Spoilers DS9: Sacraments of Fire by DRGIII Review Thread

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Sho, Jun 20, 2015.

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Rate Sacraments of Fire.

  1. Outstanding

    23 vote(s)
    33.8%
  2. Above Average

    23 vote(s)
    33.8%
  3. Average

    16 vote(s)
    23.5%
  4. Below Average

    3 vote(s)
    4.4%
  5. Poor

    3 vote(s)
    4.4%
  1. VDCNI

    VDCNI Captain Captain

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    Not really the same no matter how many times you want to repeat yourself on this - lots of people had issues with Beasts because of what it did to the character of Sisko but forgave it after the duology essentially reversed the worst of it. Beasts can still be considered a full story in its own right no matter what you think of the Sisko developments.

    With RaD people were more upset that despite promises the book wasn't a complete story in its own right but merely a set up for the rest of the Fall and later DS9 stories. So even if this book is decent (I have it somewhere between average and above average) RaD remains a set up book and little else. I wasn't as negative towards RaD as some others but seeing more of Altek Dans certainly doesn't make me feel any more appreciative of that terrible Bajoran resistance plotline.
     
  2. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I was one of the critics of Beasts and I still don't like the book for what it did to Sisko. I'm glad that DRG III handled Sisko better in later novels, but still that doesn't absolve what happened in Beasts. Even though I read the later DRG III books Beasts left a bad taste in my mouth. I'm not sure if I'm going to read Sacraments. Revelations and Dust was okay, but didn't leave me wanting more.
     
  3. Mage

    Mage Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I see your points. For me, someone who has suffered through depression and has anxiety issues, I was very happy for a character in the Star Trek to go through the same thing. It was relatable, but it also made me realize that was Sisko was going through was, in his way of reasoning, was completely normal. People with anxiety don't just stop having that. It's not something you stop doing, and their behaviour can be influenced by it so heavely, that their actions, no matter how much they are hurting others, seem like the best option to deal with things. And they ARE aware of how they are hurting others. I can see how my behaviour is having an effect on my girlfriend. She is hurting, a lot. But I also know that I cannot do things any other way, or else I will not be able to deal with normal day life. That's why I'm getting help for this now.

    I know fans who adored the Sisko as much I do (my favorite captain, maybe even favorite character in Trek) hated seeing something like this happening to him. They felt it was a betrayel, or out of character. Sisko has shown obsessive behaviour before, in the show. And obsessive compulsive behaviour is part of anxiety (again, trust me....). DRGIII somehow knows this, and where Sisko ended up in RBoE, compared to his character from the show.... It's not unthinkable. It's actually quite plossible. His rash decisions, like leaving DS9 after Dax died, wanting to quite Starfleet after first being assigned to DS9, those are actions that people with anxiety/OCD can feel are very normal when faced with unknown situations they are no longer capable of dealing rationaly with. So they react unrationaly, according to a normal standard, but in a way that seems the best to them.

    This clip, a sort of 'coming out' of Wil Wheaton, about depression and such, might make some things clear.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K6ACzT6PCDw
     
  4. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I felt that RBoE was similar in approach to "Emissary" -- Sisko starting out in a dark and hopeless place as the start of a journey that would lead him out of it. So I don't see it as out of character, since it reflects how we were originally introduced to the character.
     
  5. Reanok

    Reanok Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I finished the book last night I voted outstanding. I'm looking forward to the continuing story arcs in Ascendance.
    I wonder what's going to happen with Kira and Tarantor trying to stop Illiana Ghemor and the Ascendants and the Odo story line certainly leaves you with a Cliff hanger ending on the science station I was certainly was suprised with that story plot. I also wonder Ben Sisko and His crew on the Robinson will deal with this crisis too and the Bajorans are in uproar about Ohalavu and the moon thay call the false work and the Prophets is certainly Intriguing
    David wrote a fantastic ds9 novel I really liked this one a lot.:techman:
     
  6. ATimson

    ATimson Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    It reflects how we were introduced to the character, but he's also had fifteen years of character growth since then. To have it all undone without any explanation or inciting event felt... sudden.

    That said: Mage, you made some good points that I hadn't considered before.
     
  7. star trek

    star trek Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    I just finished it and gave it a below average.

