Spoilers ENT: To Brave the Storm by Michael A. Martin Review Thread

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Thrawn, Oct 20, 2011.

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Rate To Brave the Storm.

  1. Outstanding

    8 vote(s)
    10.8%
  2. Above Average

    25 vote(s)
    33.8%
  3. Average

    27 vote(s)
    36.5%
  4. Below Average

    9 vote(s)
    12.2%
  5. Poor

    5 vote(s)
    6.8%
  1. Turtletrekker

    Turtletrekker Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Enterprise: The Romulan War: To Brave the Storm review thread

    Ordered mine last night.
     
  2. ex Zane Gray

    ex Zane Gray Ensign Newbie

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    Re: Enterprise: The Romulan War: To Brave the Storm review thread

    Well, I found a copy over the weekend and just finished this afternoon. As someone who's enjoyed the Enterprise relaunch so far, I have to say that I have really mixed feelings about it. I liked it because it does, mostly competently, wrap up the war storyline. I enjoyed the various turns and twists of the war, how it all plays out. But I'm disappointed because, having read all of the interviews about the relaunch series I can find online, it's clearly half the book that Mike Martin and former editor Margaret Clark wanted it to be. I guess that was at Simon & Schuster's direction (after Clark was let go, it seems as if the planned Romulan War books went from a trio of hefty trade paperbacks to this), but it still sucks as a reader who's been waiting so long for the next (and now apparently last) installment.

    Whole years pass between chapters! Beneath the Raptor's Wing covered a single year of the war in 576 mass-market pages - this one covers 6 years in just 352 pages! So many of the storylines raised in the previous books are only lightly fleshed out here, and a number of direct plot threads from Raptor's Wing are never even followed up on. For example, at the end of the last book, T'Pau asks Trip for help uncovering those who executed the terrorist bombing on Vulcan. In the new book, it's as if that scene never happened! While the last book was expansive and comprehensive, this one reads like Cliff's Notes. So we essentially get a really elaborate build-up and only a hasty conclusion. What I dislike most is that so many of the character subplots never really pay off. Yes, Trip and T'Pol get their happily ever after, but we never see their reunion after the last battle! We never see Archer and Trip reunited, or their friendship rekindled. We never see the moment when Archer and Travis mend fences. We never get to see the aftermath of the war on Archer - the long-term impact of the personal toll it takes on him. We never get to see Trip reunited with his parents and family, or any indication that they ever learn he's still alive. We never get to hear any of the speeches at the Federation charter signing. Honestly, I'm really surprised that Mike didn't offer Enterprise fans a little more of an emotional payoff at the end, because as a reader, I feel like we've earned a few more of them. But we just never get that "poker game" scene (as in the last episode of The Next Generation) or scenes like those in the Enterprise episodes Home and Terra Prime, where all the characters are finally together again and get to acknowledge the journey they've taken together and the sacrifices they've made.

    I appreciated the overall plot, but I just find this book unsatisfying. To Brave the Storm isn't bad per se. There's actually a lot that's good in it. But it still feels much less than what it should have been, based on the build-up and the sheer heft of the previous book. It feels like a novel cobbled together from the best bits of a much larger planned story arc, with a lot of important material hacked out because the new editors in charge at Simon & Schuster just wanted to wash their hands of the whole thing. It's a letdown for me as a reader. It's especially disappointing because I don't think we're going to get any more Enterprise books for a long time. The fact that the editors decided to end the entire Romulan War series when it had only just begun tells me they're not interested in more Enterprise books.

    Sure wish I had deep pockets. If I did, I'd cut Mike a check and ask him to please write the rest of the Romulan War books he wanted to write, as he and Margaret planned them. I sure as heck wanted to read them.
     
  3. Deranged Nasat

    Deranged Nasat Vice Admiral Admiral

    Re: Enterprise: The Romulan War: To Brave the Storm review thread

    ^ Great review, ex Zane Grey. :) I'll get my copy within the next few days; I'm even more intrigued now. I enjoyed Beneath the Raptor's Wing, so I'm disappointed to hear that the conclusion might not reinforce that quality.
     
  4. Newspaper Taxi

    Newspaper Taxi Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: Enterprise: The Romulan War: To Brave the Storm review thread

    This is my most anticipated Trek book of the year. I really enjoyed the first Romulan War book in that it wasn't all centered around the dealings of one single ship and that it managed to provide a bunch of different view points in order to give a better understanding of the big picture at play. I'm not sure exactly when I'll get this book...But hopefully soon!
     
  5. Reanok

    Reanok Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Enterprise: The Romulan War: To Brave the Storm review thread

    Great Review ex Zane Gray I feel there was alot of important story arcs that were cut out of the novel being the new Editors i charge.Since Mike was told he couldn't write In Shariel's jaws storylines he inted to be in the middle book. Also having to drop alot of the major storyline on Vulcan that would've paid off in a big way I wish we could've he had a chance to finish these books he and editor Magaret clark had originally intended as a longer length series of Romulan war trade paperbacks books. i really am glad we still got a novel to wrap up the Romulanwrstory .I wish he editors would reconsider their ideas about the fans still would like to see future Enterprise novels being published.Micheal wants to write more Enterpise era books.
     
