The Titan series shows promise....,
This review is from: Taking Wing (Star Trek: Titan) (Mass Market Paperback)
Taking Wing describes the first mission of the USS Titan commanded by Captain Riker. This story is set a few months after the events of Nemesis (and after TNG Death In Winter). The conclusion of Nemesis left the Romulan Star Empire in a state of disarray, as Riker stated in the film "They want to talk".
So the authors are tasked with describing the launch of a new LUNA-class starship, introducing us to the crew and giving us a feel for Riker as a Captain, not to mention his interaction with his new wife. This rightly deserves its fair share of page space in this novel but is balanced with the main storyline handling the political intrigue of the vying factions on Romulus.
Altogether this is a satisfying well-written novel. In fact for a series opener it is a great novel. The direction that Titan is taking is to get Star Trek back to exploring, but the fallout from Nemesis first has to be resolved. The characterization is good, with Riker puffing up his chest and standing up to Starfleet Admirals who are less than economical with the truth. Troi is as irritating as ever: telling Riker how to be a captain etc.
The new crew is certainly diverse with new characters and species that we will have to get used to. This does not greatly differ to any series opener. The fact that this opener is in the pages of a novel rather than a TV series needs to be taken into account. It would be wrong to judge The Next Generation simply on the opening episode: Encounter At Farpoint. At the time of writing this review there are a further 4 novels in the Titan series which I look forward to reading so I reserve judgement on the new crew until we see more character development. Indeed I found the crew quite refreshing when considering the failed attempts to pull together a consistent bridge crew on the Enterprise in the post-Nemesis TNG novels.
It is fair to say that this is not the most action packed Trek novel, but the political intrigue on Romulus, Tal Shiar assassinations, update on Spock's attempts at re-unification more than make up for this.
Riker as captain is the highlight. Riker was the nearest thing to Kirk in TNG, a heroic character not frightened of flouting the rules and being insubordinate getting more than his fair share of action between the bed sheets or indulging in a bout of fisticuffs with your average Klingon. His ability to command and make the big decisions has been questioned on occasions, most memorably by a young Commander Shelby in "The Best of Both Worlds". As the future of Romulus perilously spirals out of control, Captain Riker must prove that he is worthy of the fourth pip on his collar. The authors build up the stakes nicely and with a Fleet Admiral and Ambassador Spock not able to find a solution, it is up to the captain of the Titan. The solution he comes to could be described in the same way Spock described Kirks solution to the Kobyashi Maru simulation: Unique
This is the second Star Trek book I have read written by Michael A. Martin and Andy Mangels. At 360 pages in length and written in relatively small type you get a relatively long and rather densely packed Star Trek novel. Densely packed, detailed, but enjoyable on many levels, whether you have an honours degree in Star Trek or not. A good cliffhanger of an ending will leave you wanting more.
I look forward to The Red King.