    I appreciate the author picking up where the previos DS9 novels left off but man!, it must have been excruiciating for DRGIII to write this if what I read was any indication of what he went through. It just plods along CONSTANTLY reminiscing about past events and how the characters are dealing with it. It's nice to give context but holy hell man!, it was not enjoyable to read.

    The characters are unlikeable and uniteresting, even the "interesting" ones are dull.

    Almost 3/4 of it seemed like aimless wanderings of an author unsure and unexcited of what he's writing. Then 1/4 of the end post Ishan thing begin to roll. It's almost as if DRGIII just read a previous novel relating to Ishan and descied to timeskip his book and try and tie off all the stuff he wrote previous to reading the novel.

    Maybe the next set of books can turn it around.
     
  8. QuoVadisSF

    QuoVadisSF Ensign Newbie

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    Jul 11, 2011
    Dear All,

    I would need some advice.

    I have read all the TNG relaunch novels, all the the VOY relaunch novels and all the relevant crossovers.

    In terms of DS9, I have read all that came AFTER Soul Key; the Typhon Pact crossovers and The Fall DS9 books. In other words, I have only read all of the post-Destiny DS9-related books.

    My question is: will I be lost in Sacraments of Fire not having read the Pre-Destiny relaunch DS9 novels?

    I read about the Ascendants and Iliana Ghemor on Memory beta, so I have a basic understanding of those events.

    I plan on reading the Pre-Destiny DS9 relaunch novels in any case at some point, but I do not plan on doing so now.

    Opinions?

    Thank you in advance for your kind suggestions! :)
     
  9. Idran

    Idran Commodore Premium Member

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    I'd say no; the book gives a pretty good summary of the important events leading up to and including Soul Key. It certainly wouldn't hurt to read at least Fearful Symmetry, Warpath, and Soul Key, but I don't think you'd be lost without them.
     
  10. QuoVadisSF

    QuoVadisSF Ensign Newbie

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    Thank you for your reply Idran. Much appreciated.
     
  11. Thrawn

    Thrawn Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    Raise the Dawn is one of my favorite Trek novels in recent memory; the number of threads DRG3 wove together in that climax was stunning, and everything paid off beautifully. Sacraments of Fire has left me feeling like another one of those is coming in Ascendance, but that doesn't necessarily mean this book was good.

    I loved all of the character arcs, especially Taran'atar's, but it's weird how few plot events they were actually based on. Just a lot of thinking about stuff and changing minds, but not really prompted by any particular actions or consequences. I feel like I just read a novelization of like 6 random B plots of episodes without any of the A plots included; this was an odd read.

    Also, it's frustrating after starting this adventure with Marco's perfect coordination how sloppy the continuity between books is these days. This book stitches The Fall, The Light Fantastic, and The Missing back together again, but it shouldn't have to. There's no reason that Altek and Sisko couldn't have been mentioned in some of the other DS9 stories we've had in the meantime. With both Plagues of Night and this, DRG3 has devoted a substantial portion of his novels to mildly retconning and reconnecting earlier works, and it's annoying that this is necessary to me when it didn't used to be. (He's not the only one, either - Mack had to start Section 31 differently when Bashir had been broken out of prison in other novels; Lang retconned Geordi's relationship with Leah Brahms to bring Indistinguishable from Magic back into continuity... I like that authors are working to fix these holes, but they're definitely happening more than they used to in the first place.) And even with DRG3 obviously trying to keep everyone working and playing well together, there are still weird problems like Blackmer offering his resignation in The Missing and then again here, with no mention of the prior event in this novel's scene. I know it's all small stuff, but it adds up.

    So I'm a little ambivalent about this novel, but the last 20% or so was super great, and I feel like this is all going somewhere amazing. I'm really excited for Ascendance, now that DRG3 has gotten all the reconnecting and filling gaps taken care of and he's finally gotten around to telling the story. This felt like the first half of a novel that got a really slow start, but is on its way to an incredible ending.
     
  12. bfollowell

    bfollowell Captain Captain

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    If you're reading this novel, you've likely read the older novels leading up to it, so I really don't feel like I'm spoiling anything but, just in case, if you're not currently reading this novel or the ones leading up to it, please stop reading now.

    Anyway, there are several references to
    Taran'atar's death, or supposed death
    and for the life of me, I cannot recall exactly when or how this happened. I know he's mentioned in The Fall: Revelation and Dust, but I think it was before this novel. Can someone help jog my memory as far as the details and in which novel this happened?

