There are a few novels I've read over the years that do a better job of telling the story than the movie, and a lot of the time it's simply for setting the motivations for important characters.
Normally I would agree with you, but there's something about Trek that makes it an odd duckling in this regard. I'm sure most would disagree, but I think the TMP, TWOK, TFF, GEN, and NEM novelizations are all better than their respective films. And TSFS and TUC I'd put at a wash.
I never read the ST09 novel. Interestingly enough, I haven't read FC or INS either and I have both sitting on a shelf. In fact, they've hardly ever been touched.
GEN was the first of the novels I'd ever read. Actually, I got the audio book (with the awesome Johnny De Lancie doing the narration) as a gift before I went to see the film. Eddie
is right; Soran is so much stronger in the novel. And really, I think experiencing it first made be hate the film less as I tend to think of it way more fondly than most Trek fans.
While we're on the subject, did I read somewhere Greg
is doing the novel for STID?