm betting on that scene being the epilogue to Raise the Dawn
Really liked the fleshing out of the new Sisko, and the evolution of his relationship with Rebecca and Kasidy. Wish we had seen Jake a bit. Loved Rebecca playing with starship models, and was glad to see Sisko getting friendly with Rogeiro (who has an awesome first name, by the way).
Was glad to see Picard again and to see that Geordi had been promoted, sorta. Wish Geordi had remained a captain, but it's not a big deal. It was nice to see the Enterprise
again without a huge focus on T'Ryssa Chen. I love her, think she's a great character, but I feel like we've gotten a lot of her, at the expense of characters like Elfiki (who could just be another dedicated Starfleet officer for all we've seen of her) and Hegol Den (who sounds very interesting). I do wish we could have seen more of the TNG crew interacting with everyone else, but there is still RtD
, and then a bunch of stuff this summer of course.
I liked the new DS9 crew, especially the interactions between Ro, Prynn and Chao. Cenn I find less interesting, and not as fleshed out. Blackmer I'm still on the fence about. I think I would have found him more interesting if
As it is now, he still clearly has some issues somewhere (or at least an interesting story), but it wasn't quite there for me.
The ending was great. Can't wait to see how it is resolved.
Other stuff I liked:
-the depiction of dissent within the Typhon Pact
-Cardassian military officers on DS9 and the Enterprise
; totally awesome
-Ferengi Treasury Guard officers in the same capacities, though we don't actually see them
-Martok's entrance to the summit
-(almost?) no follow-up on the dreadful Seize the Fire
in the GQ, on general principle
-DRGIII faking us out, making us think Picard has become captain of a freighter full time
-foreshadowing very explicitly the end of the book half way through
-the Benny Russell side trip (though in a good
Stuff I was less keen on (though not necessarily disliked) included:
-the Trok storyline. It honestly just felt like we were always
coming back to this. I liked how it was executed, it kept being interesting, but it just felt like it took forever. I do hope the Laas story gets resolved next book, and that Odo shows up.
-Sela. This was hands-down my least favorite aspect of the book. Tomalak was interesting, at least, because he was portrayed as dim (although tbh, I'm not quite sure where this came from; otoh, it's been a while since I saw the TNG ep's with him), but Sela was just "Destroy the Federation for Romulus, destroy for Federation for Romulus! Destroy the Federation! For Romulus!". Okay, maybe I exaggerate just a little, but, as others have said, she seemed one-dimensional and uninteresting. She was alright, not great, in Indistinguishable from Magic
, but honestly, I would have been okay if the novelverse had had her assassinated during the Dominion War, or by Shinzon or something. (Hell, coulda been a Denise Crosby cameo in NEM
-Sarina, particularly as a security officer. I'm sure this is building to something in the next book, but I find it odd that someone with her skills would be *just* another security officer and no one would bat an eye. I didn't dislike this so much as I wish there was more explanation and more Bashir featured. Somehow. That said, you can't have everything.
-Vedek Kira has not been sold to me yet. I like the idea, but I really think we need to see what happened with the Ascendents and stuff to understand it fully. I'm happy to go along with it, I'm just not sold.
But that's basically it. I loved the scope of this novel. And it felt different. It felt leaner, the way I feel like a Star Trek TV series would feel if it were produced today. But it didn't feel like it was dark in a pandering sort of way. As the Preacher put it, "And in Their words, Hope and Despair walk arm in arm." Very well balanced.
Sort of nitpicky, but regarding an important detail: in RBoE
, Sisko is chosen to go on point with the Romulans because of the Vreenak Incident and his work with them during the Dominion War, but also because he was a Lieutenant JG on the Federation embassy on Romulus for a while. And that part of his service record is kind of played up a bit to justify his taking that assignment.
But Sisko being a LTJG on Romulus seems to be a problem, because the Romulans were in isolation until 2364. Maybe it's just the way I read the dialogue in "The Neutral Zone," but it sounds like the Romulans were completely isolated, as in, no diplomatic ties, which would make a Federation embassy hard to swing. (I know Garak is firmly established as having been a gardener on Romulus during their isolation, but I could see the Romulans having relations with the Cardassian Union while still giving the UFP a cold shoulder.) In theory, Sisko could have been at the embassy as soon as it (presumably) opened in 2364, but, from what I can gather from his Memory Beta page, he was already a LT in 2360 (Catalyst of Sorrows
), and going to Romulus in 2364 would interrupt his XO time on the Okinawa
I suppose it's possible he did a few months on Romulus as a LTCDR between the Okinawa
and the Saratoga
, but he definitely would not have been a "junior officer" the way it's described in RBoE
Has anyone else noticed this and thought of a way to explain it? Maybe I'm overreading the isolation thing, but it seems pretty stark in "TNZ"...
EDIT: Could Sisko's time as a "junior officer at the Federation embassy on Romulus" be a euphemism for the
he did in Catalyst of Sorrows
? I've never read it, so pardon me if it's a dumb question.