Spoilers DS9: Sacraments of Fire by DRGIII Review Thread

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


Rate Sacraments of Fire.

  1. Outstanding

    23 vote(s)
  2. Above Average

    23 vote(s)
  3. Average

    16 vote(s)
  4. Below Average

    3 vote(s)
  5. Poor

    3 vote(s)
  1. Enterpriserules

    Enterpriserules Commodore Commodore

    ^ Thanks! I specifically wanted to have David talk about why he chose the arc he did for Sisko because I hoped to understand the thought process. I still very much disagree with the way he went with the character because I think that the very end of DS9 clearly set up that The Prophets had much more for Sisko to do as Emissary when he returned to linear time. To me he'd always be of Bajor and set apart. But I am glad to hear David's side.

    It is nice that we are finally getting the secondary characters at the forefront, but like has been said before in the thread, it's hard to care about them when we just have not had the books to dedicate to them like we did when the relaunch began. I am hopeful though for Ascendance since David will be free to chart the story now that the set up is done and hopefully leave us some amazing threads for upcoming DS9 stories.
  2. BritishSeaPower

    BritishSeaPower Captain Captain

    Dec 13, 2005
    New Jersey
    Finished this out this morning... Still very conflicted. I voted "Average" in the poll. There's just something very off in this novel for me. A lot of showing up to watch things happen, as opposed to our characters engaging what's happening, and then checking out as soon it's over. (I'm still puzzled over the non-event that was the Eav'oq sequence in Chapter 31. How did that survive the editing process?) I can't deny it's well written and when the characters are given due characterization, it's great. However, Cenn's story sure made some jumps between chapters. It would have been more interesting for that to slowly roll out over the novel, not two chapters in the last 1/3 of the novel. Ro is an excellent character study, we get in her head, she feels real and alive and I get every decision she makes. But almost everyone else is perfunctory. Sisko has almost no role in this book other than to recap events for the reader. A fair amount of the book is wasted in recapping The Fall, whereas almost no attention is paid to trying to fit in the events of The Missing - which are admittedly minor in the scheme of things - and this leads to the straight duplication of a scene from Una's book. It's just... frustrating to be reading the serial story of DS9 in fits-and-starts, with mutli-year gaps in its narrative where seemingly characters and their motivations have been on pause for 2 years. Much as I've enjoyed a lot of what DRGIII has done with DS9, I hope after the next book we seem some new writers contributing to DS9. Something is very clearly off and I'm more than a little burned after both this and Revelation and Dust. I'm very leery going into Ascendance now.
  3. DS9Continuing

    DS9Continuing Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Jun 29, 2001
    Well see, I thought that "more to do" was a role to play in the Ascendant conflict. The last lines of Unity implied that the Prophets had sent him back for a specific reason, and his story in Fragments & Omens was all about knowing something was coming and starting to prepare for it. The ending of The Soul Key revealed that the whole MU/Iliana mess was only a much smaller part of a larger whole.

    That's why I wrote Sisko to have a major role in the Ascendants conflict - he is after all the Emissary to the Bajorans, whereas Iliana is the Emissary to the Ascendants, so they are set up as opposites right there - after which plot is concluded, the Prophets would "let him go" as seen in Raise the Dawn. Whereas DRG3 has not given him any scenes relating to that plot whatsoever in Sacraments, and no hints that there would be in Ascendance.

  4. Relayer1

    Relayer1 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 21, 2011
    The Black Country, England
    Just returned my copy to Amazon as it was in less than pristine condition when unwrapped...
  5. Enterpriserules

    Enterpriserules Commodore Commodore

    Well I would be upset if he did not have a big role as the Emissary in the Ascendance story because it would just not make sense, but I just don't see a guy who basically became a god at the end of the series becoming nothing more than a starship captain later on (I say god because that is what Behr himself says in reference to Sisko). Sisko has the mind and the make up of an admiral more than anyone else we have seen in Star Trek, he proved it in the Dominion War, he thinks strategically on a big scale. Him as an exploring captain just discounts most of what they gave us in the series and stripping him of the special relationship with Bajor, I personally just don't buy it character-wise.
  6. Elias Vaughn

    Elias Vaughn Captain Captain

    Just because he's good at something doesn't mean he has to want to do it.
  7. Idran

    Idran Commodore Premium Member

    Apr 17, 2011
    Character motivation is up to the writer, though, not the character. If a good writer wants a character to go a certain direction, they'll find a way to make them go that direction and have it come off well. And Enterpriserules is arguing from a narrative perspective anyway, not an in-universe one.

    By the way, I do have to say, Enterpriserules, that I do appreciate how you're willing to go down lines like that in an interview when there's something about the direction of a book that you don't entirely care for or agree with. It'd be easy for a Trek book podcast to fall into nothing but constant fawning, and I like that you're able to avoid that; you definitely give credit where it's due, but you aren't all "this book is flawless" with each new release.