    Thanks.
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2015
  13. DS9Continuing

    DS9Continuing Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Alright so I just finished this yesterday.

    Reading this was a strange experience for me, given that I wrote my own version of this storyline a couple of years ago. That made it like an Alternate Universe kind of situation - the same characters, the same setting, but a different 'interpretation' of events. It was fascinating to compare and contrast as I went along. In some places events and characterisations diverged significantly from what I had written myself, and in other places they were virtually identical.

    I found it interesting that, while I had filled in the gap in the storyline in a linear fashion, as if the books/show had simply carried on from where they left off, DRG3 actually used the gap in the story as part of the story. He made a virtue of it as they say - not a bug but a feature.

    In the Kira storyline, he used the fact that we didn't know what had happened in the gap, by having one of our characters from the 'present' literally go back in time to witness those events, and us along with her. In the Ohalavaru storyline, he instead made it so that what they were trying to accomplish the last time around simply didn't work, and so they tried again. The latter of those would have worked on TV, the former never could - I don't think a TV show could get away with literally telling the same story twice. It's a conceit that could only really work in the books, and I have no problem with it as such.

    It's also interesting that this arc of stories so closely mirrors the previous arc in its construction - that is, a long and ponderous DRG3 trilogy with an action-packed Mack thriller taking place 'off-screen' during book 2. Last time it was Rough Beasts, Plagues of Night, Raise the Dawn and Zero Sum Game. This time it's Revelation & Dust, Sacraments, Ascendance and Ceremony of Losses. I wonder if that was deliberate or just how it turned out?

    It's very clear now how much of Revelations was set-up for this storyline, while simultaneously being set-up for The Fall storyline. It must be difficult to write a book serving so many masters like that. It reminds me of how people disliked Rough Beasts until they understood what it was setting up as seen in Plagues and Dawn. I imagine the same happened here - Revelations seemed strangely action-less and as if nothing actually happened in it. Whereas now we see where it was all leading.

    That makes it interesting that DRG3 has chosen to weave this 'season arc' - the Ishan conspiracy, the return to exploration, the new station - into the missing arc of the Ascendants and the Ohalavaru. To make them in fact the same arc. It is, to coin a phrase, not linear.

    It's also clear where Ceremony fits into the timeline - between parts 1 and 2 of Sacraments. But I'm curious where Disavowed, Love's Latinum Lost and The Missing slot in. I know that Takedown is supposed to be at the same time as The Missing. Isn't The Light Fantastic around here too somewhere? If somebody could nail that all down for me, that would be lovely.

    As to the actual storyline... It's lovely to see how Taran'atar's loyalty to Kira has grown. He always said (back in DRG3's own Olympus Descending, which this also feels like a follow-up to) that he respected Kira more than he had most Vorta, mostly because she had gone out of her way to earn his respect even though she did not need to. So it makes perfect sense that once he could no longer follow the Founders, he would transfer his allegiance and his loyalty to her instead. And it's a wonderful development. It's just a shame that it seems like it will lead to his death. But then, I suppose that's how he would want it.

    The Ohalavaru-Endalla storyline seems like the kind of massive, culture-shattering revelation that could really up-end an entire society. Not unlike the Trill symbiont massacre or the Andorian extinction, this is the kind of thing that shakes the very bedrock of a culture, potentially changing the landscape of the 'show' forever.

    It also makes me wonder if the Even Odds, the Endalla falsework, and Odo's discovery are all linked. Similar descriptions of angles that don't make sense and shapes that your eye can't define. Why put them all in the same book if they're not connected in some way?

    I'm not sure I buy the idea of a deep Cenn-Kira friendship - I don't remember them spending any time together, and I certainly haven't written them that way myself, although I suppose there's still time for that to develop in both versions. And I characterised Cenn slightly differently as well - I had him very much antagonistic towards other religions, whereas Ro said she knew he wasn't, but again there's time for him to grow out of that. But his breakdown of faith was gut-wrenchingly portrayed, and the kind of character development a 'first officer' character should get, whereas he hasn't had the chance for a lot of attention so far.

