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4.0 out of 5 stars A little bleaker than most Trek novels
Well of Souls, by Ilsa J. Bick, is another in the series of Lost Era Star Trek novels taking place in between the original series and Star Trek: The Next Generation. These adventures show us a bit of the history that has only been mentioned in the television series. Well of Souls tells a story about Captain Rachel Garrett and her crew on the Enterprise C, which met an...
Published on 2 May 2005 by David Roy

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2.0 out of 5 stars Slow, mostly boring, but some redeeming virtues ...
This is the second of the Lost Era books I've bought - I loved Art of the Impossible, which inspired me buying this one - and I'm afraid it's going to be one of those Star Trek books that sits on my shelf and is never reread. The author's writing style is unremarkable, sometimes positively cringe-inducing, and she creates a whole host of new characters for us to know and...
Published on 3 Feb 2004 by Amazon Customer


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A little bleaker than most Trek novels, 2 May 2005
By 
David Roy (Vancouver, BC) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Lost Era: Well of Souls (Star Trek) (Mass Market Paperback)
Well of Souls, by Ilsa J. Bick, is another in the series of Lost Era Star Trek novels taking place in between the original series and Star Trek: The Next Generation. These adventures show us a bit of the history that has only been mentioned in the television series. Well of Souls tells a story about Captain Rachel Garrett and her crew on the Enterprise C, which met an unfortunate end a few years later (as shown in the TNG episode "Yesterday's Enterprise"). Unfortunately, while Bick gives us an interesting book, it didn't grab me nearly as much as other Trek books have.
This book, much like The Sundered, doesn't relate a specific incident mentioned in the series, but instead just gives us an adventure of a ship and crew. Perhaps that is the problem, as I had the same reaction to the previous book as I had to this one. As with The Sundered, there are some wonderful things about Well of Souls and some things that really bothered me, making for an overall average book. I really enjoyed Bick's writing style, and she tells an interesting story. The prose is quite different from most Trek novels, but that is a good thing in this case. It makes the typical Trek reader sit up and take notice.
I also enjoyed the characterization for the most part. Garrett is hard-nosed when necessary (her dressing down of Counselor Tyvan when he's late for the hearing is wonderful), but she's also capable of being soft. One of her first scenes is when she's communicating with her ex and her son, and the remorse that she feels at having missed her son's birthday is palpable. She's capable of quick thinking and making the hard decisions, but we see how those decisions can affect her (especially poignant in the climax of the book). Bick has done a great job with the very slight characterization of Garrett that we got in "Yesterday's Enterprise," extrapolating wonderfully. The only thing I could have done without is the angst that she carries around with her about her former first officer. It seemed a bit overdone, and I think her hostility toward her new first officer could have come from a better place.
Most of the other characters are well done too, with the exception of Garrett's husband, son, and the rest of the crew on the planet searching for the portal. I found all of them to be extremely boring and I didn't care about any of them. Chen-Mai is a stereotypical villain and the others are pretty bland as well. This robbed many of the scenes of any interest as I kept waiting for Bick to get back to either the Enterprise or Halak. It's a shame, as the situation on the planet could have been nail-biting as well. Instead, these scenes just drag, and they also harm the climax a little bit too.
One other small problem I had with the book is the tone. It is very dark, which isn't always bad, but not what I usually look for in a Trek novel. I don't mind my Trek to be a little bleak, but usually there's a little bit of levity involved too, coming from the characters. Since there are no characters that we really know in Well of Souls (the few we even know a little about aren't given a lot of depth in "Yesterday's Enterprise"), Bick is given free reign to build her own characters. The closest to lightness we have is Dr. Stern, who is marvelous as a sounding board for Garrett and can always be depended on for an acerbic comment or two when the chips are down. She's good friends with Dr. McCoy, so he gets a cameo, and their banter is quite good, but otherwise the book is very gloomy. All the crewmembers who we get to know have some hidden secret within them that they eventually have to unload on whoever is affected by it. Halak's story begins on a brutal world being controlled by two separate crime families, so those sequences are quite intense (though well-done, I must admit). The lies start compounding themselves until they all have to be sorted out at the end.
I found the first half of the book really hard to get into, as the story begins building slowly. There are a lot of flashbacks as a few characters reveal their inner secrets, making the story bounce back and forth a little bit. I loved the character of Bat-Levi and her problems really affected me, but the flashback to what caused everything just dragged the book to a screeching halt. Half-way through, however, the book really picks up steam and I raced through it. It grabs your attention and won't let it go. Even the scenes on the planet improve a little bit.
Finally, I have to give Bick credit for giving a lot of scientific information (I have no idea how much of it was technobabble and how much was based on real science, but it all sounded plausible to me) without dragging the book down even further. She goes into the maneuvering of the various ships involved in the final confrontation with great detail, but it was always understandable, as was the sequence inside the Draavids. The ship performs a daring rescue and almost gets sucked into a black hole, and Bick makes it all exciting.
When I started this review, I was going to give the book three stars. However, I think there are enough positives in the book to put it over the hump to four. It would rank third in the four books of The Lost Era that I've read so far, but it is well worth a read. Just be ready for a little depression afterward.
David Roy
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2.0 out of 5 stars Slow, mostly boring, but some redeeming virtues ..., 3 Feb 2004
This review is from: The Lost Era: Well of Souls (Star Trek) (Mass Market Paperback)
This is the second of the Lost Era books I've bought - I loved Art of the Impossible, which inspired me buying this one - and I'm afraid it's going to be one of those Star Trek books that sits on my shelf and is never reread. The author's writing style is unremarkable, sometimes positively cringe-inducing, and she creates a whole host of new characters for us to know and love (the only familiar face here is a brief cameo from McCoy, and Garrett and Castillo of Yesterday's Enterprise), but they fail to engage with us, because they all seem to have deep personal problems. There isn't a single person aboard the Enterprise who is remotely mentally stable, as far as I can tell. Consequently, the characters come across as unlikeable.
Normally, it takes me about two days to read a Star Trek book. I've been reading this for nearly a month. It wasn't really worth persisting, though I will admit that the twist concerning Laura Burke and Starfleet Intelligence was nicely done (logical holes notwithstanding ...)
Not really worth the read - I'm glad I managed to finish it, though - and I'd recommend avoiding this one really.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Well of souls., 4 July 2009
By 
I. Parker "Rocky" (Hants. U.K.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Lost Era: Well of Souls (Star Trek) (Mass Market Paperback)
While it is good to find out about what went on between the TV series, this was more of a crime/detective novel, a disappointment to me.
Not much to do with the Captain and her ship, Enterprise C, more about the first officers previous service,(much of which we still do not get) the second officers personal problems, and the drug underworld of the time.
Still, if you like your Star Trek, pick up a second hand copy.
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4.0 out of 5 stars More 1701-C, more Garrett!, 28 Jan 2014
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This review is from: The Lost Era: Well of Souls (Star Trek) (Mass Market Paperback)
The missing ship and crew, some more about them and their back story to Yesterday's Enterprise. It was an interesting choice to have it all centered around something more spiritual, but I especially liked the absentee mother that formed Garrett here, gave her so much more creditability for the professional mothers (and fathers) that exist out there and the dilemmas they face in being so far from their families. I like this crew and have always been obsessed with this ship since I was a teen and watched YE. More from them please!
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The Lost Era: Well of Souls (Star Trek)
The Lost Era: Well of Souls (Star Trek) by Ilsa J. Bick (Mass Market Paperback - 1 Dec 2003)
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