  6. timothy

    timothy Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Enterprise: The Romulan War: To Brave the Storm review thread

    well I got my copy today on my nook looking forward to reading it.
     
  7. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Enterprise: The Romulan War: To Brave the Storm review thread

    Hmm, alot of the complaints I'm hearing about this are the same kinds of complaints I've read about Seize the Fire, so I'm starting to think that's just how he writes.
     
  8. ex Zane Gray

    ex Zane Gray Ensign Newbie

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    Re: Enterprise: The Romulan War: To Brave the Storm review thread

    Speaking of things left out of the Romulan War books for lack of it being a trilogy versus just two books, Martin just gave an interview at Star Trek.com where he lists some of the things he wanted to write in a novel set "in between" Beneath the Raptor's Wings and To Brave the Storm. I think I recall somewhere he wanted to call it In Shariel's Jaws...

    http://www.startrek.com/article/michael-a-martin-on-the-romulan-war-and-more-part-1

    Some intriguing ideas there. Such a bummer it didn't happen.
     
  9. TerraUnam

    TerraUnam Commander Red Shirt

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    Re: Enterprise: The Romulan War: To Brave the Storm review thread

    Andy Mangels said in this forum that Michael Martin is simply not a character writer. He is however a plot and politics writer.

    This was a good book. The parts leading up to
    Battle of Cheron
    were actually well-done.

    I would have preferred a longer epilogue or perhaps a transfer into another book, but that would probably be tripping a few too many canon tripwires.

    I like the comparisons with the First World War made in the book, which, a war which was frustrating and confusing from beginning to end. It's not a war many writers reference anymore, though it is timely as the 100th Anniversary of the Guns of August is in 2014.
     
  10. Turtletrekker

    Turtletrekker Vice Admiral Admiral

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  11. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Enterprise: The Romulan War: To Brave the Storm review thread

    Which is also part of why I've been hesitant to read his solo stuff. Because I tend to consider characters to be #1 slightly ahead of plot.
     
  12. Andy Mangels

    Andy Mangels Writer Red Shirt

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    Re: Enterprise: The Romulan War: To Brave the Storm review thread

    A bit of a simplification/misquote... :vulcan:

    I actually said (as I recall) that I wrote the majority of the character-based material and scenes, and Mike wrote more of the continuity-based and political material. Both of us had our strengths, and in rewrites, would strengthen scenes each other had written in ways that made them mesh well.

    We definitely plotted the books together, sometimes with the bones of a plot from the editor.

    A lot of the Romulan politics in Enterprise was pure Mike, but in other books, that might be different. I handled many of the Vulcan scenes, for instance.

    I wrote almost all of the Bajoran stuff (as I recall) in DS9 Cathedral, and all of the Trill politics in Worlds of DS9: Trill - Unjoined, while Mike did more of the Gamma Quadrant segments and history of the Trill species in those books (respectively).

    In The Sundered and Titan books, Mike wrote almost all of the Neyel material, while I did more of the Federation material. On the SCE books, because there was so little politics or continuity stuff, we balanced out very closely. So, it really all changed, depending on the project.

    Hope that helps clear it up.
     
  13. Deranged Nasat

    Deranged Nasat Vice Admiral Admiral

    Re: Enterprise: The Romulan War: To Brave the Storm review thread

    I've read it, and I echo some of the concerns raised in ex Zane Grey's review. This was a good book in the majority of places, but it really needed to be fleshed out and expanded (or more likely allowed to be the full story it was originally intended to be). There were probably two books' potential plot in here, if not three, and after the measured pace of Beneath the Raptor's Wing it's rather breathtaking how much unfolds in so relatively few pages. Raptor's Wing was a great success in my eyes due to the time it took in establishing every player and teasing out the "big picture". It gave me all I could want as a "historical overview" of the war's first year. To Brave the Storm, on the other hand, had disappointing gaps in that "big picture" because the ratio of time passing-to-scenes featured was so different. The picture is still a good one - I enjoyed Martin's vision of the war immensely - but the full satisfaction of Raptor's Wing was missing. And it's a shame because what we got in Brave the Storm was of good quality.

