Attention: anyone making jokes that involve attaching an exclamation point to the end of the book's title, or of its working title for that matter, will be shot on sight. Thank you for your cooperation in this matter. I don't quite know where to begin here. People sometimes say that when they know full well where to begin, but want to make some point about how many flaws or virtues a book has. This is not one of those instances. I really don't know where to start putting down my thoughts about this book. With the cover, I guess: it is a fine cover. It's well known that I'm a whore for matte covers in any case, but this one is especially nice: Taran'atar's face is so large that it's downright creepy to look at. The book itself, then. The bottom line is that I wouldn't call this a bad book, but it is in many ways an unsatisfying one. One problem is one that I think it shares with another highly-anticipated post-finale release, namely Unity: too much of its plot is eminently foreseeable. After I read the back cover and the first 20 pages or so, the general arc of the book- "Vaughn vs. Taran'atar: This Time It's Personal"- was pretty clear. (Except for the ending, of course, but I'll come to that.) This is not a crippling flaw, but it does make it more difficult to stay engaged in the plot. On the other hand, keeping the reader engaged was the eminently readable prose. I had some concerns that the writing in David Mack's last book, Harbinger, was a bit awkward, so the flowing work here was a great relief. As I've mentioned elsewhere, I started Warpath right on the heels of rereading Olympus Descending, and at first the clash between David R. George's verbose style and Mack's sparer work was jarring, but with time I slipped into the fast-paced rhythms of Warpath. As ever, Mack does a good action sequence, and this book is full of them, which is something of a double-edged sword. On the one side, it allows the author to shine; on the other, it renders the book a touch monotonous, as the intervals of less-intense material seemed too brief and rare for my tastes. I really liked Prynn in this book. From the subtle plan to damage the runabout to freeing herself aboard the Klingon ship, she displayed a great strength of character, resourcefulness, and humor. ("You're a real prince." ) I absolutely did not enjoy Kira's coma experiences. They were, as with most of the book, well-written, but that's about the only positive thing I can find to say. This seemed too similar to Kira's previous experience in "Horn and Ivory," with a touch of Vaughn's Benny Russell vision from Unity. I wasn't a great fan of either of those, but they at least had a certain novelty. This just felt passe and unenlightening. (That they have to work with the Eav'oq is some great lesson? Or that they'll need allies against the Ascendants?) The anagram games pulled me out of the story after a while, too, though I did get a kick out of the use of runabout names. And once Kira started having visions, it was clear she wasn't going to die: no one ever dies after having Spiritual Visions from The Other Side. Which brings me to Kira and Ro's injuries. I felt minor annoyance at how "critically injured- may well die" turned into "you'll be fine in a couple of weeks." It's not that I wanted either of them to die- far from it, as I think both have far too much story potential as is. But the great emphasis on how close to death they both were makes their ultimate survival feel like a bit of a cheat. Sure, Kira now has an artificial heart, but unless that's going to case problems with her, it's a difference that makes no difference. That whole business also left me ill-disposed toward Vaughn's belief that Prynn was dead. I had three problems with that: 1) I felt that the description of Vaughn's emotions was a bit lacking; it didn't draw me in enough to prevent the rational thoughts that follow. 2) She obviously wasn't dead. 3) I reached my limit on The Familial Angst of Elias Vaughn in Unity, thanks. Seriously, I hope this Vaughn/Prynn reconciliation will be our last. There was some nice humor in here as well. "What does your hiccup oath say about that?" and "That's a preganglionic fiber" made me laugh out loud. I enjoyed Ro and Quark's interactions (funny and touching) and Sisko's vigil over Kira (his discussion with Dax was rather ominous, and I like what it suggests for the future). I could have done without Bowers's confrontation with Vaughn; the tense "do I have to have you relieved of duty" scene is another Trek well that has run dry by now. The descriptions of Harkoum were excellent; the prose really evoked what an utter hole it was. The ending. I was flabbergasted. For about twenty minutes I just sat here and wondered what the heck was going on. Then I started fitting things together. No matter how I feel about the rest of the book, I have to give full marks for this awesome twist. I just wish the book had revealed more about it. I think the biggest complaint I have is that Warpath doesn't make sufficient use of the larger tapestry of the post-finale sequence: the little hints end up frustrating rather than tantalizing. Obviously things will move in and out of focus on a book-by-book basis, but nothing much seems to have happened with the Eav'oq since their introduction in Rising Son, and we get only glimmers of what some of the events of Worlds of Deep Space Nine might mean. I enjoyed the hunt for Taran'atar for what it was, but it just didn't do enough, especially knowing that it's going to be at least a year before we see any follow-up on this. On that note: any random information about Fearful Symmetry you'd like to share with us, Marco? I thought not.