    I might not always agree with the two of you, but I still appreciate your views. :p
  8. Enterpriserules

    Enterpriserules Commodore Commodore

    Thank you for the compliment. In the interview I wanted to give David the opportunity to tell his side, his thoughts on why he took Sisko that direction because I know there where a lot of detractors for quite a while. That inside track was what I fun to hear from every author, the why they do something, even if it was not my personal favorite.

    As for Sisko, yes I think the narrative of DS9 supports him staying Emissary and becoming an Admiral makes much more sense and I'd argue that even in-universe it would fit, I mean the narrative we get in ST only comes from in-universe ;)
  9. JD

    JD Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Jul 22, 2004
    Arizona, USA
    I haven't read the Fall yet, so I don't know the details on Riker's promotion, but it still seems weird to me that Riker ended up an Admiral before Sisko.
  10. Enterpriserules

    Enterpriserules Commodore Commodore

    I feel this as well. Riker becoming an admiral makes sense in the Fall, but really, of all the characters in the 24th century, Sisko is the one that makes the most sense as an admiral with his experience on DS9 and his work with Ross during the war.
  11. Scout101

    Scout101 Admiral Admiral

    Aug 21, 2003
    Rhode Island, USA
    Definitely true, but it would mean he'd have to leave DS9 to tell any good stories. We want to see people moving and growing, but putting Admiral Sisko at DS9 doesn't feel any different than when he was Captain there, so puts us back in a rut and pushes everyone else down a peg. If you want stories with him, felt like they needed to do something different.

    This book felt a little choppy. ANOTHER DS9 book that is trying to wrap up loose ends and set things up, but feels like we've gotten few of those by now, and we're stalled out.

    Unfortunately, while we're finally getting the Ascendants thing covered, it means ANOTHER book where we're going back and backfilling things again instead of moving forward. So all of the day to day stuff we're working to establish goes on pause again so we can just back in time to play with the old station and crew. Then we'll end up with MORE day to day stuff when we hit the present again, because with the schedule, we'll have forgotten it again by the time DS9 rolls around for it's next slot.

    Dunno, had plenty of good stuff, just felt a bit choppy. Wish they'd done Ascendance first, even if it needed to steal a little framework from this story maybe, and then when we moved on, really move on...
  12. Idran

    Idran Commodore Premium Member

    Apr 17, 2011
    I don't think it was that much of an issue, really. It was only the first third of the book that was set at the start of The Fall, the rest was all at the current "present" of the Litverse in December 2385. The backfilling on DS9 was done by chapter 14. And the past chapters in later 2377/early 2378 didn't really feel like filling in gaps to me because of the time travel situation, though I guess that's a semantic distinction. Still, even if you include Kira's segments, about half of the book was still set in Treklit's present.
  13. toughlittleship

    toughlittleship Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Apr 5, 2006
    United Kingdom
    Finished it; I felt it had lots of great storylines like the DS9 Final Chapter on TV. Ascendants, Tzenkethi, Bajorans, Prophets, Cardassians. Well done DRG! (And "Falsework" is the best word ever!)
  14. jaime

    jaime Vice Admiral Admiral

    Sep 2, 2013
    Have been dithering about writing a lengthy post about this book since I read it the day it popped up on my kindle.

    But...I will likely save it for after part two, and when I am using a real keyboard.

    For now I want to raise a few worries.

    1) ds9 spent seven years artfully treading a line that kept both science and religion correct and balanced. The books have mostly done that too. This book looks like the balance is about to be broken on a whim, and for me, that kind of breaks some of the point of the show itself.

    2) the clumsy religious zealot stereotypes, flying their crucifix ships , seem....clumsy. And with my first point combine to bother me about....well, bringing a view to bear on the show that doesn't fit and shouldn't be there.

    (This is why I cannot totally judge till part two is out, it may all be red herring or a misreading. And if I am lucky the prophets will pop the old station back. I hold more hope for one of these than the other.)

    3) Everyone is gone. Can't use Bashir, he's off on his odd relationship shoot out in corridors behind enemy lines books once a year or so. Can't use Dax, she's off ...rescuing Bashir from shoot outs in corridors and eventually her own series possibly. Nog....went off for a cameo halfway through. The deep space nine characters we still have local are either cameos (miles came back from teaching at the academy to have one line per book recently, not even involved in anything to do with his best friend going all insurrection on the world) or are displaced from the main story in b plots or b plots with temporal stuff (Kira, Odo, Sisko....)
    I accept the point in these books is to move the timeline on. I have been reading them for years. But at this point, even the station is gone. There is just no through line. With the disjointed missing years, filling in the gaps chronology affecting these novels, it's really suffering. I have always loved Ro, but I read ds9 novels for ds9 characters. Something actually happening with those, ands maybe them even being in a room together for more than five minutes would be nice. (This affects all trek on going books at the moment, but none more so than deep space nine. Which recently has had bigger guest slots for Crusher and Pulaski than anyone with O'Brien for a surname. I didn't know Colm Meaneys time off contract extended to novels. The only books managing to keep its original characters chugging along support rather than replaced by new ones is Voyager. Though even that obeys the rule about retconning any development made in the series finale that involves romance or death)

    4) revelation and dust was...not good. And ow we dance about in chronology, and finally start getting some blanks filled....and its going to take two novels, released months apart. The pacing in these stories is already a bit off, largely through the fault of all the stop starts on the novels, but can we please just settle it the heck down, and get on with it. We have a setting, we sort of have a cast of characters, can we get a book that doesn't get split across two parts, decades, or has its cast doing what seems like totally unrelated stuff. And stop locking characters down by sending them off to other books, or ignoring books happening in the middle of another book, because frankly it must be annoying for the writers, and now it's got annoying for me too.

