Spoilers TTN: Taking Wing by M.A. Martin & A. Mangels Review Thread

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Defcon, Feb 15, 2014.


Rate Taking Wing

  1. Outstanding

    5 vote(s)
  2. Above Average

    20 vote(s)
  3. Average

    9 vote(s)
  4. Below Average

    0 vote(s)
  5. Poor

    1 vote(s)
  1. Defcon

    Defcon Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    May 9, 2003
    Another Classic Review Thread.

    Titan: Taking Wing by Michael A. Martin & Andy Mangels




    After almost a decade of strife against foes such as the Borg, the Cardassians, the Klingons, and the Dominion, the United Federation of Planets is at the dawn of a new era. Starfleet is renewing its mission of peaceful exploration, diplomacy, and the expansion of knowledge. Among the starships spearheading that endeavor is the U.S.S. Titan, commanded by Captain William T. Riker and manned by the most biologically varied and culturally diverse crew in Starfleet history.

    But their mission does not begin according to plan.
    In the wake of Star Trek ® Nemesis, Praetor Shinzon, slayer of the Romulan Senate, is dead. The power vacuum created by his demise has put the Romulan Star Empire, longtime adversary of the Federation, at the brink of civil war. Competing factions now vie for control of their fragmenting civilization, and if the empire should fall, that entire area of the galaxy may destabilize.

    To restore order to the region, Titan 's long-anticipated mission of exploration is delayed as Starfleet assigns Riker to set up power-sharing talks among the Romulan factions. But even as the first tentative steps are taken toward building a new Romulus, the remnants of the Tal Shiar, the dreaded Romulan intelligence service, are regrouping behind the scenes for a power play of their own. With no other help available, Riker and the Titan crew become the last hope to prevent the quadrant from falling into chaos.



    My review from 2005:

    A still good start for the Titan series.

    But this novel has one big problem, the authors failed to interweave the plot part with the character introduction parts necessary in every “pilot” episode. Don’t understand me wrong, both part work for me, but they are to separated for my taste. There are only really 3 (or 4 if we can count Tuvok as a permanent one) crewmembers who play a big role in the main romulan plot, and all three of those are already known : Riker, Troi and Ranul Keru. All the others and especially the new ones play only minor roles or no role whatsoever in this part of the book. It’s a little bit like they said : O.K. we write the plot part and we write the character part and in the end we put them together, only that they have forgotten the put together part before turning in the manuscript.

    It’s nice to see some of the post-Nemesis romulan political landscape in this novel and the solution of the problem in the end could make for another good novel, which not necessarily has to be a Titan novel. Just a novel focusing on the romulan/reman society with the Klingons sitting directly in their backyard is something I would buy instantly.

    The characterizations are good for the most part. The character I liked the most was the Ferengi geologist Dr. Bralik, I see a hell of a lot potential in her. Most of the rest of the featured crew members are interesting, too. But something I can’t really understand so far is the big deal which was made of the CMO Dr. Ree, in my eyes he is one of the more uninteresting characters. After the initial “Oh, look we have dinosaur-like doctor and he eats raw meat” moments I don’t see much potential for him after what we have seen here. While I’m still no fan of Tuvok, here at least he has more to do than in the Voyager Relaunch and he should stay around. Spock’s involvement in this novel had it’s moments but overall he remains somewhat dull and rather uninteresting compared to other appearances in 24th Century series he has made in the past. Of the Romulan and Reman characters I found the Reman Mekrikuk to be the most interesting, but they are all well characterized in my opinion.

