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. Deranged Nasat

    Deranged Nasat Vice Admiral Admiral

    These references to the time gap and the years since the Ascendants arc was introduced make me think back to when I purchased my Trek books from a bookstore that ordered them in for me (before I transitioned to ordering them myself, after getting a laptop). There was a rather elderly woman who was the other regular Trek customer. I heard a lot about her from the owners and met her once when we finally happened to be in the shop at the same time. She loved Trek lit, the novel 'verse continuity in particular, and Taran'atar was her favourite character. This came up because we were buying Warpath at the time, and enthusing about what would happen to him. So this was almost a decade ago. I wonder if she's still alive, and in a position to be reading this.
     
  2. DWMarch

    DWMarch Captain Captain

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    I want to like this book but it is so talky. There is a scene where Ro and Desca are having a long chat and they're interrupted. Will it be some exciting news? No, it's another character reporting about the next scheduled conversation! I'm not saying there has to phaser fire on every page but there was way too much chatter in this one.

    The first real action in the book is the Taran'atar vs. Ascendant fight but since it's told in flashback it's of no consequence. The book should have opened with this scene. I also felt like this was very similar to the Taran'atar vs. Hirogen fight from one of KRAD's novels.

    Once Odo gets to the research facility it takes him forever to walk down a hallway. I'm reading my copy on a phone so I don't know if the pages are different from a printed copy but it was more than a dozen pages of walking down a hallway, again chatting and again repeating the same things that had already been gone over several times.

    Act II of the book summarizes Act I briefly and in such a way that it made me wonder why Act I was so ponderous.

    There were also a few instances in which something bad was anticipated and then nothing ends up happening. Here's some bad guys in a cave! They might be setting up a trap! Nope, they actually do peacefully surrender.

    In general far too much tell and not enough show.
     
  3. Kertrats47

    Kertrats47 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Well, judging by the rest of the votes, I seem to agree with the majority when I voted outstanding! Definitely enjoyed this one, and really excited for where the story goes next in Ascendance.

    Here's my review.
     
  4. DGCatAniSiri

    DGCatAniSiri Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Really, I think my biggest complaint about Sacraments of Fire is the same one I have a lot about DRG's works that all but have the words 'part 1' on the cover or end with the words 'to be continued': It's a lot of set up. It's not bad set up, not unengaging, but by the end, it feels like we haven't had much chance for resolution. It only starts to feel like things are happening around the last few chapters, with the rest of the book spent maneuvering everyone into place.

    That said, I do appreciate the way that he's portraying the Ascendants conflict. I was dreading that it would be straight up flashbacks, which I felt wouldn't give the story its proper due. Instead, we're getting modern day Kira (more or less) back in that time frame and seeing it from an alternate perspective, weaving it into the modern story. I still would have liked a solely Ascendants story set in the post-Soul Key time frame, but I consider this a good alternative.

    Obviously, the conclusion is still to come, but I'm honestly excited for it in a way I haven't been for a while, mostly due to DS9's overall absence in the modern Trek stories. Now, with the biggest lingering plot thread about to be dealt with, we can see the DS9 story move forward. We're about to move beyond where there's a road map, and I'm eager for the chance (much like Sisko regarding the exploration mission for the Robinson).

    I am, though, noticing the same trend that has fallen on the TNG novels, in that I have no idea who half of the people of importance on DS9 ARE anymore. Ro, Cenn, and Blackmer are the only characters who I've got a solid grasp on as characters. There are a handful of other characters who are spoken of as having prominence, but I still don't know who they are. And even some of the characters I do know and have cared about got little attention - Quark gets just a couple of appearances, Nog's a focus for about a chapter before leaving the story (narrative constraint, given his appearance in The Poisoned Chalice, but still), O'Brien has a brief appearance in the first chapter then disappears, Prynn's only appearance comes near the end for a reprimand for her actions in A Ceremony of Losses... The modern day DS9 crew are surrounded by characters that I have no concern for or connection to.

    I'd just like to see a few more stand alone stories that let these characters GET developed, give the characters of focus location beyond a central select two or three have more of a chance to make an impact. It's what I've loved with the Voyager novels' slower pace, and I'd like to see more of a chance for the TNG and DS9 novels to get that opportunity.
     
