Wow. What a thread. I have a headache from all the shouting at brick walls going on in here.
I haven't decided yet how I'll vote, but I'm leaning toward "Average." Just a few thoughts I'll toss out there for the rabid dogs to fight over. I am not going to use spoiler code, because logic.
I thought the re-telling of Benjamin's first encounter with the Prophets in "Emissary" with Kira as witness was ultimately a waste of time. We already have a novelization of the episode. If Kira had seen something new, something that tied into her ultimate message for Ben ... well, no, even then, I don't think it would have been worth the time/pages spent on it.
I struggled through the descriptions of the new station. I think this is at least partially a lack on my part, as I have a hard time creating mental pictures from written descriptions - especially when it comes to architectural structures. The Kira half of the story I had no problem picturing. The more I think about it, the more I think the descriptions were too specific, as if my imagination kept trying to correct what I had already pictured every time more detail was added. And there was just a lot of it. I get we're trying to create an affection for this new station, but it's going to take me a while. I LOVED the old station. I thought it was a beautiful, elegant design. I always had more trouble picturing it as an ore processing plant than I did as a lively crossroads in space. No matter how much they dress up the new place, it will still feel like Starfleet-sterile to me.
I completely missed the metaphor of the tunnel as the wormhole. I'm glad it was pointed out in the thread. It helps add a little more value for me to the Kira plot. Did anyone else notice that her counterpart's name - Keev - is the same family name of the terrorist leader way back in TNG's "Ensign Ro"? No one has mentioned it yet in the thread, so I thought I'd point that out. His name was Keev Falor. I strongly doubt the choice was coincidental.
I spent the whole second half of the novel expecting Sarina to be the one behind the president's assassination. When in the last chapter, the author began speaking from her point of view, it completely killed that theory and left me frustrated. I don't doubt that the Tzenkethi could be behind the plot, but leaving ANY traceable evidence behind seems sloppy given how they've been characterized recently. I still strongly suspect Section 31's involvement, and if not them, someone else is pointing the finger at the Tzenkethi, rather than them being directly responsible. I find them compelling as a species and culture, though, so I look forward to seeing more of them as the series progresses.
(As a sidebar, can I just say I HATE what the novels have done with Sarina?! I loved her sweet character as she was presented on the show. To turn her into uber-spy sneaky lying to Bashir woman of mystery just absolutely guts her. I loved her as an ultimate match for Bashir, but now I just want her to go away.
The Keev section I thought was pretty much just there. When Veralla gave her the Orb of Destiny ... what happened to the orb again? Did it just disappear? Did she somehow return it to the wormhole? I'm very confused. And I thought we had already resolved that Ben was free to return to Kasidy and his life. And I don't much like him not being the Emissary anymore. As far as the Prophets are concerned, "not anymore" shouldn't really be a thing. But I've noticed writers have had a hard time dealing with the Prophets' existence outside time, pretty much since the pilot. If Benjamin is "The Sisko," then as far as the Prophets are concerned, how can he stop being "The Sisko"? But then, we've heard them using statements like "completed his task" and "will have no rest there" which at least imply a change in being. Whatever. I admit I'm being a bit cranky, but I want Sisko back on the station helping Bajor again, and I miss his relationship with the Prophets.
Can we please get a break from killing off good characters???? More and more I feel each death is simply the authors' way of getting rid of an inconvenient person so they can tell the story they want to tell. This time, it's we want to rock the foundations of the Federation's government, and Nan Bacco is too strong a leader, so she has to go. I just ... I'm tired of being stabbed in the gut every other novel. Can't we tell a good story anymore without killing off the characters you've spent so much time creating and nurturing? Elias Vaughn. Jasminder Choudhury. Esperanza Piņero. Now Nan Bacco. And I feel like there are several others that are eluding me because it's tired and I'm late. But seriously, stop killing characters off
. It's starting to really bother me.
One more rant, and I think I'm done. I miss the people of DS9. Whatever happened to Shar? How is Prynn? Counselor Matthias? Did Vedek Yevir die and I've forgotten it, or did he just fall off the radar? And of the characters we have seen lately, only Ro really got any quality time this outing. Bashir is apparently a blind, lovesick puppy (either that, or the writers have decided that Sarina is no longer evil, but I'm not buying that just yet). There's some hope for O'Brien and Nog's return, and at least Ben and Kasidy are doing well, but I really miss the mix of people from the first few years of the relaunch.
So, yeah. The book definitely prompted a reaction. I can't say it was a good one, though I'm aware that not everything I've mentioned above is directly attributable to this book alone. I'm looking forward to the next book, but like so many others, the gaps in time are really starting to grate. We're going to need some fill-in soon, or I'm going to be so lost that I give up.