    Overall a decent novel, although it got the benefit of the doubt for being a pilot. If it hadn’t been the first novel of a new series the rating would have been a bit lower.
    tgiokdi likes this.
  2. JD

    JD Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Jul 22, 2004
    Arizona, USA
    Re: TTN: Taking Wing by M.A. Martin & A. Mangels Review Thread (Spoile

    I absolutely love Taking Wing, it is one of my all time favorite Trek books. A definite outstanding vote for me.
  3. bok2384

    bok2384 Commander Red Shirt

    Apr 5, 2006
    Warwickshire, UK
    Re: TTN: Taking Wing by M.A. Martin & A. Mangels Review Thread (Spoile

    Is the Classic Review Thread a regular thing around here nowadays? If it's a sort of book club-type thing than absolutely count me in. I always struggle which novel to pick and reading a book with the community could be a great way of doing it. :)
  4. CaffeineAddict

    CaffeineAddict Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    May 25, 2013
    Re: TTN: Taking Wing by M.A. Martin & A. Mangels Review Thread (Spoile

    I really enjoyed Taking Wing. It was one of the first treklit novels I read last year when I decided to try something other than New Frontier.
    I found the romulan political elements very interesting, with some good characters. I think the current praetor is interesting but I do miss Donatra.
    I also enjoyed Riker recruiting his staff, and putting his multi-cultural stamp on Titan.
    Plus it was the first novel I read with Christine Vale, who is my favourite of the TNG-lit characters.
    So I rated it outstanding. Much as I have enjoyed (most) of the subsequent Titan novels, I think Taking Wing may still be my favourite in the series (the ones actually called "Titan" anyway).
  5. Defcon

    Defcon Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    May 9, 2003
    Re: TTN: Taking Wing by M.A. Martin & A. Mangels Review Thread (Spoile

    It's regular, yeah (Usually a new one every two weeks, this one is a week late due to my forgetfulness :alienblush:), but at the moment it is meant to get more of the older novels into Sho's rating table. But since I have actually posted my schedule for the review threads in the discussion thread, it could also serve as the basis for a book club if people want to use it like that (I couldn't really participate myself though, as my reading time these days is somewhat curtailed).
  6. Tarheel

    Tarheel Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Jan 29, 2014
    Re: TTN: Taking Wing by M.A. Martin & A. Mangels Review Thread (Spoile

    I just finished the novel tonight. I voted Above Average, even thought the plot seemed like more setup and less action. I can forgive that, since this was similar to a pilot episode and therefore had the same limitations and restrictions.

    I enjoyed all of the new characters (and there were many) and felt that the authors did a great job introducing each. Now that the series has fulfilled the Romulan mission introduced in Nemesis, I'm eager to read more adventures, set in the great unknown...
  7. Claudia

    Claudia Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Feb 23, 2006
    Sector 001
    Re: TTN: Taking Wing by M.A. Martin & A. Mangels Review Thread (Spoile

    Read that book back when it first came out - and based on my (unfortunately German) review back then, I voted for Average. Nothing really positive stands out, but neither does anything too negative.

    What bothered me were those telepathic communications between Riker and Troi. I feared that it would make any real chain of command/advising body for Riker impossible if he has some sort of short-connection with Troi all the time. The same goes for those displays of affection on the bridge (embracing, holding hands) - IMO quite improper if you want to keep personal and professional life separated. Melora and Vale remained quite bland, I could have done without the whole Engineering crew, I was intrigued by the Cardassian and Bajoran science officer trying to work together, and I loved Tuvok (finally an opportunity for him to shine?), Keru (who I liked very much in previous novels), Bralik and Ree (though I really have to say that I was quite ashamed by the reaction of the others in the mess hall - I mean Klingons eat living worms, so does Riker on occasion, and they are disgusted by Ree's eating habits? Not very open-minded, I guess...).

