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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This is a review of the novelisation of the Star Trek: Into Darkness story, the film of which was released in 2013. The novelisation has been done by Alan Dean Foster, who has written many film novelisations (including other Star Trek films), as well as his own original sci-fi and fantasy novels. I would imagine there's a bit of an art to writing novelisations of films, knowing what to describe (which would normally be a visual experience for a movie audience), and how much extra detail to put in the novelisation, as well as whether script lines from a movie can translate into a written medium etc.

I thought this was a very readable Star Trek story, which stood well in its own right. I can't say I'm a great fan of the "prequel" Star Trek series of movies which are now coming out, being more of a fan of the classic original Star Trek tv series, but I thought this was an enjoyable Star Trek novel which had a solid backbone of story to it. Here, we see the young brash Kirk, the stoic logical Spock, and the beginnings of the characters that we got to know and love in the original Star Trek series - McCoy, Scotty, Sulu, Uhura and Chekov. They are all well characterised, and you can see how the older characters (who we, confusingly got to know first) have their origins in these younger versions.

The story has Kirk and Spock with the crew of the Enterprise being pulled into a manhunt for a man who has apparently set up a terrorist attack on a secret Federation facility. But there's a lot more to this story than that, and not for the first time Kirk's impulsiveness puts the Enterprise and the crew at risk, but all comes right in the end (of course) and the Federation lives to see another few millennia. But not before Kirk meets a man who is going to come back and haunt him in his later life, more than once. The story has its "shock and awe" value in this unveiling of the mystery persona, which has its own twists and turns in terms of morality, ethics and `the greater good' versus the Federation's purpose, and the Prime Directive. A good story, well novelised in this book by Alan Dean Foster, this should appeal to most Star Trek fans looking for an easy but engaging Star Trek read.
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on 20 June 2013
Having been a huge fan of Alan Dean Foster's earlier "Star Trek" novels based on the animated series as well as his own substantial body of original space opera science fiction, it was only logical that I would read his novelization of "Star Trek Into Darkness", the second film directed by J. J. Abrams and the twelfth in the cinematic franchise. Working from one of the final drafts of the screenplay co-written by Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman and Damon Lindelof, Foster does an admirable job in fleshing out the characters of Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Scotty and Uhura, as well as in exploring further, the emotionally complex personalities of Starfleet Admiral Alexander Marcus and Commander John Harrison, who does identify himself as "Khan", the vain, power-hungry villain of The Original Series episode "Space Speed" and "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan"; the latter most people would regard still as the best "Star Trek" movie ever filmed and one that is light-years ahead of "Star Trek Into Darkness" with regards to its writing and direction and acting. (However, I recommend viewing "Star Trek Into Darkness" merely to watch Benedict Cumberbatch's portrayal of Khan.) To his credit, Foster depicts Marcus and Khan as two very obsessed, emotionally complex, personalities; in Marcus' case, it is a grave concern that Starfleet may not be prepared to meet the potential threat posed by an expansionist, aggressive Klingon Empire; in Khan's, it is to ensure his survival and that of his 72 frozen shipmates. Foster has written a compelling readable page-turner that is among the better novelizations of a film I have read, and, frankly, he has written a novel far more compelling than the movie itself. A novel that does a most admirable job in depicting the paranoid behavior of troubled protagonists like Marcus and Khan, and how Starfleet has changed in the aftermath of the destruction of the planet Vulcan as seen in the earlier J. J. Abrams' directed "Star Trek" film. This is a novel that warrants favorable comparisons with Foster's earlier "Star Trek" fiction.
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on 13 June 2013
"Into Darkness" by Alan Dean Foster is a novelisation of the recently released Star Trek movie of the same name. I suspect most people reading this review will have seen the movie, but for those that don't know the plot basically follows Kirk and his crew as they attempt to hunt down a man known as John Harrison who has committed an act of terrorism in London. Their hunt takes them from Earth to the Klingon home world and unearths a secret that some in Starfleet would rather be kept hidden.

As with the Foster's novelisation of the previous movie the writing is competent enough and adequately captures the events seen on the screen without overloading the reader (who will normally have already seen the movie) with unneeded extensive descriptive details. I don't feel I can really say much on the plot as Foster didn't really have much of a say in it but the action, fast pace and fun are still there for the reader to enjoy.

However, there is very little new here and I can't really identify any definitive reason why you should read this if you have already seen the movie. Yes, some of the conversations are expanded in a manner that better explains some aspects of the story such as transwarp transporting, the reason behind the abandoned sector of Qo'nos and how one volcano could seemingly be a threat to an entire species, but overall this is mainly just window dressing.

To be honest, the nature of novelizations does sometimes make it difficult to review books like this because whilst it is a well written and enjoyable story, it didn't really inspire me to keep reading and I therefore found it very easy to put it down and do something else.

