Spoilers TF: The Crimson Shadow by Una McCormack Review Thread

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Sho, Sep 17, 2013.

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Rate The Crimson Shadow.

  1. Outstanding

    76 vote(s)
    67.3%
  2. Above Average

    29 vote(s)
    25.7%
  3. Average

    6 vote(s)
    5.3%
  4. Below Average

    2 vote(s)
    1.8%
  5. Poor

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. Ben Maxwell

    Ben Maxwell Ensign

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    Re: TF: The Crimson Shadow by Una McCormack - Review Thread (Spoilers!

    Outstanding novel? Why? Because Garak.
     
  2. Stoek

    Stoek Commander Red Shirt

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    Re: TF: The Crimson Shadow by Una McCormack - Review Thread (Spoilers!

    No. It's an outstanding novel because it uses all the best tools of the novelists art to craft a work that is both ephemeral and beautiful while at the same time being brisk and highly readable. As another poster intimated, Garak is merely the icing on a cake of awesome.
     
  3. ronny

    ronny Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: TF: The Crimson Shadow by Una McCormack - Review Thread (Spoilers!

    I've been taking another break from Trek fiction but I just realized the book I've been waiting a year for, Picard and Garak, is now now. Guess I'll be starting the Fall tonight.
     
  4. Jarvisimo

    Jarvisimo Captain Captain

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    Re: TF: The Crimson Shadow by Una McCormack - Review Thread (Spoilers!

    This was my favourite Trek book since ... The Never-Ending Sacrifice. I loved the playfulness of the prose, the strength of the three central characters (Garak, the investigator and Dygal). I loved the subtle suggestions of this world - Cardassia - that lives, breathes and carries on outside the novel, from the red red to the geographies and communities to the continuity of identities established before but not necessarily focused on (the Tragar, HARP, etc). All this world building was so skillfully done! Oh, to be able to write like this!

    Thematically, this was a complex novel. Several themes stand out. One is age, of which Garak was the most immediately apparent figure (but for whom the middle aged police officer and the younger Dygal provided the chorus of different generations). Another is that idea of self- and societal-control. The tensions of Garak's desire for control with his more progressive views, the sense of the old guard liberal caught out by the chaotic potential of a slowly free-growing society was very interesting. Though our hero, Garak is always a challenging antihero, and people's revulsion and fear of him and the Order he was a leading light of - in the media centre, in the police station, the gelata bar, and also reflected in his own thoughts - was an excellent innovation in the writing of the character. The final letter by Bashir, the main character's reaction (anger and careful study), was an excellent capstone to this tension in Garak - he is a man who thrives on control, he is indeed a son of Tain, but also with a 'greater' potential.

    Carrying on with control, also very well done was the idea of information-control that came up throughout the novel. The biggest plot moments were the leak of the treaty agreement, and Garak's angry call to the media, the reveal that the Castallen's government had sat on the information about the assassination, and Picard & Akaar's own silence. But other moments equally played with the idea of perspective - the off-camera viewpoints of the reporters, the flawed view point of the more conservative youth movement (including the opponent politician), the hidden truth (forgotten even by itself) behind the Obsidian Order and the True Way.

    All this added to that cental tension in the book, the twinned dangers of freedom and of control: neither position was quite comdemned or condoned in the text, authorially. Also, I liked the lack of actual villains: the novel was without a specific nemesis (the North Torr thugs notwithstanding). More of this please!

    Also, the novel was so powerful, and so like NES, in that it made more complicated the world of Cardassia and also the Federation. For me, as with NES and Brinkmanship, this was the complification of the classes, sexualities and religions of Cardassia: all these nods to ideas that don't need to be laboured over, be it the two women living together in East Torr (whether a couple or not), the ideas of accents and haircuts, the use of but not focus on the Oralian Way and Paladine's daughter, Kel, the physicality and fondness of Garak and Parmak's relationship, etc. This wealth of unlaboured detail reminded one of (and indeed deliberately alluded to) the grandfather Garak/Cardassia text, of course, A Stitch in Time, but far further developed.

    Most of all, when reading this, I couldn't help wishing that this more subtle depiction of a divided society was what The Path of Disharmony had been. But I loved that the Andorians were mentioned, and the contrast between the narrative outcomes noted, in that section of Picard's narrative. Looking forward to next month and whatever happens with the blue skins.
     
  5. Jarvisimo

    Jarvisimo Captain Captain

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    Re: TF: The Crimson Shadow by Una McCormack - Review Thread (Spoilers!

    Hear hear!
     
  6. Paris

    Paris Commodore Commodore

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    Re: TF: The Crimson Shadow by Una McCormack - Review Thread (Spoilers!

    Got it friday afternoon...finished it yesterday. voted Outstanding! It is one of my new favorite Trek books. Garak was amazing! At first i wanted more with the TNG crew, but after it got going, i was even happier with all the Garak time. Didn't see the whole Castellan thing coming at first. I can't wait to read the rest of this series. Even though i liked Revelations and Dust, this blows it out of the water. Una has a life long fan in me :techman:
     
  7. Una McCormack

    Una McCormack Writer Red Shirt

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    Cambridge, UK
    Re: TF: The Crimson Shadow by Una McCormack - Review Thread (Spoilers!

    Thank you to everyone who has expressed such enthusiasm for the book! I wrote it in a big burst of energetic and riotous joy/passion and I've been so looking forward to seeing what people would make of it. I wanted a fast and exhilarating but not slight read, and it sounds like I've pulled this off. Phew! And thank you again.
     
  8. Thrawn

    Thrawn Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: TF: The Crimson Shadow by Una McCormack - Review Thread (Spoilers!

    Definitely your best yet :)
     
  9. Shane Houston

    Shane Houston Commander Red Shirt

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    Louisville Kentucky - Halliwell
    Re: TF: The Crimson Shadow by Una McCormack - Review Thread (Spoilers!