    The plot was interesting but a bit overshadowed by the character-elements. I could have done without the conflict between Riker and Akaar or Riker's insecurities about having his own command. He has proven himself time and again as a resourceful leader, so he really should have confidence in his own abilities by now. Spock, unfortunately, was relegated to the role as plotdevice to get Tuvok on board. But then again, I understand that not every book he's in can be solely about him... *g*

    I remember I was intrigued by the beginning of this series, but now in retrospect this novel hasn't made too much of an impact on me... neither did the series later on (though I might pick up Synthesis at least, since I've read quite a few good things about it here recently).
  8. Thrawn

    Thrawn Rear Admiral Premium Member

    Jun 15, 2008
    Washington, DC
    Re: TTN: Taking Wing by M.A. Martin & A. Mangels Review Thread (Spoile

    Both of the first two Titan books really had this problem where they introduced this giant new cast of characters who did exactly nothing whatsoever while the few main characters drove the story. Christopher was the first one who actually made use of the cast.
  9. Mage

    Mage Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Jun 17, 2007
    Re: TTN: Taking Wing by M.A. Martin & A. Mangels Review Thread (Spoile

    A very solid opening for a new series, with some of the usual issues aswell (a lot of new characters, and no real change to give them all a moment) but those issues are kinda normal for a 'pilot'.

    I voted above average, which is saying something, since most of the Mangels/Martin books don't go higher then average for me.
  10. terpette

    terpette Commander Red Shirt

    Jun 7, 2006
    Baltimore, MD
    Re: TTN: Taking Wing by M.A. Martin & A. Mangels Review Thread (Spoile

    I like the diversity of the crew very much. It's been too long since I read the first few books to really make more comments than that. I'm so sadly behind on all my Trek reading. *hangs head in shame*
  11. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    Re: TTN: Taking Wing by M.A. Martin & A. Mangels Review Thread (Spoile

    It's been a while, but I remember that the first two Titan novels weren't that great for me. I'm glad I didn't abandon the series, though, because the later books were very good and above, so they made up for a slow start. It's my favourite series of Treklit.
  12. Mizrach

    Mizrach Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Feb 1, 2017
    Above average for me.
    Romulan politics is great and the writing of Martin is really good. But the Titan's crew need some flesh out and I don't know if I like the development at the end of the book. Too much Voyager-like, but there is potential.
  13. Kertrats47

    Kertrats47 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    May 3, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Leto_II and tgiokdi like this.
  14. Allyn Gibson

    Allyn Gibson Vice Admiral Admiral

    Oct 16, 2000
    South Pennsyltucky
    I vacillate between "Average" and "Below Average," ultimately voting "Average." The problem with Taking Wing, in my view, is that it's a pilot with all the flaws that entails. It has to introduce a cast, set up potential story hooks for the cast down the road, give an idea of what the series will look like when it's not introducing everything, and then find in a plot in the space remaining. There's a decent book in there, but it's only about 40% of the book's actual length.

    As someone said upthread, Orion's Hounds is really where Titan begins and shows what the series, for a time, really was.
  15. BillJ

    BillJ The King of Kings Admiral

    Jan 30, 2001
    Never understood why when the Martin and Mangels group split, that Pocket kept Martin who is clearly the weaker writer? I haven't been able to finish any of his solo Trek outings.
    DS9Continuing likes this.
  16. JD

    JD Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Jul 22, 2004
    Arizona, USA
    I've wondered about that ever since they stopped working together.
  17. Daddy Todd

    Daddy Todd Commodore Premium Member

    Oct 13, 2004
    Andy wondered about that, too.

    Martin by himself is... how shall I put this? I’m not his target audience.
  18. Enterprise is Great

    Enterprise is Great Vice Admiral Admiral

    Oct 24, 2004
    The Island
    I've tried to force myself to read one of Martin's novels for awhile but I just couldn't do it any longer.
  19. DGCatAniSiri

    DGCatAniSiri Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Aug 1, 2008
    Yeah, Martin seems very worldbuilding focused, but at the cost of characterization, where the characters just spin their wheels for the whole novel - emotionally they’re in one place at the start of the novel and have made no progress by the end. Which, when he was solo writing the continuing Titan novels made for a repetitive slog of stories because, yeah, they were visiting fantastic places, but they weren’t really going on a journey.
    borgboy likes this.
  20. Reanok

    Reanok Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Dec 26, 2002
    I really liked the first Titan novel deal with the Romulans I think it's really written. And I've always wondered about the split with Andy Mangels and Micheal Martin for a long time too.