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Old September 25 2012, 07:15 PM   #420
CNash
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Re: VOY: The Eternal Tide by Kirsten Beyer Review Thread (Spoilers!)

I very much enjoyed The Eternal Tide. It brought a decent resolution to Afsarah Eden's story arc - although I would've liked to see her survive, so that she could have interacted with Janeway a little more - and it fleshed out the Q Continuum just a little bit more, following on from Before Dishonor and incorporating points from Q & A. Junior and Amanda's existential arguments reminded me a lot of Christopher's DTI novels.

What can I say about Kathryn Janeway's resurrection that hasn't already been said? Well, for one thing I don't think that it's an indication that Pocket or the authors and editors have "lost their nerve" in not letting a popular character stay dead. Stranger things have happened in the world of Star Trek, and The Eternal Tide is very much a "Q" novel - so, combined with the obvious set-up in the final chapter of Before Dishonor, it's believable that the Q would have a hand in her return. I did like that the Q can't (or won't) bring a mortal back from the dead, but can still loophole their way into telling the deceased how to do it for themselves!

Kes's appearance was very welcome, as was the dialogue which indicated that the Kes who appeared in Fury was not really Kes, but some breakaway aspect of her personality. I did get confused over mentions of her son Kol, and injuries Janeway sustained that she must never know about - but I've not read String Theory, so that's entirely my fault.

Finally, although I enjoyed the novel, it wasn't perfect. It feels silly to make accusations of deus ex machina, considering that the Q are involved and are using their powers left and right to influence events in the story. Miral's "Klingon Messiah" status is dealt with - understandable, as that plotline didn't seem like it really fit with Voyager's new dynamic with the Delta Quadrant fleet. Chakotay makes a heroic sacrifice, but gets better! And Voyager can now perform a saucer separation - now, forgive me if I'm misremembering, but has this been previously established? It seemed like it came out of the blue.

Can the Delta Quadrant fleet survive with just four ships? Starfleet must be seething; four top-of-the-line slipstream-enabled vessels, lost in circumstances mostly unrelated to the fleet's mission! And speaking of the fleet's mission - while it was good to see Riley Frazier again and get some follow-up on the events of Unity, it seemed like it was part of a different story; once Omega and Eden's past are revealed, they (and the Tarkons) are almost forgotten about.

And Amanda Rogers. Where did she go? She "poured herself into" Omega and was erased from existence... convenient, as this leaves Junior as the only remaining "child of the Q", and so the only person able to make the noble sacrifice with Eden. It could be (uncharitably, in my view) suggested that Amanda was included in this novel because her existence and backstory threw a spanner into the works of the narrative. And with Chakotay's return, it seemed logical that Amanda would return too.

Overall, I found The Eternal Tide a great "season finale" for the Voyager fleet. The status quo is irrevocably changed due to the return of Janeway and the loss of the fleet, and it remains to be seen whether their mission can continue. Finally, I was hoping for some follow-up to the plotline with Meegan and the artifacts from Unworthy - perhaps next time!
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