TOS: Unspoken Truth by M. Wander Bonanno Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by nx1701g, Mar 25, 2010.

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Grade "Unspoken Truth"

  1. Excellent

    9.1%
  2. Above Average

    33.3%
  3. Average

    45.5%
  4. Below Average

    9.1%
  5. Poor

    3.0%
  1. Ronald Held

    Ronald Held Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Star Trek: Unspoken Truth - Discussion (Spoilers)

    Just got my copy, next in the queue to read.
     
  2. Sky

    Sky Captain Captain

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    Re: Star Trek: Unspoken Truth - Discussion (Spoilers)

    Mine is being delayed, says Amazon. :confused:
     
  3. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Star Trek: Unspoken Truth - Discussion (Spoilers)

    The Simon & Schuster website has the epub version for sale.
     
  4. BrotherBenny

    BrotherBenny Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Star Trek: Unspoken Truth - Discussion (Spoilers)

    I'm looking for it cheaper than that, but since I'm not allowed to buy it (wife's edict) until I finish the dead tree books I have, I have a long way to go.
     
  5. Thrawn

    Thrawn Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Star Trek: Unspoken Truth - Discussion (Spoilers)

    ****SPOILERIFIC REVIEW AHEAD****




    I find myself growing more annoyed as time passes with this narrative device that describes a character’s actions and emotional states for a whole novel as if the two are connected, and then at the end reveals that it has all been because of an entirely different motivation than we’d expected. The only novel where this almost worked was Serpents Among The Ruins, and even then it was I think the single reason that novel wasn't a perfect 10 for me. You spend a whole novel sympathizing with a character and their struggles, only to find out that it was actually other struggles completely? It's jarring; it pulls you out of the story.

    Here, it really all but eliminates the emotional impact of most of the twists and turns in the story, leaving us only with a sense that Saavik is eminently capable even when in emotional distress (which, duh) and the admittedly amazing scenes with her emotional connections with Mikal. And I suppose building a character around that struggle is valid, but through the middle it was starting to seem as if this would be a complete emotional collapse and renewal, and it turned out to be something much less powerful; just a struggle through adverse conditions. And to think the story you're reading is much more interesting than it actually turns out to be is never a selling point for a novel.

    I did enjoy the strange-new-world part of the story; though confined almost entirely to the first half of the novel, it could’ve made a great novel all on its own, and it was great fun reading this kind of story so well accomplished after so much recent larger-scale drama. I also loved the Captain that she served under, and the characterizations of the relationships between the scientists as well as their investigations; MWB really has a knack for writing the wonder of a new place.

    Really, I think this book really could’ve gotten by much better just chronicling Saavik’s first assignment after the mess, and her decision that Starfleet was right for her, using this same strange new world with a little more added drama at the climax, since in the end the whole Romulan plot just didn’t work for me at all. It confused her story arc, didn’t gel with my impressions of Romulan society (sounded much more Cardassian), and erased a lot of the novel’s distinctiveness.

    I ended up feeling like the first half was an 8.5/10 and the second half was a 5.5 /10…a sort of weirdly bipolar rating. Either way, I remain a huge fan of MWB’s effortlessly emotional nonlinear weavings of language, and continue to await her next Trek novel with great anticipation. This just didn’t end up being a story that really grabbed me. I think I might’ve enjoyed it much more if we’d just known what Saavik was doing from the beginning. Her deciding which group to betray for the other (Starfleet, family, Hellguard survivors) would’ve been much more dramatically compelling than her having made the decision already, and her actions merely leading the reader to keep having to guess which choice it was.
     
  6. ClayinCA

    ClayinCA Commodore Commodore

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    Re: Star Trek: Unspoken Truth - Discussion (Spoilers)

    I always wanted her to write another one... :(
     
  7. nx1701g

    nx1701g Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Star Trek: Unspoken Truth - Discussion (Spoilers)

    Have you been able to pick it up?
     
  8. Admiral_Young

    Admiral_Young Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Star Trek: Unspoken Truth - Discussion (Spoilers)

    I'm planning on picking this up next week when i go get The Needs of the Many. Saavik has always been one of my favorite Star Trek characters and it appears that i'm going to have to try and track down a copy of this "Pandora Principal" as it sounds intriguing.
     
  9. Ronald Held

    Ronald Held Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Star Trek: Unspoken Truth - Discussion (Spoilers)

    I started to read it. Slow going.
     
  10. Garm Bel Iblis

    Garm Bel Iblis Commodore

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    Re: Star Trek: Unspoken Truth - Discussion (Spoilers)


    I have this problemwith this author, it jumps backand forth so badly betwen past and present, just like in "catalyst of sorrows." i read these books via ereader and there's no specific <break> in the text and it just flows into the next sentence. Very hard to follow. i'll have to get this in print.
     