  5. starri

    starri Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    On the whole, I didn't really care for the book, because it was a little piecemeal (like if was flipping channels, one scene with one character, and then another, and then another), the continued flip-flopping of the time line was a little hard to keep up with, and I really have no idea why it was necessary to set this book so closely after Bacco's assassination. Because the time jump that it makes just doesn't make any sense.

    There were plenty of notes that worked: DRG really knows what makes Ro and Kira tick, I think, and the character moments with Cenn and Blackmer hit more than they missed. And I'd be lying if I said
    "My name is Taran'atar. I am dead. I go into battle to reclaim my life. This, I do gladly for my friend Kira Nerys"
    didn't strike me straight-on in the feels.

    But there was too much that seemed really out-of-character.

    Akaar has always been portrayed as a hard-ass, but not an out-and-out asshole, and I find it hard to believe that if he had that big a problem with DS9 being Ro's command, he wouldn't just have her replaced.

    Unless I'm forgetting something, the Ohalavaru have never been portrayed as violent extremists before, and frankly, as a non-believer myself, the way that secular people came off here left a bad taste in my mouth. I don't know if the religious came off much better--particularly since the Ascendants are so awful--and perhaps that's just my own blind-spot at work, but I just didn't care for it.
     
  6. Idran

    Idran Commodore Premium Member

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    Altek Dans' appearance almost immediately after her assassination, mostly; it had to be dealt with in some way. But that was only the first half of the 2385 events, the second half of the book was post-Fall.
     
  7. starri

    starri Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I get that they had to deal with Doctor Altek, but then why not deal with it in the context of what what happening at that time, instead of randomly jumping months ahead with just a cursory recap of what had happened in The Fall, and no mention at all of what had happened in The Missing?
     
  8. Idran

    Idran Commodore Premium Member

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    They did deal with it in the context of what was happening at the time, literally half the book was set in that time period.

    And it was probably a structural thing; the present-day stuff was focused on two periods about three months apart, and the past stuff was focused on two periods about three months apart. The pacing would've felt really weird if the present-day stuff was spread out over the course of those three months while the past stuff was concentrated. I suppose DRG could've spread out section 2 to cover those months, but there were only 8 chapters there, I'm not sure how effective that would be. (And you couldn't spread out the past events either because there wasn't really anything that happened over the course of the three months, it was just long-haul travel.)

    As for not mentioning The Missing, the events of The Fall were much more relevant to the events of this book than the events of The Missing; unless I'm forgetting something significant, I don't think there was anything in The Missing that tied into this. I suppose there could have been a passing mention involving Akaar's reaction? They also didn't mention Takedown, which was arguably even more significant to DS9 given how wide-spanning it was, but Takedown and The Missing didn't mention each other even though ostensibly they happened concurrently, so I don't really know what to say about it.
     
  9. Brefugee

    Brefugee Living the Irish dream. Premium Member

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    I'm finding this a very slow read almost boring read, about thirty pages in and the last few have just been one massive un-needed info dump about Odo!
     
  10. starri

    starri Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    That's my point. Why bother doing the jump forward at all? Or, why not make the jump sooner? I mean, did the few chapters about the Robinson on patrol on the Tzenkethi border really do anything in the narrative apart from padding the length?
     
  11. Klaus

    Klaus Vice Admiral Admiral

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    These debates remind me of those about the "arc" and "non-arc" elements in B5 episodes, and what was more important. I'm just enjoying the ride.
     
  12. TheUsualSuspect

    TheUsualSuspect Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I voted Above Average, but it's very close to Outstanding in my opinion.

    Having the prophets send Kira back to the events of the Ascendants' storyline was a great move, I thought. I feel we're still left in suspense as to whether the events will still play out the way they did before (with the death of Taran'atar, etc.) or if Kira may cause changes in the timeline. It also seems like the having this book and Ascendance resolve the Ascendants' plot may open the door for some other stories set in the past of the DS9R timeline. (I'd be interested in seeing someone give us the story of Rebecca's kidnapping and rescue.) It also seems to leave open the question for now of whether or not Kira will survive and return to her own (present) time.

    As someone else said, it does seem like whatever attacked Odo on the science base may be some part of the Progenitor. I also wondered if it could be a group of Changelings that was somehow separated from the Founders long ago.