    Odo's visit to the Norton Outpost reminded me a lot of Ananke Alpha from Olympus and the facility where Seven and Axum were being held in Acts of Contrition. With the recent reveal of the alien-possession-rehab centre in Takedown, it makes me wonder just how many of these secret facilities does the Federation have?

    I'll go back and read the rest of the thread now.

    .
     
  14. DS9Continuing

    DS9Continuing Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Yeah, gotta agree there - the constant, endless recapping got a bit tiresome. I understand the need to get a reader up to date with the backstory in case they didn't read it for themselves, especially for readers who don't know all this stuff off by heart like I do. But it can be done in a much more subtle way, surely. The Anvil of Exposition was dropped with far too much regularity and consistency. Let us know what we need to know when we need to know it. Telling us everything right at the beginning of the scene whether we need to know it or not rather breaks the fourth wall.

    And when he started recapping his own story while he was still telling it... SMH.

    I see everybody else noticed the similarity with the Beasts/Plagues/Dawn trilogy too.


    It's not a matter of ruining a character and then reversing it - it's a matter of taking a character on a journey down and then back up again. I can't speak from personal experience of depression like some other posters, but Sisko's character arc in that trilogy seemed perfectly reasonable and understandable to me. Saying you don't like something is fine; saying it's out of character when it blatantly is in character because he's already done it is not.


    Well, there were several inciting events. We didn't 'see' them but we were told about them - the Ascendant attack, the Ohalavaru attack, Rebecca's kidnap, Eivos's death, the Borg invasion, his father's death, Vaughn's near-enough-death... a series of unfortunate events that convinced Sisko he was a bad luck charm. Sudden to the reader, certainly, but not sudden to the character.


    Yeah, this is frustrating too. I've said before how editing standards seem to have slipped, just as regards simple typos and mis-speech. Even if you can overlook them in isolation, they have a cumulative effect in leaving a bad taste.


    The point is that we didn't see it. It was hinted at several times - in books like Zero Sum Game, Rough Beasts etc - that 'something' had happened to Taran'atar, but it was left unclear whether he had died or just left. We were certainly never shown it happen, because it was in the 'gap'. That was until Revelation, when DRG3 explicitly established that Taran'atar had in fact died, in order to set us up for his surprise 'return' at the end of that book.

    (Now, before Sacraments came out, I interpreted that as Taran'atar's death being faked. But it being explained by Kira having gone back in time to before his death was a pleasant twist.)
     
  15. rfmcdpei

    rfmcdpei Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    There was a gap of seven years between The Soul Key and George's latest. I can imagine a certain amount of recapping was necessary.

    Regardless. I quite like this book, stitching together as it does disconnected bits of a universe. The Ascendants/Endalla crisis looks like it's going to be cataclysmic, certainly.
     
  16. JeBuS

    JeBuS Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    What can I say? It's got a tiny bit of good stuff, where the plot seems to advance. But in the end, it's typical David R George III.

    I'm beginning to think that this man has no idea what it means to advance a plot. Either that, or he has no idea how to write a plot which encompasses only a single book.

    This novel is basically a sequel to Revelation And Dust, which was itself an awful, unfinished piece of literature. And you know, DRG3 is consistent, because this is also an awful, unfinished piece of literature.

    If it wasn't for the fact that I'm a big fan of TrekLit, I would never pick up another novel by David R George III. But since I am, I guess I'll continue to hold my nose and read this hack's work, because for whatever reason, The Powers That Be seem to continue to give him contracts to write in this universe.
     
  17. Idran

    Idran Commodore Premium Member

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    What are you talking about? Being a fan of Treklit doesn't mean you have to read every single book in Treklit; I love Treklit more than I ever loved televised Trek, but there are plenty of books I haven't picked up or that I dropped partway through.
     
  18. Mage

    Mage Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    This. There are authors I simply do not read anymore.
     
  19. VDCNI

    VDCNI Captain Captain

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    At no point did I say I personally had a problem with it - just that the everyone will open their eyes and realise how great the previous book was belief - isn't necessarily true this time round.
     
  20. bfollowell

    bfollowell Captain Captain

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    Thanks lvsxy808. Sometimes I will forget something minor in a book I read a couple of years ago or more, but I usually remember the important details. This seemed like a big one to forget but, since it kept being mentioned, I figured it must've happened and I'd just forgotten. It happens when you get old.

    Thanks for clarifying for me. Now I don't feel quite so old, for now.