I'm sort of struggling with my take on this one. During an earlier attempt I ended up enumerating the aspects I didn't like, and I still can't really find a way around that, even though overall
I quite enjoyed the novel and ended up voting Above Average
Here's what I didn't like:
- Connecting Soong to Exo III sort of cheapens Soong's achievement in my book. Now, I realize this is sort of silly, because of course it makes sense that Soong's genius would not have developed in a vacuum. However it hit a sore point with me at the time because I felt like I could see a pattern of the franchise undermining its own legends by over-explaining them through continuity acrobatics. The major, most grating example of this for me is the Temporal Cold War on Enterprise during which Archer gets tipped off to the later creation of the Federation, thus emotionally cheapening the entire premise of the franchise of humanity managing to better itself under its own power. It's also just a big small universe syndrome thing ...
- I have a thing for good locked room mysteries and Coil kind of tickles that in the beginning, but then unceremoniously sweeps it under the rug ...
- Parts of it just felt a bit shaky and not very fleshed out, in particular some of the actiony bits were quite rough (e.g. that hand-to-hand combat scene with Riker) and the hideout towards the end.
Here's what I did like, though:
- Well, I like Data . In particular, I like speculating about how Data functions and thinks, and while Coil doesn't go overly into detail on that either, it did generally feel more convincing than most other novel's treatment of his android-ness. The way Data manages his background processes, for example, felt well-done.
- One of those actiony parts was magnificent, though: The space battle featuring Data's and Rhea's EVA is one for the ages.
- I overall liked the prose. Lots of good scene-setting and atmosphere, especially on Galor IV and Exo III.
Overall, it's not a perfect book, but it mostly
lives up to its newfound status in the ongoing narrative.