    It seems to me like the stuff about Altek Dans and the Ohalavaru's discovery may be setting up a plot that may continue for several books. Something like the way the story of Kira's attainting (I think that was the term) unfolded over several novels in the early DS9R

    All in all, this feels to me like it might be the beginning of a return to the DS9 style of telling long stories that play out over multiple books. I'm hoping that we also will get some other authors besides DRG3 involved in this.
     
  13. Paris

    Paris Commodore Commodore

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    DRG3 has signed on for more books, so I hope most of those commitments are for more DS9 stuff. I like the idea of DRG3 continuing his storylines, and then other authors like Una and Jeff Lang coming in to tell "side stories" like Una's recent DS9 book, The Missing; or Lang's supposed O'Brien/Nog buddy story that Margaret said was coming in 2015. I guess we'll see :techman:
     
  14. TheUsualSuspect

    TheUsualSuspect Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Great news about more books from DRG3! If we do return to having multiple authors, I hope that there's a way to tighten the continuity within the novels a bit. I feel like some of the stuff about Altek Dans' ongoing status issues could have been covered or supplemented in The Missing, and some of the initial stuff about how his sudden appearance was handled could have been in the early parts of A Ceremony of Losses that were set on DS9. (As I recall, some people complained that the wormhole reopened and Altek appeared at the end of Revelations and Dust, and then no mention was made of that in the subsequent Fall books.)
     
  15. Mage

    Mage Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I wouldn't mind DRGIII doing another Enterprise-B novel. I loved the work he did on both on those. But more DS9 is never a bad thing either. ;)
     
  16. Tirius

    Tirius Captain Captain

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    I ended up voting Above Average. Let's get the two things that prevented it from getting Outstanding out of the way first: the recapping (which I completely understand given how many years it's been since The Soul Key was published) and the fact that we didn't get to see as much of the Even's crew as I'd hoped (which I also understand as this storyline obviously needed to focus on Kira and Taran'atar).

    The highest praise I can give Sacraments is that it felt very much like Avatar part 1 did. This is definately the first novel that really gave me a feeling for what daily life on the new station is like, no small feat given that it had to share the story with two starship-based threads too. Highlight for the book however, was Kira's reconnecting with Taran'atar. These two characters have such great chemistry, please let Ascendance find some way of keeping it (and them) alive!

    I'm hoping this is course change back to the format of the earlier Relaunch books, because after so many crossovers I really missed DS9. Regardless, I'm very much looking forward to the next book.
     
  17. BritishSeaPower

    BritishSeaPower Captain Captain

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    About a 1/4 of the way through the book and I'm enjoying it. However, I feel like other than picking up right from R&D, the hardline of keeping this section right around the early portions of The Fall feels weird.

    I was a little weirded out by Kira thinking she felt sorry that Taran'atar was a non-beilever, that's not quite how I remember Kira. Cenn saying it a chapter or two earlier about Ro felt abrasive but in-character.
     
  18. DS9Continuing

    DS9Continuing Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I took it as Kira thinking more about how it must feel to lose a faith you once had, since she knows the comfort she gets from it, as opposed to just being a non-believer in general. Whereas Cenn I couldn't definitely picture thinking to himself, "There must be something wrong with those people."

    .
     
  19. trash80

    trash80 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I enjoyed it but the recapping was a bit tedious at times and the recap of the recap downright annoying. Maybe there should have just been a recap prologue to set the scene then the story could have flowed more. Can't wait for the next book.
     
  20. Enterpriserules

    Enterpriserules Commodore Commodore

    You really hit the nail on the head for me. I want so much to love the book cause it is DS9, but so much of it just felt like the setup with so little payoff at the end. It would help if we were not waiting so long for the resolution. I like that we are finally filling in the gaps, I just wish the first book in the story was not so much of the stitching the quilt together.

    Again nailing my thoughts

    I think this is a mistake with the DS9 books that there are so few of the original crew left on the station. I understand the realism of it, but I like the way the TNG and VOY feel a lot like the series because enough of the main cast is still around. I truly think Sisko needs to be stationed at DS9 in some capacity. I think him being an admiral of that sector or something makes a lot of sense with the Robinson as his flagship. I'd also like to see Bashir back at some point. I could be in the minority, but I like the books having a majority of the main cast in them.