    You are such a sweet person. Thanks for sharing that with us. :)
     
  10. Ben Maxwell

    Ben Maxwell Ensign

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    Aug 26, 2013
    Re: TF: The Crimson Shadow by Una McCormack - Review Thread (Spoilers!

    What ever you did, whatever you ate\drank did to get this done...

    KEEP DOING IT.
     
  11. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Re: TF: The Crimson Shadow by Una McCormack - Review Thread (Spoilers!

    :lol: New threadbomb! :techman:
     
  12. rfmcdpei

    rfmcdpei Captain Captain

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    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Re: TF: The Crimson Shadow by Una McCormack - Review Thread (Spoilers!

    They were described as mates--well, one was described as the mate of the other.

    That was a very close friendship, right, not anything romantic? I read it as the former, though I was delighted to note in passing that Garak was unimpressed by Temet's handsomeness. Canonical novelverse confirmation of Garak being non-heterosexual, if there hadn't been already, right?

    It was remarkable.
     
  13. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: TF: The Crimson Shadow by Una McCormack - Review Thread (Spoilers!

    I haven't finished the book yet (just starting the third act), however, I find that I'm struggling with the book. When I compare it to Hollow Men (I do have The Never-Ending Sacrifice, but I haven't read it yet) I'm finding that the book just doesn't have the amount of action that I was looking for sure
    Garak's death was a bit of a surprise (and I found the build up to his death in the immediate chapter good)
    , but I'm just not finding the story is grabbing me like Hollow Men was.
     
  14. rafterman1701

    rafterman1701 Commodore Commodore

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    Re: TF: The Crimson Shadow by Una McCormack - Review Thread (Spoilers!

    One of the reasons I enjoyed the book so much is that it's so atypical. There's no scene on the bridge, the main character is Garak, the story features mostly new people in mundane settings. It's great. So many Trek books can feel formulaic in their design. This one didn't. I also feel that when compared to the first Fall book, this one works much better. DRG's book spends a lot of time reflecting on what's come before or telling us what has led up to the event. Then it's chock full of speeches. Crimson Shadow barely ever gives us any background and it's stronger for it. Ari could easily have been a character with history in Trek the way she was developed. It's just a great book, Trek or not. That's the best compliment I can give it. Side note: I don't want to crap on DRG3. His Crucible: McCoy is an astonishing book. I just wanted his Fall title to feel more like Crimson Shadow in style.
     
  15. Nob Akimoto

    Nob Akimoto Captain Captain

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    Re: TF: The Crimson Shadow by Una McCormack - Review Thread (Spoilers!

    The book kind of felt more like a well scripted TV mini-series. The pacing and the way characters were used gave that impression, if any of the recent TrekLit novels could translate well into the TV screen, I think it's this one. (Stuff of Dreams is the other one that comes immediately to mind.) There's an almost Wire-esque tension permeating through the chapters where even the stuff that happens is supposedly prosaic. (Garek and Parmak's post dinner scene.)

    I think the book that I found it most similar to that I've read recently is Robert Harris's Ghostwriter which I hope is at least good praise. Just very impressed with both this and The Never Ending Sacrifice.
     
  16. Defcon

    Defcon Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: TF: The Crimson Shadow by Una McCormack - Review Thread (Spoilers!

    Apparently the book has hit the NY Times Bestseller list, as Una has tweeted a couple of hours ago that she is now a NY Times bestselling author. :bolian:
     
  17. Jarvisimo

    Jarvisimo Captain Captain

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    Jan 4, 2011
    Re: TF: The Crimson Shadow by Una McCormack - Review Thread (Spoilers!

    Thanks - it just echoed the lesbian couple in NES also, a depiction that just felt very natural and subtle itself.

    It felt like a subtle allusion to how physical and even homoerotic Garak was written and played at first, in his flirtations with Bashir way back in S1. In the DS9 companion the writers and Andrew Robinson talked about this, then abandonned the approach, but Robinson was playful about it in his comments - Garak was 'omnisexual' or such like, if i remember right.

    Yeah, it was! Una by the agreement of at least two, your writing in remarkable!
     
  18. Kertrats47

    Kertrats47 Commodore Commodore

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    Re: TF: The Crimson Shadow by Una McCormack - Review Thread (Spoilers!

    My review is now up! Can't overstate how much I loved this book. Una: you effing rock.
     
  19. JeBuS

    JeBuS Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Re: TF: The Crimson Shadow by Una McCormack - Review Thread (Spoilers!

    I'm almost afraid to rate this as Outstanding. I can't tell whether I really enjoyed the book as much as I think I did, or whether I'm simply relieved that it wasn't another Revelation and Dust. I can't tell how much my experience with R&D is coloring my opinion of TCS.

    The opening was a bit slow. That was the only part of the whole book that I wasn't "locked in" so to speak. But after that, I very nearly didn't put it down.

    Note to DRGIII and his fans: This is how you plot. This is how you do character arcs. This is how you introduce new secondary characters. You don't just say "here we are." You show us how you got here.

    Longer review to come, once I've slept on it.
     
  20. Mage

    Mage Commodore Commodore

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    Re: TF: The Crimson Shadow by Una McCormack - Review Thread (Spoilers!

    A superbly written novel. Definatly a good story on its own, but you are definetly left feeling everything is not as straight cut as we might be told, about the assasins and such.

    One thing I didn't get, and I might be overlooking something here....
    Page 313, when
    Mhevet notices a young girl in front of the building, takes her to a diner and ask her about who's sitting behind her, but from memory, as if she's testing the girl... What did I miss here??

    Other then that, Una has shown again why she should keep on writing. I think it's definatly time I read something other then Trek by her.