Cold Equations: Silent Weapons: Book Two (Star Trek: The Next Generation) Mass Market Paperback – 6 Dec 2012
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About the Author
David Mack is the author of numerous Star Trek novels, including the USA Today best-seller A Time to Heal and its companion volume, A Time to Kill. Mack's other novels include Star Trek: DS9: Warpath, Star Trek Vanguard: Harbinger, Star Trek: S.C.E.: Wildfire, and numerous eBooks and short stories. Mack also cowrote two episodes of Star Trek: DS9, "Starship Down" and "It's Only a Paper Moon."
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The story contains all of the best elements of Trek, great characterisation, particularly of some of the guest characters, action, diplomacy and Mack's trademark of events that will rock Trek novel storylines for years to come. It flows off the page even better than the previous novel and I devoured it over the course of a single weekend.
Compared to part one, it felt less epic in scope, despite the subject matter seeming to make more of a difference to the ongoing storyline. It pulls together so many elements that it almost seems like there's too much going on, but everything is tied together surprisingly neatly into a plot that almost feels lessened by the slightly anti-climatic climax.
David Mack is the must-read author for Star Trek fans now and his novels tend to be the highlight of the rather sparse publishing schedule. I can only hope that book three will be just as explosive and that it will perhaps resolve some of the plot points that Mack and the other Trek authors have been setting up for years.
So, plot in a nutshell; Data is looking for a scientist who can restore his daughter, while the Enterprise crew are off doing... Enterprisey things, I guess. The crew get involved in the search for a missing starship, then get a distress call from Data, they head off to help him, find out that the Federation president is negotiating with the Gorn (part of the Typhon Pact), that the Breen (Typhon Pact again) are up to no good and then Picard saves the day. (Very basic, but there we go)
Now, I didn't dislike this book per se. My big problem with it is that it just seems to plod on slowly for about 75% of the time, but doesn't seem to accomplish anything. Pacing has been a big problem with this trilogy so far. Book 1 did too much in too small an amount of time to get to the 'climax' that was so obviously going to happen, this book takes forever to actually get anywhere and then when it does arrive it throws everything at you all at once. Another issue I have is the road that Mack takes Data down. I don't mind him trying to restore his daughter, that feels like a natural next step for Data to take. But I don't buy into the idea of him not resuming his duties on the Enterprise. This would have been better, as it would have given the opportunity for some character work with Data and Worf about their status on the ship. Remember, Worf is Picard's current first officer after Riker's promotion; a position that was originally to be filled by Data. Putting Data back in the uniform could have given a chance for a little bit of character conflict between the two (FYI, I think Worf makes a much better XO than Data would have). Instead, we get some rubbish between Picard and Crusher when she gets snippy cos he put her and their son before his duties as a Starfleet officer. I see the point that Mack was going for, but this just feels forced; like conflict for the sake of conflict.
Now, I realise I said that I DIDN'T dislike this book per se... so I guess I'd better say something positive about it. 1) I like the return of the Breen. I loved these guys when they were bought in towards the end of 'Deep Space Nine' as new allies of the Dominion and have enjoyed what has been done with them in the 'Typhon Pact' novels (which basically had free-reign with them as DS9 left it pretty vague about their culture) and this book continues on from there well. The Breen now are what the Romulans used to be in the Trek-universe. 2) I LOVED Picard playing the hard-ass at the end of the book against the Breen. I think David Mack really got the essence of Jean-Luc Picard down here and I could so imagine Patrick Stewart playing the hell out of this scene, which leads me to 3) Once again, Mack has got the characterisation of the established crew down to a tee (barring my issues with Data as already mentioned)
As the 2nd book of a trilogy, this book does fail to deliver. In Part 2 of a trilogy, I want escalation and rising tension. I want to see the story progressed from the beginning and I want to be left fired up for the concluding part. 'Silent Weapons' doesn't do that for me. Again, it isn't a bad book; it doesn't really work in the context of this trilogy. It really is a 'Typhon Pact' story as it does more to progress that arc than it does the trilogy to which it belongs. In trilogy terms; we aren't dealing with 'The Empire Strikes Back' so much as we are with 'Attack of the Clones'. It just remains to be seen whether David Mack can salvage it with the final instalment.
This story is a continuation from the 1st book (which I enjoyed immensely), but for me, this was a disappointment. It begins with Data (Dr Soong's android son), commencing a search for Emil Vaslovik with the intention of asking his help to restore Data's daughter, Lal, back to life.
Then the story breaks away and we encounter the Enterprise and their interaction with the political unrest of a planet and also Jean-Luc Picard's unrest with his wife Beverley Crusher.
It is in the final chapter when we continue with Data's search for Emil Vaslovik and it is a very short chapter.
Perhaps it is my fascination with Soong and his android family which caused my disappointment ... generally speaking, the story is very well written ( I discovered a host of new words for which I needed the Kindle's built-in dictionary to fathom), and is straight-forward to follow.
I'm now trying to get the earlier TNG books (A Time To- series) in kindle format by clicking the link "request this book in kindle format" as they are a good 'filler' whilst waiting for the next Cold Equations book on 28th December. Maybe you could do the same? :-)
I like David Macks writing. I was not impressed by this book. My problem was that there was a huge break in the story and this turned out to be a reprise of the life of Data's creator. This bit was wordy and had no direct connection with the start of the book. Indeed, it only seemed to have peripheral connection with the ending until the last few pages.
I shall buy the second in the series in the fond hope of a return to a first-rate plot and continuity.
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