Lame as I know this sounds, I really have been looking forward to reading this book for four months, as it has sat on my Kindle. I have a long story about moving to a new school and teaching a new grade which is interesting to no one but me, but I'm so happy I finally got to this.
And: I avoided this thread completely. I had no idea who would live or die. At various moments, I was positive Q (deLancie) would die, or Chakotay would, or Eden would, or wouldn't, or then would... or Janeway would die again... I was guessing until the end. Which was *awesome*, and earned the ending for me bigtime. My huge complaint with resurrection is that it erodes the meaning of death, but right after Janeway is brought back to life, I'm still thinking "this could be the end of Chakotay?! I just started liking him!!" Kirsten is doing her job, she's earning her stories. And her middle name remains accurate, for my money
It's hard for me to talk about the large-scale stuff on this very much, especially given how much time I spent trying to convince people that 1) Janeway's death was a great thing for this story, and 2) that she'd be back someday and everyone should just calm down about it. I still stand by both, and though I do think I would've liked one more book between this and Children with slightly lower stakes and a chance to explore Eden's character one last time, I think the last three books proved me right on 1, and this does 2 as gracefully as anyone ever could. For any other discussion of the meta-conversation going on here, I refer back to Nasat's brilliant post earlier.
For me, there are two things that keep Voyager at the top of my "must read" pile. (I swear, it really has been at the top for four months.) First are the moments of character interaction that I never see coming. She surprises me every book with scenes that get to me in unexpected ways. This time, it was Paris with Conlon, and her crisis over the loss of life. It was Conlon agreeing to date Harry, and the conversation calling him a mess, which I think you could read as a joke, but I've always thought Harry had some serious stuff buried, and I prefer to think of it as Conlon telling him she could really see right through him. It was Cambridge and the Doctor bickering. It was Janeway asking Eden if she wanted coffee, and Eden replying "tea". It was Seven's strange feeling of peace, meeting someone else with a similar experience. It was Q (deLancie) saying Janeway had made an enemy of him, almost with willful irrationality.
And second, as an author choosing her stories, as a writer creating her characters, Kirsten has every time (5 for 5 now) bravely and without a hint of doubt tackled questions about humanity and its role in a universe populated with powerful, terrifying, and beautiful things. None of these books fill space, none of them shy away from the implications, and every one feels like the greatest and most powerful story she could possibly be telling right now. As an atheist, this is basically what spirituality means to me. Kirsten's novels make me think, feel, and every once in a while, bawl like a tiny tiny baby.
As ever, I'm hooked.