BOOK || Star Trek: Destiny Trilogy

Friday, 15 May 2015

We've all gathered on this blog that I'm a bit of a nerd/geek/Trekker. I love Star Trek and recently I've been on a real kick for The Next Generation series. I've been watching the series again and the movies and I've completely fallen in love with it. I blame sporadic episode watching (thank you scheduling gods and general lack of remote control seniority in my house) for my previous lack of sincere interest in TNG. I've binge-watched seasons one through three and I've completely fallen for the series. It maaaaay give Voyager a run for it's money now. Ssssh, don't tell Janeway. Since I'm fully read up on the post-return-to-Earth Voyager books, I decided to start into some of the TNG ones. But where to start since there are about 137 of those suckers!

I started with the Titan series because it appeared to be the most stand-alone of them all. Yes, they do become tangled with the TNG ones because of the characters and the fact that Commander William Riker is now Captain William Riker. Let's take a moment and scream, "FINALLY!" 

^^ Fandom clash of win! Didn't really make the point but eh, well, gonna work with it.

I followed through with these books in order and they became interlocked with another series of books. Those were the moments when my brain would implode with dread because what if there were bits of information that I needed know from the past of x, y and z and I had to read this book to get all caught up? The Titan books became an integral part of the Destiny trilogy. I couldn't just skip these three books and continue on with the books that focused solely on Titan because intense and important stuff goes down in Destiny (I kinda read a synopsis of what happens in character bios on Memory Beta. I like spoilers, okay!). Nevertheless, I pressed on and started into the Star Trek: Destiny trilogy.

Destiny is divided into three books; Gods of Night, Mere Mortals and Lost Souls. All three are written by David Mack and this is the first time that I've encountered his writing. I've largely read books by Christie Golden and Kirsten Beyer (Voyager novelists) and the authors of the first Titan books so I had no idea what his writing style was like or how he was with the characters that are so well established in both canon and non-canon platforms.

This isn't going to be an actual book review but more a series of thoughts that I had whilst reading or I hope that it comes out like that. These books were released in 2008 so I'm rather late to the party but that's the beauty of books, they're never out of date and you can come to them at any point in time.

When I started reading Gods of Night, I have to admit that I found it rather overwhelming at first. Not only does the action take place on four different starships that are in four different locations in the galaxy, but also in different time periods. The action focuses on U.S.S. Enterprise-E under Jean-Luc Picard, the U.S.S. Titan under William T. Riker, the U.S.S. Aventine under Ezri Dax (she's a Captain, huh-what? Yup. Lil Ezri is a fully fledged capitan!) and the U.S.S. Columbia under Erika Hernandez - remember her from Enterprise which is set oh, two hundred years in the PAST! Yeah, my head was spinning for ages considering the Aventine comes across the crash-landed Columbia in the future or the present considering that the bulk of the action takes places in 2381. Is your head spinning, yet?  

Unlike most books that have just one chronology that is strictly linear from beginning to end, this time-skipped and location skipped with every single chapter,. My only mercy was that each chapter was self-contained for the most part. The action of Hernandez et al was contained to their own era of chapter as were those of the Titan etc, well, to begin with anyway. However, like the books of A Song of Ice and Fire, that jumping around would often make me forget what happen when we last encountered said time or character. I was forever forgetting what had happened to Tyrion or Sansa or Catelyn. It was no different for Titan, Enterprise or the Columbia. I did quickly catch up but it was still a pain. Maybe my attention span isn't that great. I'll confess to that. 

Once the ball got rolling and I understood what was going on and how everything was coming together, then I really became hooked. (I also raced to get to the chapters with Will and Deanna for obvious reasons because they were quite angsty in these books! Plus, they're my favourites.)

