Review: Star Trek: Destiny Trilogy

January 29, 2011 Books, Reading, Reviews 4

Star Trek: DestinyStar Trek: Destiny by David Mack

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Book I: Gods of Night
Book II: Mere Mortals
Book III: Lost Souls

Description: Half a decade after the Dominion War and more than a year after the rise and fall of Praetor Shinzon, the galaxy’s greatest scourge returns to wreak havoc upon the Federation – and this time its goal is nothing less than total annihilation.

Elsewhere, deep in the Gamma Quadrant, an ancient mystery is solved. One of Earth’s first generation of starships, lost for centuries, has been found dead and empty on a desolate planet. But its discovery so far from home has raised disturbing questions, and the answers hearken back to a struggle for survival that once tested a captain and her crew to the limits of their humanity.

From that terrifying flashpoint begins an apocalyptic odyssey that will reach across time and space to reveal the past, define the future, and show three captains – Jean-Luc Picard of the U.S.S. Enterprise, William Riker of the U.S.S. Titan, and Ezri Dax of the U.S.S Aventine – that some destinies are inescapable.

This review is based on copies I bought myself.

Marron’s Review:

Star Trek: Destiny is a three-part crossover series that brings four captains together to save not only the Federation, but perhaps the universe itself. Captains Jean-Luc Picard, William Riker, Ezri Dax, and Erika Hernandez must join forces to bring down one of the Federation’s most hated and feared enemies: the Borg.

My initial reaction was, “The Borg? Again?” because the TNG relaunch novels preceding Destiny have involved the Borg as well. I assure you, however, that as wary as I was about reading yet another Borg book — let alone a trilogy — I was not disappointed in the least.

The Borg have been continually adapting and evolving as time has progressed, and this is evidenced in the novels I’ve read preceding the Destiny trilogy. At the end of the previous TNG relaunch novel, Greater Than the Sum by Christopher L Bennet, the Borg left the Federation with a dark message: two planets destroyed, billions of people dead, and the words, “We are the Borg. You will be annihilated. Your biological and technological distinctiveness have become irrelevant. Resistance is futile but welcome.”

Reading those words sent shivers down my spine; it definitely wasn’t the end of things with the Borg, but a gruesome beginning. Imagine a fleet of over 7,000 Borg Cubes spreading out and invading Federation space — and that of every nearby ally or enemy, the Klingons, the Romulans, the Cardassians, the Breen, and on and on. This is just one small part of what David Mack has to offer for the Destiny trilogy.

The story is intriguing, although it was a bit confusing at the beginning. The story skips back and forth in time, from “present day,” where Picard and the others reside, to the “past” where Erika Hernandez — Captain of the NX-02 Columbia and former love of Captain Jonathan Archer — and her crippled ship and injured crew use a special subspace flight technique to travel to a planet 12 light-years away in what feels to them to be a matter of months instead of years.

At first, I wasn’t certain what Hernandez and the crew of the Columbia — or the Caeliar, the aliens that Columbia encountered at the end of its 12 years of travel — had to do with the story. It was, nonetheless, intriguing. I had postulated a hypothesis that turned out to be completely wrong (though a good guess!), and I didn’t actually guess the “surprise twist” to the entire story until the third book.

All three books in the Destiny trilogy kept me wanting more. It was 2 o’clock in the morning when I finished the first book, Gods of Night, and I couldn’t help myself as I scurried around my room looking for the second book, Mere Mortals, so I could continue reading the story. David Mack had completely pulled me in; granted, it took about a third of the first book before I did get pulled in, but once it happened, there was no stopping it. I was hooked.

I don’t want to go into too many details, because I don’t want to ruin the story. I think knowing that the Borg are trying to destroy the Federation after years of the Federation meddling with their affairs pretty much sums up all you need to know before reading these books. The knowledge that billions of lives could be lost, that foes and allies alike must come together for what seems to be a futile battle and find a way to win against such an unstoppable force should suffice. To say any more would be to ruin the stories and the books, and I simply refuse to do that because these books were so good.

The writing is excellent. The characterization for all of the major characters was, I felt, spot on. I don’t think I’ve seen anyone — not even Peter David — tackle Picard and his feelings for/relationship with the Borg as deeply and gut-wrenchingly as David Mack has in these books. The emotions of all of these men and women are beautifully displayed in a way that makes it easy for the reader to understand and even relate; there were times during these books that I found myself moved to tears — actually crying over the things that some of my favorite characters were going through, the pain that they were feeling. I can honestly say that this is a sign of excellent writing because I read a lot of books, and despite sadness and hardships in many of them, I have only actually cried while reading two other books prior to this series.

The story, too, is a masterpiece. I will admit that it felt as though it dragged out in a few places — but those places were few and far between. There is plenty of action with just enough description to get you picturing the story in your head, hearing the voices of those familiar to Trek fans throughout the years — but the writing style isn’t too heavy or burdening; sometimes storytellers will go too far into description or linger too long, use prose that doesn’t fit — David Mack does none of that. The writing is good.

At this point, I feel to say anything else would just be rambling or repeating. This is a fantastic series that will appeal to Trek fans of many different Star Trek series and brings together a wide variety of characters in a compelling and thoughtful way.

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