Enterprise: The Motion Picture
That's the vibe I got from this book, like it's ST: Enterprise's version of TMP. Time has passed, characters are reunited and the budget is through the roof. Thankfully the story itself is in no way a xerox of TMP but a Christopher original.
Admiral Archer is a different beast than Admiral Kirk. When Archer needs a ship for a mission, he uses the Endeavour but leaves the command structure in place and doesn't assume it's captaincy. We know Kirk would do things differently, but I like Archer's arrangement better and I like Archer more as a character for doing things this way.
Speaking of Archer, huge thanks to Christopher for wrapping up the Archer/Mayweather animosity and moving them both beyond a disagreement that lasted WAY too long in the novels. The less said about this subplot, the better.
The Enterprise crew is definitely all about the moving on and the moving up. Promotions to higher ranks, assignments to different ships -- all of this feels natural and fitting. Even the return of recurring characters (Cutler, Shran, etc.) feels right and true to the story.
My two favorite parts of the novel:
**Without a doubt, Shran. Christopher, you nailed his speech patterns ("That was bracing.") and mannerisms. Shran telling Archer to back off, that he was handling it, that he had grown and doing what Archer had urged him to do in the first place -- THE highlight of the book for me. A wonderful moment.
**The USS Pioneer. This story arc in the book was a real gem. Dax, sky whales, an unexpected wormhole (TMP-ish), the seeding of a Starfleet legend and, best of all, a callback to one of my favorite ENT episodes, "The Catwalk." All of this and, for the first time ever, I actually liked the character of Malcolm Reed. Nicely done.
My least favorite part of the book:
**that sad-sack Archer on the cover. What a disservice to the story inside.
Looking forward to the next book and reading the annotations for this one. Thanks, Christopher!