Spoilers VAN: Summon the Thunder by Ward & Dilmore Review Thread

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by bok2384, Mar 26, 2012.

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Rate Summon the Thunder

  1. Outstanding

    9 vote(s)
    32.1%
  2. Above Average

    12 vote(s)
    42.9%
  3. Average

    7 vote(s)
    25.0%
  4. Below Average

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  5. Poor

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. bok2384

    bok2384 Commander Red Shirt

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    [​IMG]


    With the kind permission of Sho, apologies for the rather large image but I don't know how to make it smaller, I'm putting up the third installment in the "retro review thread" and the second novel in the Star Trek: Vanguard series, Summon the Thunder by Dayton Ward and Kevin Dilmore.

    Summon the Thunder was released in 2006 and continues on the story from Harbinger and sees the USS Lovell and its team of Starfleet Corps of Engineers (re)introduced into the series. The Lovell and her crew had previously been introduced in the SCE novel, Foundations, working with "Scotty" on several occasions, as well as Where Time Stands Still and Distant Early Warning.

    Here is the official blurb from the Simon and Schuster website:

    You can also read an excerpt here: http://books.simonandschuster.com/S...tar-Trek-Vanguard/9781416524007/browse_inside

    Finally, a note about spoiler policy: This review thread is for a book that, at the time of posting, is several years old and which has several sequels. While discussing the book's events and merits in hindsight of those sequels is expected to be part of the appeal of the thread, please be mindful of readers who are reading the series for the first time (such as myself :)). Refer to facts from later installments obliquely if you can, and consider to surround critical information with spoiler tags. But don't strain yourself too much all the same - beware ye who enter here, of possible spoilers!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 5, 2012
  2. Sho

    Sho Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: Vanguard: Summon the Thunder Review Thread

    Good job :). I'll post my review soon ...
     
  3. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Vanguard: Summon the Thunder Review Thread

    I really enjoyed this one, lots of big developments for the series.
     
  4. bok2384

    bok2384 Commander Red Shirt

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    Re: Vanguard: Summon the Thunder Review Thread

    It seems I'm in the minority for voting the novel as average. :( For me it just didn't grip me in the way that other installments, especially those by Mack, did. Although I lapped up the scenes with Pennington, Quinn and the Zakdorn.

    However, I'm starting to think that I have issues with Ward's writing. With this, In the Name of Honor and That Which Divides, I found my attention wandering, and I didn't even finish Paths of Disharmony.
     
  5. Patrick O'Brien

    Patrick O'Brien Captain Captain

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    Re: Vanguard: Summon the Thunder Review Thread

    I voted outstanding. Another great entry in the Vanguard saga:bolian:
     
  6. Yevetha

    Yevetha Commodore

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    Re: Vanguard: Summon the Thunder Review Thread

    I like it so far.
     
  7. Sho

    Sho Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: Vanguard: Summon the Thunder Review Thread

    This review has been a long time coming as I finished Summon the Thunder several weeks ago already, sorry :). It also won't be as long as my Harbinger review, mostly because I find it a bit harder to pin down my thoughts about this one.

    See, the thing is - it's not like I didn't like it. Indeed I liked many things about it, various individual scenes and character moments (and I'll mention some of them below). But the pacing's a bit off - especially the first half feels rather meandering - and so it didn't grip me in the same way that Harbinger managed to do thanks to its very economic structure of pivoting everything around the destruction of the Bombay in some way.

    OTOH, at other times I found myself thinking that the very even, plodding sort of plot progression combined with a lot of jumping between the different, parallel story threads certainly made it feel appropriately broad and TV show-y (like watching a string of episodes of a serial drama), so I'm not sure it's really such a bad thing. Varying the tone of the books within the series a bit probably helps keep things fresh, too.

    Now, in terms of strengths, one thing Thunder definitely did well at was making me much more interested in some of the characters I didn't connect with during Harbinger, especially Reyes. While Reyes continues to be difficult to peg in the end, in the first book it was mostly a lack of information that left him rather faceless, while Thunder made him into a fascinating, mercurial commanding officer who is equally tormented by demons and bristling with resolve. Seeming to lack a strong "Captain" character made me a bit uneasy about Vanguard in the beginning, but now Reyes might well be right up there.

    I also liked the Endeavour bits quite a bit, especially Klisiewicz's POV chapter(s?) on the bridge and the mess hall scene with McCormack. And I found it oddly satisfying when the book made more of Khatami's self-doubt at her new command position than just the cliché of having everybody pat her on the back and reassure her: There are indeed those among the crew who would doubt and critizie her judgement, which is only natural, and made the situation feel that much more realistic.

    Not enough Pennington for my tastes, but I'll live :p.

    Those last few chapters certainly did pick up pace, though (plus I always appreciate more Jetanien), and make for an interesting lead-up to Reap the Whirlwind, a review thread for which I'm planning to open pretty soon.

    Verdict: Average.
     
  8. Thrawn

    Thrawn Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    Re: Vanguard: Summon the Thunder Review Thread

    On re-reading, I have to agree. Re-reading Harbinger, despite knowing everything that happened, was still incredibly gripping. This just wasn't. Ward and Dilmore obviously made a strong effort at continuing all of the amazing things Mack set up in Harbinger, with sweeping plot developments and character arcs with a bit more meat to them than usual Trek fare, but weren't quite up to the task. The plot development is slow and the characters are just a little bit less sparklingly awesome.

    I do think Ward does better in Open Secrets, and I haven't read What Judgments Come yet, so I can't comment on that. I'm fairly certain this will end up being the weakest Vanguard entry, though. Lots of good ideas and solid developments, but it just isn't written especially well. (Granted, I'm comparing to Mack, who's one of my absolute favorites, but still.)

    Maybe 7/10?
     
  9. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I feel the same way, sadly.

    SUMMON THE THUNDER is okay. I enjoyed it but I can't say I quite got the meal I was looking for out of this volume. Weirdly, I think it may have to do with the fact I was eager to get back into the character journeys of the vividly realized cast from HARBINGER but instead got a focus on the plot. The characters, however amusing Quinn and Pennington kidnapping a mob accountant may be, didn't seem to progress much in the story.

    It says something I was more interested in the relationship of a Romulan commander and her subordinate than I was in the explosion of a planet midway through the book. Really, the best part of the book was the Romulan and Ambassadorial sections that seemed the most removed from the main cast. We get some information about the Tholians, the big threat, and some more but it does seem to be not as much happened character wise as I'd hoped.

    Still, I'm not turned off the series either.

    7/10
     
  10. David Mack

    David Mack Writer Commodore

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    Then the good news is that the next installment in the Vanguard saga is one of my favorite things that I've written, and possibly the most pivotal volume in the entire series.
     
  11. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I think it says a lot that when I saw you were writing it, I had the same reaction when I saw Dan Abnett's name on the Horus Heresy books.

    *Fist Bump*
     
  12. David Mack

    David Mack Writer Commodore

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    When you read RtW, pay close attention to the imagery and symbolism regarding T'Prynn and Lurqal, and to the Miltonian references in the sequences involving Theriault and the Apostate....
     
    Idran and Charles Phipps like this.
  13. Jedi Ben

    Jedi Ben Commander Red Shirt

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    And he's not kidding Charles.
     
  14. Reanok

    Reanok Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    David Mack is right there'a alot of important story details in each book that continues into each book in the Vanguard series and takes unexpected twists and turns you don't expect with all the main characters.story arcs.