on 7 May 2004
It's been so long since the last New Frontier novel that I'd completely lost the plot; I needn't have worried though, this installment began with a nice, concise recap of where we'd left the characters (written as part of the story so it didn't sound too contrived), then got straight back into the action.
I wouldn't say this was the best book of the series, but it was still an extremely easy and enjoyable read. Anyone who enjoys Peter David's style of writing will enjoy the in-jokes, humorous conversations and daft situations sprinkled throughout the story, and anyone who has come to know the crew of the Excalibur will be pleased to see them reunited in another adventure.
Now I've been brought back up to speed I can't wait to tackle the latest installments in this series!
on 3 November 2003
The New Frontier series has a prestigious heritage of silliness, reaching back to the end of the first mini-series of books when a giant flaming bird ripped out of Thallon and left an egg in the Excalibur's warp core. This attitude is one of the things I like about the series, but I really think that 'Gods Above' takes it a little too far. I mean, can the series retain its credibility after the ship was saved because everyone believed in Santa Claus? Or now that seemingly everyone on board the two ships have some kind of secret super power? Personally I'm counting down the time til Shelby is revealed to be the Tooth Fairy because she seems to be the only person who doesn't have some kind of strange heritage.
Last time I commented on New Frontier, I pointed out that there was absolutely no way either Morgan or McHenry were genuinely dead, because the series would never do any big character changes. Well, in a classic "Be careful what you wish for" scenario, boy was I wrong. While predictably there's a happy ending (ish) for all involved, the crew sees one major departure, one character remains but in a drastically different state than before and another is frankly a totally new personality. I loved Kebron because of his monosyllabic, brunt ways, and his new chatty, polite self just isn't right. So I'm iffy about one of the changes (although I suppose it had to be done in the name of realism - having half a dozen superheroes onboard would pretty much limit any further adventures of the ship), and I hate the other two.
However, while it really did stretch its credibility a little too far, I enjoyed this more than several of New Frontier's previous offerings. It wraps up the mysteries of what to me is 'saga 4' of New Frontier - exactly what that Gateways nonsense was about (although more detail would have been appreciated in that regard), Moke and of course, the situation that arose in 'Being Human' - rather nicely, though I'm not quite sure I like the implication that the last year or so was a result of divine intervention. It's a worthwhile read, resolving the issues of the lacklustre 'Being Human', but I'm not so desperate for more installments in the series thanks to the character changes. They're not quite going to be the same.
The other reason I'm rather reserved about the next book is that it looks to be a "Who shot Mr. Burns" type affair. I have to admit I find the development of the M'Ress/Gleau angle interesting, because other Gleau is supposed to be the bad guy, you're never quite sure. It could very well be just M'Ress' imagination. Oh well, I'll just have to buy the next book to find out ...
on 7 February 2013
I don't know about others, but I found this and its predecessor very much against the grain of the New Frontier spirit, as it were. I found the 3 earlier books to be about average and was hoping things would be better. I did not get my wish.
When you make your characters fight gods, it becomes very difficult to end it well without making those very same gods mortal, in some way. Which takes away from the original premise. This is what happened in this book.
Its not a bad book. But, when you consider who wrote it and what saga it chronicles, it fails to make the grade.
on 9 October 2003
Peter David is on top form with Gods Above, encapsulating everything that makes the New Frontier series such brilliant entertainment. There are as many in-jokes and sarcastic remarks as ever, and the crews' personal lives are just as important as the typical Star Trek element. More importantly, unlike some previous New Frontier novels, where the humour and smutty remarks seem to be more important than the story, Peter David balances everything perfectly in this novel. The Trident crew (Shelby's ship) have finally captured my attention just as much as the Excalibur regulars and it no longer feels (as it has to me previously) that chapters devoted to the Trident are taking up valuable book space. The Shelby/ Calhoun dynamic remains as fresh as ever and character revelations that fans have been waiting for since some of the earlier novels finally materialise.
I can't say much else without spoiling the story but once again Peter David's writing had me laughing aloud -I've learned by now not to read these books in a public space!- and feeling empathy for the characters who have become as 'real' as any Star Trek TV series character. It's only two months until the release of the next book but this reminder of how excellent the New Frontier series is will make the wait seem like another two years...