    My final point is....for someone only ever talked about on the series, Illiana Ghemor sure has been in a lot of books. Or it feels that way. Can we kill her this time? Or redeem her or something.

    With all that said, and aware of the mess the on going narrative in current books have, I do hope book two will clean up a lot of things and set everything in sensical order. And be a satisfying conclusion to the dozen threads it needs to clean up. I just worry it won't, and given my first two points, May leave me only reading voyager books from now on, mother of all ironies.
  15. Enterpriserules

    Enterpriserules Commodore Commodore

    ^ I resonate deeply with what you said about religion and DS9 and the way that it is being handled now. Sisko in the relaunch, after he came back was so serine and other-worldly. There was just something special about him, he was committed to his family, Bajor and Starfleet. It see seemed clear that he was ready for what was coming with the Ascendants and was preparing those around him for it to. He had what seemed like a still very strong connection with The Prophets. Now he just so mundane. Another explorer, another captain, all that had him stand apart from the rest of the Captains is gone and a big part of that was his connection to Bajor and The Prophets.

    I also lament that the DS9 series is one of the few that does not have a majority of it's main cast involved in it's stories. I am with you, in DS9 stories I want to read about those characters, the same way I want TNG or ENT or TOS characters in those stories. It's why I think Sisko should be an Admiral on DS9 with the Robinson as his flagship (He should also never have been stripped of being the Emissary, he is of Bajor, that is one of his clearest arcs, his home is there because of his connection with the Prophets).

    I want Bashir back after his Section 31 adventures, it would be great to have Miles and him back together.

    I love DS9, it's my favorite show of them all still, but the books, I think need to allow the characters to migrate back to the station (I would love to see Dax get her own series, I am glad she has her own ship now). Bring back Sisko and Bashir and Vic and that gives you them with Nog, O'Brien and Quark, that's not bad at all!
  16. USS Firefly

    USS Firefly Commodore Commodore

    Jan 7, 2013
    I couldn't agree more with you Enterpriserules, thats the reason why I hesitate to buy the book.
  17. Mage

    Mage Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Jun 17, 2007
    I'm personally very happy with the way the old crew and the new crew are all still part of this series. I don't need the same station with the same characters, I need a certain feel to it. And to me, this feels like the show. And that's what I want.

    YMMV ofcourse.
  18. Deranged Nasat

    Deranged Nasat Vice Admiral Admiral

    I must say, I sympathise with this analysis quite a bit. I'm interested to see where the books are going with Sisko, and I do like that we're seeing what is almost the Sisko that used to be, before he went to Bajor, his life restored to a path that seems very much like the life he would have led had he not been influenced by the Prophets. It's interesting enough to see Sisko as though he continued along his original career/life path, but I can't say that's worth removing everything that made him unique. I liked the fact that in the aftermath of Unity he didn't return to Starfleet and was this - as you say - serene figure who conferred with Opaka and wandered in to watch over Kira and was very much grounded on Bajor. He was more an important supporting character now, and that wasn't a bad thing in my eyes. I personally enjoyed his arc in Rough Beasts through to Raise the Dawn, particularly because he had to face that sorrowful future at some point (the series implied it was separation from Kasidy and the baby that was the sorrow, but he was only - yes, "only" is a bit uncomfortable in such situations, for sure! :lol: - gone a year, so that doesn't really work too well in the novels). All in all, I can't say I'm unhappy with where Sisko's been taken - it all makes sense to me and it's been an interesting journey, but its success does hinge upon the inevitable loss of the Sisko I enjoyed, the revocation of everything that made him special. I can't condemn the move as such, I thought it was all handled well, but I am sympathetic to the sense that we've lost something pretty integral to the DS9 setting.
  19. Masiral

    Masiral Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Aug 30, 2013
    Everywhere, and nowhere
    DS9 actually has more of its main cast involved than TNG - DS9 has 5, with Sisko, Kira, Odo, Quark, and O'Brien all still involved, while TNG only has 4: Picard, Worf, Geordi, and Beverly. Bashir has only been gone for 2 books, which is a lot less than Sisko, Odo, or O'Brien were gone in the first stage of the relaunch, and I would imagine he'd return.
  20. Idran

    Idran Commodore Premium Member

    Apr 17, 2011
    O'Brien's more present than involved, honestly; he really was barely in Sacraments of Fire, I can't even remember him doing anything besides existing.