    Since we know the Romulan War miniseries was going to be longer at one point, and since the writing in most individual scenes doesn't feel particularly rushed, I'm not putting any real blame on Michael Martin for the disappointingly rapid pace of progression. He should have been given a trilogy, not a duology. While most individual scenes in To Brave the Storm felt solid, the compressed timespan of the book detracted from their power. So many events were handled in a manner that rang true on an emotional level, or at least felt genuinely meaningful, only for the book to skip along to the next without giving us the time to let it sink in, or to watch it sinking into the characters. We were often left wanting when it came to their mid-to-long-term response. Basically, To Brave the Storm often left me no time to digest the meal, although what it was feeding me was usually good. A list of some of the events/plots that genuinely felt significant or had emotional weight but were diminished somewhat by the lack of time to process them as part of the unfolding story:
    The destruction of Haakona, the devestation of Draylax, T'Pau's political/ethical agonizing, Earth's increasing sense of isolation, Mayweather's epiphany, Valdore's death, most definitely the founding of the Federation (though I understand that this last one is not necessarily essential to the main plot, it's more an epilogue)
    All of these, I must emphasise, were aspects of the plot that were generally handled well; I'm not complaining about any lack of quality or gravity in the writing. But it all happened so quickly!
    Just a minor example of not having time to process anything: Kolos presumably dies and we never see Archer have a reaction. Not even a "so long, Kolos :("

    Again, it seems to me that the fault lies not with Martin (whose writing I enjoyed throughout) but with the decision to have this book conclude the war, when the story really needed to unfold at a slower pace. Martin should have been given a trilogy - this is a good book undercut somewhat by (presumably) editorial decisions.
     
  14. Reanok

    Reanok Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Enterprise: The Romulan War: To Brave the Storm review thread

    Yes there are alot of unanasweerd questions that you wonder about in To Brave the storm. In part one of Micheal's interview he mentions not being able to write in Shariel's jawsas the middle book of the original trilogy. And that he mentions what would've been the unfolding storyline of what happened with the aftermath on Vulcan with Trip still being on Vulcan that had to be cut out of the book.It was an editorial choice to merge what was left of In shariel's jaws story line and TO brave the storm into two books in one I think it's areal shame he wasn't able to write the novels as he originally intended them to be a longer length series of Enterprise novels.
     
  15. CaptainDonovin

    CaptainDonovin Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: Enterprise: The Romulan War: To Brave the Storm review thread

    Not quite finished yet but I do like it, just that at times things seem rushed. Would have liked to have seen this as a trilogy as planned & I really hope this isn't the end for the series.
     
  16. ex Zane Gray

    ex Zane Gray Ensign Newbie

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    Re: Enterprise: The Romulan War: To Brave the Storm review thread

    Yes, that's how I felt too. You put some of it in better words that I did. I like what the book does offer a lot, but it just kept jumping so much in time out of need to cover the whole rest of the war, that the material doesn't have anywhere near the heft and resonance Beneath the Raptor's Wing did. That sheer, satisfying scope. Another example...

    The mothballing of Enterprise is briefly mentioned by Archer near the very end of the book. Showing a bit of that would have been the perfect opportunity in my mind to have one last scene with the whole crew together. Have everyone but Trip gather on the Bridge for an official ceremony or reception of some kind, then perhaps Archer, T'Pol, Phlox and Reed slip down to the Engineering after the rest of the crew departs to reveal that they've snuck Trip in for a last, more private farewell to the ship with him. So many moments like that felt missing. Character stuff, reaction stuff.

    I still really enjoyed the book but I was hoping for so much more, especially after another year-long wait.
     
  17. rfmcdpei

    rfmcdpei Captain Captain

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    Re: Enterprise: The Romulan War: To Brave the Storm review thread

     
  18. Deranged Nasat

    Deranged Nasat Vice Admiral Admiral

    Re: Enterprise: The Romulan War: To Brave the Storm review thread

    Indeed. The Romulans' conduct here was rather surprising for me in that the novel leans in the opposite direction to what is usually done with them in Trek lit. Where most novels, in my view, are concerned with the sympathetic or at least "honourable" aspects of Romulan culture (while ensuring the brutality and manipulation is still very much evident), this one highlighted their most disturbing behaviours (while ensuring their unique sense of honour and ethics were still notable). It was an inverted picture for me (which makes sense in that the Romulans as a nation are obviously straight-up antagonists here - no Ruanek, Charvanek, Cretak or Donatra this time).
    Coridan as a potential "one off" was bad enough, but after Haakona and Draylax I thought, "holy crap, the Romulans weren't just the aggressive enemy, they were a full-on terror. They were the Dilgar from Babylon Five. It makes me wonder what hard hearts might still remain even in the 24th century. The Coridanite and Draylaxian representatives on the 24th century Federation Council, for instance. They might very likely be thinking: True peace with Romulus? Never. I'd hope differently, but I wouldn't be suprised if there were people on those worlds who privately cheered come 2387...:(
     
  19. Ronald Held

    Ronald Held Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Enterprise: The Romulan War: To Brave the Storm review thread

    I just got my copy. I expect to start it tomorrow.
     
  20. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Enterprise: The Romulan War: To Brave the Storm review thread

    ^I haven't read the book yet, but when it comes to the characterization of the Romulans, I think it is worth keeping in mind that, other then when they were on our side in the Dominion War, we've never really seen then in a full on war. War does tend to bring out the worst in cultures.