Overall, "Into Darkness" is another competent movie novelisation by an expert in the field. Everything is captured well and there are at least a few sections of extended dialogue that helps refine the readers understanding of why certain things happened. However, I am not sure there is enough new here to make it a must buy for those who have already seen the movie. I suppose Foster will have been forced to work within the guidelines he had been set but I would have loved to see some additional elements to try and enhance the experience.
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on 2 June 2013
Usually when there is a book/film combination coming out, I prefer to read the book first and then watch the film. However for this one I watched the film first and then started to read the book about a week later on. This book and film were both tremendous and two of the better Star Trek book/film combinations that have been released, from Star Trek: The Motion Picture and right through to this one. This story had a similar feel to it as The Wrath of Khan, in more ways than one as you will know if you have either read the book or watched the film, but I will not give it away if you have not done either yet but are planning to do so in the near future. This book was very well written as Alan Dean Foster always does do, bringing a bit more out of the characters and managing to carry the plots through in exactly the same tense way as the film was. In fact this is one of those rare book/film combos where you cannot really tell which was done first - did ADF write the book based on the film scripts, or did the film get made from the story? I recommend any book written by ADF and so have no hesitation at all in recommending this one, not only because it is a Star Trek book (and having read all the books that are based upon the films I feel that I am an expert somewhat), but because it is so well written. Read it first and then watch the film, or watch the film and then read the book - either way you will not be disappointed and will follow a really good plot twice over.
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on 9 June 2013
First of all: the words are fantastic . The author has been involved in writing and adapting Star Trek scripts or books for decades.
Secondly: the story is excellent if you accept the premise given by JJ Abrams (director) and the script writers that this IS STAR TREK, but "not quite" as we know it.

We get into the characters from the word go.

Some film plot-holes as with pretty well any film, but the book does make things clearer.

SPOILERS BELOW - SPOILERS BELOW

As with many books we get into the thought processes behind characters more effectively. The character of the protagonist Khan Noonian Singh is well (re) written, and there are clear links to the TOS film "Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan", and there are specific rewriting a of lines from that movie.

Do you need to be a fan or follower of TREK in order to enjoy the book?
Do you need to have seen the new film?

Certainly not.
It's pacey, intriguing, clever and fun.
It's an action story, and in the midst of real life terrorist attacks, it seems to be an intriguing comment on terror.
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on 24 March 2014
Anyone hoping that the novelization of the movie would delve into the backstory of "John Harrison" will be disappointed.

As novelizations often flesh out scenes that have been discarded from the final movie/ final script, I was hoping they would explore the world and origins of the Benedict Cumberbatch character. Alas, the novel is just a point -by-point rehash of what is on the screen, so as a book in it its own right, it's a woeful disappointment.

Perhaps the film makers never intended to flesh out the character or his motivations, which adds to my further disdain with the latest JJ Abrams Trek outing. You'll gain no new insight reading this beyond what you saw in the movie.

One of the weakest Star Trek movie novelizations I have read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 12 July 2013
It's a nice book to purchase. If you liked the film, you'll like the book too. Only it could have been written in more detail, more backstories to the characters. But it was still fun to read. I'd recommend it to the movie fans.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 22 May 2013
Alan Dean Foster's invitation to pen the novelization of JJ Abrams' second Star Trek film came as something of a surprise to me, as I was very disappointed with his version of the previous film. This book lives up to my recollections of its predecessor.

The novel follows the plot of the film almost exactly (a film which I enjoyed almost as much as the last one), and is a faithful description of what happens, but it is significantly lacking in detail, particularly in the action scenes. The pacing is poor and the writing doesn't grip anywhere near as well as the source material.

It seems as if the publishers have given Foster too much leeway - they've thrown the usual Star Trek novel styleguide out the window and replaced it with narration that feels patronising in how much it wants to explain. There are parts where it's as if it's writing for a small child. Rather than the usual style of aligning the third party narrative with one character at a time and following events from their perspective, we're given a more god-like overview with occasional glances inside the characters' heads. Altogether this makes for a lightweight presentation that removes a lot of the suspense and the relationship with the characters.

There are places where Foster has added missing detail to the plot that helps explain some of the things that puzzled me about the film, but not even to the extent of the scenes he retained/added in the previous book, and this doesn't make up for the book's faults.

There are other established Star Trek and novelization writers that could have added more to what feels like a rushed clone of the script. The book only managed to hold my attention by reminding me of what I saw in the cinema.
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on 16 February 2014
I loved the movie, but this book felt more like a read-through. It describes what occurs, but there's little 'heart' in it. I had been hoping for a more in depth look at the thoughts, reflections and emotions behind certain scenes and character decisions, but I don't feel any of those were addressed. It felt like the author (who I know can write brilliantly) simply read the script/watched early versions of the movie and just described it. Very little heart and soul in it, which is a shame. It doesn't add anything extra to the telling of the movie's story in my opinion.
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on 6 November 2013
Alan Dean Foster has written so many Star Trek film-tie-ins that he has become a grand master at presenting both the feel of the movie and the underlying atmosphere which might be missed by the ordinary movie-goer or DVD viewer. I first came across his rendering of the old Star Trek animated series novelization and have been reading whatever he writes on The Star Trek universe ever since, and a more consistently good style has yet to come my way from other film novelizations I have read. On the whole, if one likes film tie-ins, one is bound to like this one.
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