Promising, but not sure if I'll be in this series for the long haul,
This review is from: A Time to Sow (Star Trek: The Next Generation) (Mass Market Paperback)
This is the third book in the Time to... series a series that precedes the events of the film Nemesis. The books comprise a number of two part stories so you should undertake the reading of this book with the expectation that you are going to have to read book 4 (A Time to Harvest) to reach a satisfying conclusion.
I read this book having not read the first two books in the series. Whilst there are many references to the events that immediately precede this book, I did not feel at too much of a disadvantage, but I am sure my enjoyment would have been greater having read the first two.
This is also the first Star Trek book that I have read that has been penned by the authors (Kevin Dilmore and Dayton Ward). In my opinion overall they do a good job.
The authors neatly introduce the story by linking events in the Enterprise era with The Next Generation era. A fan of both series this certainly grabbed my interest straight away. Without lingering too long in the past we are brought up to date with the current disposition of the Enterprise and its crew.
The chapters were relatively short and move at a good pace, with the tempo picking up towards the end as the stakes are raised.
The account of the lead up to and destruction of the doomed planet Dokaal is the key part to what makes this novel work for me. Told through journal entries by Hjatyn, one of the Dokaalans residents of the mining stations that bear the brunt of dealing with the aftermath of their doomed planet, the account is very thought provoking.
Evacuation, the reaction to seeing your home planet destroyed, management of resources amongst refugees in facilities designed for a handful of miners: would we have the strength and resourcefulness to survive if such a fate afflicted the Earth?
The crew of the Enterprise are written well, characterization is good. The crew reaction to their falling out of favour with the Federation following the events of the first two books is the driving force here. I don't believe this gets too introspective. It almost emphasises the length of the journey the Enterprise undertakes here in response to the "Out of Sight, Out of Mind" approach taken by the Federation. A period in which characters can reflect, where we see them in a different spotlight is often interesting in a Trek novel if handled well.
We have a good first contact story here as the Enterprise come to the aid of the Dokaalans. The radiation in the system plays havoc with the Enterprise's systems creating an interesting angle to the story as it levels the playing field between the resourceful Dokaalans and the technologically superior Federation (not unlike the use of the Mutara Nebula in Wrath of Khan). The tension builds nicely as all is not what it seems with the Dokaalans. Dark forces manoeuvre behind the scenes and quickly a routine mission turns into one of great peril for the crew of the Enterprise.
In summary: a good solid Star Trek novel, for all its good points the novel is let down by a poor ending. Yes it is a two part story, but if there is to be the lack of a conclusion to this book their needs to be a cliffhanger to get me to rush out and buy the next book. I am not sure we get this, having enjoyed the book I feel slightly shortchanged...