Just finished The Eternal Tide
. This was another good Kirsten Beyer outing, but is definitely the weakest of her VOY Relaunch books. I voted "Average".
She still nails the characterizations, which I greatly enjoyed. Beyer has done an excellent job of making me care about characters that I really actually didn't care much about in the previous books or even the television show. She's made them "real" people and not the cardboard cutouts they were before.
That's the only thing that I actually enjoyed about this book though. There were several things that made me disappointed too:
- As others have said, too much of this book feels like a reset. The destruction of most of the fleet was actually completely unneccessary. I, for one, really
enjoyed the characters on the other ships and the intra-fleet interactions. Yes, the Voyager characters tended to take the spotlight (rightly so), but I enjoyed the "expanded" universe. I know that there are still a few other ships still out there, but "realistically", the even the characters that were saved probably won't be returning.
- Eden's story wrapped up way
to quickly. She was obviously set up to be a mystery since she was first introduced. I liked the fact that it was happening slowly, over time. But, suddenly, in this book it goes from still being a big mystery to being totally laid out. Plus, not only is it no longer a mystery, but it also means that she's actually a super being. Too quick. Too convenient.
- I agree that it would seem very
unrealistic if Janeway became commander of the "fleet". She was assimilated. She died. SHE CAME BACK TO LIFE. I don't care how strong a personality you are. If that actually happened to anyone, there would be a lot of mental, emotional and spiritual issues that person would have to deal with. I know she's not actually been declared the commander of the fleet yet, but the mere possibility of it seems unrealistic to me. If I had a say in Starfleet, I'd insist she needed thorough evaluation and counseling before ever being put into a position of major authority again. I know Picard was allowed to remain captain of the flagship, but he obviously had his issues and he didn't die and come back to life.
- Lastly, the simple fact that Janeway came back to life. It was obviously set up in Before Dishonor
that the Q would be involved with her inevitable return. But, I hoped beyond hope that she wouldn't be back, at least not in this continuity. Death should be death. Death is a horrible thing. It is a sad thing. It is something that those left alive have to deal with. All this is because it is permanent
. Whether you believe in an afterlife or not, death is the end of your presence in this
life. The idea of making death a temporary thing actually cheapens everything that Janeway did, even if everyone at the time assumed it was permanent. I understand completely that she is the lead character of the series and people picking up the books because it says "Voyager" on the cover would expect to see Janeway in the book. But, despite the fantastic circumstances in the Trek universe and the unrealism that pervades that universe—things happen that can never happen in the real world—I still consider there a line of realism that should not be crossed in a series that is meant to be taken as realistic. That line was crossed with the return of Janeway. I'm not sure I'm explaining myself correctly here, but I can't think of another way to say it. Also, I have the same problem with the return of Spock in Star Trek III
. I'm glad Spock is back—he's one of my favorite Trek characters—but it cheapened his death in Star Trek II
and it totally destroyed the illusion of realism for me. Not sure how else to put it.
Don't get me wrong. I love what Beyer has done with the Voyager
relaunch. She is the right author for this series. She has taken the story and these characters to unparalleled heights. And in many ways, I did enjoy this book. But I just couldn't get past these points and it brought this book down in my mind.
I have no idea how much was Beyer's decision and how much she was directed to included in the story and I'm not sure her previous responses to that question in this thread really answered that question. And, probably, it's none of my business. But, it did make this book the weakest of her outings for me.
However, I do look forward to the next installment (if there is one—as others have said, this did seem kind of like a finale to me).