  11. Thrawn

    Thrawn Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Star Trek: Unspoken Truth - Discussion (Spoilers)

    I actually like that aspect of her storytelling; I think the first couple chapters of the book are beautiful. My complaint is a little different - I think that following the main, present-day plot of the book for almost its whole length before learning why Saavik is doing what she's doing is annoying. The jumping into bits of backstory make sense, but the main narrative acts like a linear story, only to turn out not to be. And the story I thought she was telling was, in my opinion, better than what it was revealed to be.
     
  12. JoeZhang

    JoeZhang Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Star Trek: Unspoken Truth - Discussion (Spoilers)

    Same here - having said that, a MWB story I have problems with is still a better read than most of the trek-lit output.
     
  13. Thrawn

    Thrawn Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Star Trek: Unspoken Truth - Discussion (Spoilers)

    Yeah, in a lot of ways I agree. She certainly has an absolutely lovely writing style, and a real way with characterization. As I mentioned, I loved the captain Saavik served under for the first half. It was a great read, for sure. Just didn't really like where it ended up.
     
  14. Steve Roby

    Steve Roby Commodore Commodore

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    Re: Star Trek: Unspoken Truth - Discussion (Spoilers)

    I was disappointed. I didn't buy the science, I didn't like the all questions, all the time prose style, I didn't like the way the time jumps killed the story's momentum, and I wanted the quirky, free-spirited hippie guy to get hit by a truck.

    But my real problem is that the book is about the wrong Saavik.

    There are two ways of interpreting Robin Curtis's Saavik in Star Trek III. Some people think she's a convincing and interestingly drawn character. As for me, well, I think she's a combination of weak writing, weak directing, and weak acting, and nowhere near as interesting as the Saavik of Star Trek II. MWB really has captured Curtis's Saavik, and to me, as someone who was really impressed by Saavik in 1982 and who doesn't get what she's been so underused in nearly thirty years of Trek novels, that's a hell of a lost opportunity.

    I liked MWB's previous books to varying extents, from "that was okay" to "that was really good" to "that was damn near brilliant, but for this one flaw." This one just didn't work at all for me. Glad to see it made some people happy, even if I'm not one of them.
     
  15. Judith Sisko

    Judith Sisko Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Re: Star Trek: Unspoken Truth - Discussion (Spoilers)

    I haven't finished the book yet, so I'm not ready to vote, but I'm to the point that every time I see the words "unspoken truth" in the story, I'm rolling my eyes.

    I thought the night flowers on the planet was a nice image. I'd like to see an artist's rendition.

    All in all, it's not wow-ing me (yet?) but it's an OK read. I'm not regretting buying the book ($6.65 on my nook with my B&N rebate,) but that's not much of an endorsement.

    ETA: Before I started reading, I wondered if it was meant to be the Kristie Alley or Robin Curtis rendition of Saavik. As I'm reading, I see Robin Curtis, so I've got to agree with Steve Roby on this particular point.
     
  16. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Re: Star Trek: Unspoken Truth - Discussion (Spoilers)

    Yeah, the reference to Saavik's chestnut curls makes it clear it's meant to be Curtis.
     
  17. Judith Sisko

    Judith Sisko Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Re: Star Trek: Unspoken Truth - Discussion (Spoilers)

    That did clinch it, didn't it?
     
  18. KingstonTrekker

    KingstonTrekker Commander Red Shirt

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    Re: Star Trek: Unspoken Truth - Discussion (Spoilers)

    I was really looking forward to this book --MWB is one of my favourite Trek authors. However, I have given up on the book 100 pages from the end (I can't even remember the last time I gave up on a book).

    I just can't force myself to read any further. I am an intelligent person with several university degrees, but I found this book (particulalry the second half) to be confusing and frustrating. When Saavik isn't collapsing and waking up on a different planet, she is engaged in activities which defy logic and are not adequately explained by the author. I couldn't even keep some of the characters straight!

    This novel is a mess and a severe disappointment.
     
  19. Thrawn

    Thrawn Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Star Trek: Unspoken Truth - Discussion (Spoilers)

    Well if it helps, if you keep going long enough the book eventually explains her motivation. Just doesn't happen until the end.
     
  20. Judith Sisko

    Judith Sisko Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Re: Star Trek: Unspoken Truth - Discussion (Spoilers)

    I did force myself to finish it, expecting all the threads to come together somehow at the end to my satisfaction.

    She tried. They didn't.

    I enjoyed Saavik's Starfleet mission, shipmates, captain, and the first contact. After that...

    I was disappointed in this novel as well. A fellow TrekLit friend asked me in one word what I thought of the book. I said, "convoluted."

    I could write my reasons for disliking the book in more detail, but Thrawn, Steve Roby, and KingstonTrekker summed it up pretty well.
     

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