I've been looking forward to reading this two-part book series since it was first announced. The first volume includes stories that cover Star Trek: Enterprise, Star Trek, and Star Trek: The Next Generation. For the most part, I wasn't let down. The authors of this book really seemed to not only offer wonderful stories that covers Trek's interesting 'Mirror Universe' but they also offer something new and fresh, things that were not present in the episodes, creating a sort of definitive history of the Mirror Universe.
For me, the first two stories, Enterprise's 'Age of the Empress' and Star Trek's 'Sorrows of the Empire', were great. These stories compliment one another, continuing where respective episodes of the shows ended. The Enterprise story was so well written that I could easily get into the story and visualize the characters and see this playing out in the television series. The only part that let me down about the story was the last page that ends with a minor cliffhanger. Is this going to be followed up in another book in the future? If not, what was the point of it? It ends the story on a note that I hope gets addressed in the second volume of stories. If not, it's puzzling and awkward and weakens the story.
'Sorrows of the Empire' picks up where 'Mirror, Mirror' left off and follows the rise and fall of Emperor Spock from the Star Trek series through the era of Star Trek: The Undiscovered Country. This is by far a must read. It was worthy of being its own stand-alone novel, epic, moving, well written. It plays to the fan's fancy; you get a rather Original Series story; and examination of morals and an individual's sense of duty and obligation that goes beyond his or herself, cameos from the main original series crew (with the exception of Chekov, Rand and Chapel) through characters who played a major role in the movies (Dr. Carol Marcus, David Marcus, Colonel West, Admiral Cartwright, Sarek, Amanda, Saavik, Valeris, the list goes on). It was gripping from the first page to the shocking (even if expected) ending. This would be one of those stories I'd recommend any true Trek fan to read and dare not to get into and appreciate and like.
Then, this is where this first volume takes a dissapointing turn for me. We go from two great stories that have some continuity between them and feature the casts and characters of both shows ... to a rather predictable, ill-thought out, dull, fan-fic-ish 'amateur' feeling 'Next Generation'. You can gather from the title, 'Worst of Both Worlds' what it deals with; the Borg of the Mirror Universe. Sounds interesting but it was a let down. After reading the first two stories, I expected more from this. It feels as if this story takes a great detour from the previous stories, not adding much at all to the 'history' the first two stories seemed to build up and instead offering a story that was bland and packed with average writing and every predictable line and outcome you can imagine. By the end, I found myself rolling my eyes and hardly able to get through the story. Unlike the other stories, this one features just Mirror Picard and offers a few cameos of recurring TNG characters. No Worf, Riker, La Forge, Troi, Crusher, Guinan or anything. Even with the inclusion of Vash and Gul Madred, this story couldn't be saved and seems like a waste of pages and space. I'm sure a better story, featuring a few more regular characters, could have been throught out.
Besides the dissapointing 'The Next Generation' story, this was a great start to the Mirror Universe books. I'd like to think (though I know it's not the case probably) that TNG's story lacked a pressence of other stories out of respect of Mirror Worf, Troi and Crusher and others having larger roles in the older Mirror Universe series 'Dark Passions.' In all, the first two stories play out like great television shows if not movies. They're great, worth the read, easy to get through, will leave you wanting more. TNG's story doesn't add anything to the mix; the Picard character, even if being of another universe, seemed dull and poorly written, and the Borg of this story are simply jokes. I'd still recommend you picking up this book to get exposed to the rather sorted and epic history of the Mirror Universe.