Mere Mortals was definitely where my interest was really piqued in this series. The books focus on an impending and catastrophic attack on the galaxy by the Borg. They aren't interested in assimilation anymore. They're only interested in one thing; annihilation and Earth has a great big bullseye attached to it. Earth is their endgame and they'll destroy any ship or planet in their way. You have to bet that Picard et al aren't about to let that happen. 

Book Two progressed at a much faster pace. I devoured this book in a matter of days. Hernandez quickly became a character that I loved but at the same time wanted to hit. You have to love those characters. Ezri was also a character that I didn't expect to like as much as I did in books two and three. I liked Ezri when she first appeared on Deep Space Nine as that young Ensign that was thrown into the deep end of being joined to a symbiote in a critical emergency when she wasn't trained but just happened to be the only Trill in range. Now, she's come into her own and she's not afraid to roll a hard six and get shit done! She's grown a spine and isn't afraid to stand toe-to-toe with the likes of Picard and Riker. I loved that. 

The last third of Mere Mortals was intense! I couldn't believe what Mack did during those final chapters. I actually felt like I was reading something from A Song of Ice and Fire. Mack wasn't afraid to take your feelings and snap them in half the way that George R.R. Martin does. I was in shock and couldn't believe what was happening and I loooooved it! That ending was insane and I jumped immediately into book three, Lost Souls

Lost Souls continued with the same intensity that Mere Mortals left off with. It was non-stop from beginning to end as they figure out how to stop the Borg armada headed for Earth and recover from what just happened at the end of book two. All bets are off and they're trying to come up with any plan that they can think of to stop them. You better know that it's going to be something insane. And sure enough it was. Though, it did remind me of Star Trek Voyager's Elite Force PC-game with some of the missions involved in it. I was obsessed with that game and there have been times when I've wanted to play it again! It's probably out of date for the new servers of these new-fangled computers. 

In book 3 Ezri and Erika really came into their own. I loved how they bonded and bounced ideas off of eachother. It was great to see the girls come up with the insane and ballsy plans and not the fellas. It reminded me of when B'Elanna and Janeway would bounce ideas back and forth and get carried away. 

I loved when the action was building to its climax. I know that with a lot of books, series and films that I'm often disappointed with how everything is so nicely wrapped up in a nice little bow in the space of a minute or a page. It's so anticlimatic to me. Not with these books. Yes, it was wrapped up in a nice little bow but it took a while to tie that bad boy up! 

Aside from the bouncing all over the place in terms of place and time, I have another complaint with these books. Most of the characters are written well for an established canon. However, there are times when Picard or Riker would say something that wouldn't sit quite right with me. Never have I known Picard to utter a French expletive in any situation no matter how dire it is. Those moments didn't sit right with me. Also there were moments that I thought were awkward in how they were address each other; in moments where I knew they were refer to Geordi by his first name, they used his full rank or surname or sometimes both. It didn't read well or sound right. Sometimes the terms used wouldn't be quite right but I soldiered through. However, the biggest struggle I had with these books was when Beverly Crusher was featured. In the amount of books that I've read, she is often the most infuriating character to me. I love her character in the series, I do, and I adore Gates McFadden but in the books she is often the most misinterpreted. In the Destiny books, I felt like she was a superfluous character who was just there to keep an eye on Picard and incubate his heir (spoiler alert! They're married and have a kid on the way!). I hated the chapters where she was featured and I felt like she was so poorly written. She didn't sit well with me at all.

All in all, I did thoroughly enjoy this trilogy and the characters that it introduced and merged together. It was fascinating to know how the Borg were actually created and how they became so all consuming. It made sense when reading it and it was a jaw dropping moment when the penny dropped that that was how the Borg were started. Read it and your jaw will drop too.

For a first encounter with this author, I enjoyed Mack's style of writing as he doesn't have too much exposition like a couple of the more recent TNG books I've been reading have been. He had a good grasp of the characters and how they interact and act under pressure, except Beverly. I really enjoyed these books and would recommend them to any Star Trek fan. Just don't expect much from Dr. Crusher. 

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