Took friggin forever for Amazon to get this to me, so I only just finished last night. Posting my thoughts before going back to read the rest.
Quite lovely. It definitely felt like the same tone as Una's other work, especially The Lotus Flower
. She has this thing where her books don't have the same peaks and troughs as some other writers, but rather rumble along at a more consistent but still intriguing level, constant tension under the surface without ever breaking out into explosions. Because of this her stories sometimes feel not as big and expansive, but rather more intimate and 'real-life.' That's not a complaint, not in the slightest.
As an example, I'm looking at the scene where there's a riot between the nationalists and the progressives, with the Constabulary in between, and Starfleet having to sit it out. Another writer would have taken the opportunity to punch up the adrenaline with a massive action scene at this moment, but that wasn't the point for Una. Fights are fights - what matters is the why and the who.
I never for a moment believed Garak was really dead. He is if nothing else a survivor. And I'm still not convinced we really know for certain who was behind the assassination of Bacco. First a Bajoran, then the Tzenkethi, now the Cardassians. Too maybe maybes and must-haves and assumptions, with no hard evidence either way. Raise the Dawn
showed us minor alliances between the True Way and parts of the Tzenkethi Coalition, so it's certainly possible that some Cardassian wanted to kill Bacco and used Tzenkethi technology to control a Bajoran patsy. But I get the feeling there's definitely more to come from that mystery. I definitely don't trust the new pres pro tem either.
It also just occurs to me, and I'm surprised it didn't before, that this story is being released for the 50th anniversary of the shooting of Kennedy.
Favourite moment - the political chat show, in which Garak simply obliterates the entire room with words. "We fought so hard to achieve freedom of speech. Seems a shame to waste it on lying to each other." Ugh - what a magnificent
line. Worth the money right there.
I also really enjoyed the meta-level about the power of literature. How something that seems to mean one thing in one set of circumstances can be completely reinterpreted in different circumstances. How one moment in a story, one brief series of words, can inspire a person, give them an epiphany or a revelation and completely change the course of their life, when those exact same words might pass another person by completely unremarked. Gorgeous stuff.
The book as a whole didn't make me lose my shit. I think I preferred Brinkmanship
just a bit - that was my favourite of the TP books. But this has definitely piqued my interest for the following books more than RTD3's did.