I just finished Dawn
last weekend. Here's some random thoughts. I won't be able to cover everything (I mean, that would require more text than I can put in this message), but I selected a few topics I think are most worth discussing. (Do I need to warn for spoilers on page 11?)
First, I must admit something. I was quite critical of Rough Beasts of Empire
and where it took Sisko. After reading Night
though, I will happily eat those words.
In the end, I think all three books together make a fine trilogy as far as Sisko is concerned - they take him full circle in a way I hadn't expected but ultimately appreciated very much. We left Sisko as an "Emissary on hiatus" changing diapers at the end of the last Relaunch book, and I do think that his position needed to be addressed. If the Ascendant arc couldn't do that, then ultimately these three books did so quite nicely. The Prophets' warning was always hanging over his marriage like a sword of Damocles, which has now been dealt with. I much appreciate that it wasn't just a matter of Sisko finding his way back, but that Kasidy's own experiences in these books allowed her to meet him halfway as it were. She's always been depicted as being very uncomfortable with Sisko's role as Emissary, but her own experiences with the Prophets I think allowed her to develop a better understanding of what had motivated Ben. In the end, it felt not like Sisko coming back to Kasidy, both both of them moving towards eachother again. I very much appreciated that - as I've said before, hope for better times is one of the things Star Trek has always been about for me, and that was definately present here.
Now, my favorite book by David George is most certainly Serpents Among the Ruins
. I really like the way he writes the Romulans, and wow, that's what we got here. I'll start by saying I really enjoyed T'Jul. Both she and Kamemor were depicted as - and I'm struggling to find the right word here - honest
Romulans. In that I'm saying that they're not written as adversaries to "our heroes". Even though T'Jul ultimately found herself first deceiving and later fighting Starfleet, she didn't do so because she hated the Federation, but just because she found herself on the wrong side of an escalating conflict. Likewise, I found Kamemor so likeable not because she was sympathetic to the Federation, but rather because she was motivated by her service to the Star Empire. She reminded me a lot of what I like in Nan Bacco - here we have a woman who's not affraid of having personal risks or making impopular decisions for the cause she believes in, consequences be damned. The final confrontation between the two of them was golden, I almost applauded! All in all, this is the way I way the Typhon Pact situation to be handeld: not with open war, but with an honest exploration of the new political status quo - between the various powers, but also within
each of them. I mentioned in my review of RBoE that I'd like to see the UFP bury the hatchet with the Romulans, as I think it's past time where they learned to understand each other and move forward. We now seem to have a chance at that, and I'm very happy with it. So whoever gets to work the "Hobus incident" into our current storyline once we reach it - I hope they find a way to salvage what was started here.
The second thing I want to mention is the loss of DS9. I've always liked its design, but that said - if the station had to go, then I think it went in the best way possible: serving the story. We've lost so many Enterprises over the years that ultimately, there would come a time for the station to go, and in the end - it's just a bit of metal that can and will be replaced. Likewise, I'm not that worried about the closing of the wormhole and Kira going with it. It's happened before (after "Tears of the Prophets"), and if Sisko can come back via Prophet-back-door, then so can Kira. We've got plenty of great characters left that will carry the story forward in the mean time (kudos for bringing back Nog and O'Brien!). One slight problem I did have, was how to marry the cover art to the description of the new DS9 given in the last chapter. I also have to try and find the description for the Tzenkethi ship again, because I had trouble picturing that too. Perhaps someone can enlighten me...?
I'll close with a few notes on Prynn and Vaughn. I think we've likely seen the last of Vaughn now, and though I liked his character, I'm OK with his departure. The concept of ending the life of another in this manner, and the dilemma it put Prynn in, is a touchy subject that I applaud both writer and editor for covering, because it's one of those things that a lot of people see as controversial in our time. It was handled with great care and respect for the situation of the next-of-kin, which I appreciated a lot.
So, concluding it all is another vote of "Outstanding" from me. I wasn't that thrilled with Destiny and some of the follow-up TP novels, but if this is the new direction we're going in for the DS9, all I can say is: when is the next one due?
P.S. For a book this good, I'll even type all of this twice. Take about bad timing for suddenly being logged out of the board...