The Delta Anomaly (Star Trek: Starfleet Academy) Paperback – 2 Feb 2012
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About the Author
Rick Barba is the author of several titles in the gaming genre, including Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm Strategy Guide. He lives in Louisville, CO.
Top Customer Reviews
Unlike other 'young adult' books I've read recently, this one takes it to the extreme. The writing style is that I would expect in a book aimed at a child of around ten, while some of the content I would like to think would be more suitable for someone in their mid-teens. As an adult reading, it comes across as very fast paced and lacking in detail. Chapters tend to end mid-scene with me wanting to find out what happened next, only for the next to jump forward several hours.
The plot is reasonable. It's a good mix of student life with adventure, and the two storylines intermingle well and feed off each other. Perhaps the non-academic aspects of studenthood are simplified and juvenilised a touch, but that may be a result of either the young target audience or it being based on the American eduction system. The plot will have a little more value to longer term Star Trek fans, who will get some of the implied references, but actually this kind of irritated me, as I wish the author had been a little more original.
The characters are by far the best thing about this book. Kirk and Uhura are portrayed exactly as in the recent film, and Bones and Spock make good back-ups to the pair, however Spock does feel a little shoehorned in. There is also some confused continuity regarding how far through their studies each of the characters is, with some disagreement with implications from the film.Read more ›
The main plotline is based around the investigation of a rather strange serial killer who seems able to kill people without leaving a single mark on the bodies. Kirk, McCoy and Uhura get dragged into the investigation when one of Uhura's friends is attacked and Kirk manages to step in an save her. Of course, before long the cadet's themselves are at risk when the killer appears to make a move on them.
In addition, the book also delves into some of activities and tests that the cadets are undertaking as well as taking an interesting look at the growing relationship between Uhura and Spock. If you think this all sounds a little bit busy for such a short book, I can confirm that you would be right. Barba has crammed a lot into the book which results in a breakneck pace with actions and thrills aplenty. However, I did find that this attempt to include a lot in the book meant that at times both the details were lacking and it could feel a little bit rushed.
I am happy to say that the main characters did feel correct compared to how they have been portrayed recently on the screen. What I really liked though was seeing how beneath Kirk's youthful and rebellious exterior lies a good man with the potential to be a great leader. This was visible in the other characters as well to an extent, but it was Kirk whose potential you could really see.Read more ›
Well, here's the low-down - my own 'blurb' without spoilers:
"twenty-third century Earth and the home of the Starfleet Cadets, San Francisco, is under threat. An unknown stalker is randomly killing people and no-one knows how he or she is doing it. The victims all appear to be unharmed from the outside, but it's a different matter on the inside.
After Kirk manages to help save Uhura's friend, they and Doc McCoy do their best to unravel the mystery of the terrifying night murderer."
This wasn't a brilliant read but it wasn't bad. Entertaining in places, it's far more plot than character based.
Uhura and Spock's romantic interest is hinted at and so is the fact that despite his playfulness Kirk's a pretty good leader. Kirk has a love interest and she's quite sassy, which pleased me since women usually just fall in love with his character. Helen's a little more hard to get, but I'd have liked even more romance between the two characters.
All the characters seemed very self-assured and I'd have liked them to be a little less unswervingly confident - so I could empathize at some point. The author weaved an interesting tale.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The character focus is on Cadet Kirk, Cadet McCoy, and Cadet Uhuru. Commander Spock is also featured, though in a supporting role as compared to the three main characters. Secondary characters specifically for the book/plot round out the literary cast, and offered a certain "young military officer" energy.
At it's core entertainment value, the plot deals with an inter-stellar serial killer stalking the streets of San Francisco. The secondary plot(s) focus on the three young officers as they continue their studies at the prestigious Starfleet Academy, though this plot angle mainly focuses on Kirk as he completes command requirements for his studies. We get to glimpse both McCoy and Uhuru at work though, and I like this insight into the campus life.
The novel, like the 2009 film, is a fast paced read that focuses solely on an adventure. I appreciate both the new and the old Trek concepts interwoven within the plot and action, as well as the re-energized versions of the classic characters getting some novel time.
As a die hard Star Trek fan I enjoyed it, yet also recognized that a non Star Trek fan could also understand what was going on. I'd recommend the novel to both adults as well as kids ages 10-12 and up.
As luck would have it, the Star Trek book I found to read is the first in the "new" Star Trek universe with J. J. Abrams's version of James T. Kirk and Spock. I also know Rick Barba from days past working on game strategy guides for Prima Publishing. So it was an interesting experience all around.
Barba's book, as are subsequent adventures in the new universe, is set prior to the movie timeline. Kirk is still a cadet at Starfleet Academy, and he's hanging around with Bones while chasing after Uhura, who is impossibly beyond his grasp.
I had a good time with the book overall. The pacing was quick, the dialogue good, and the Starfleet background really well done. San Francisco also stands out as a setting with the cold and the fog. The similarity of the plot to the Jack the Ripper murders in Victorian London didn't work very well with me and I don't know why. Maybe the crimes are just too familiar at this point, overdone in many ways. However, this book is written for the YA crowd and they probably aren't as versed in the historical murders at we older readers.
The Kirk in these pages (digital and paper) is pretty much the same in-your-face guy we met in the latest Star Trek movie. He's cocky and arrogant and a skirt chaser, everything we loved about William Shatner's portrayal of the character during the original run. Bones and Uhura were also well done.
I like the way Starfleet was somewhat fleshed out. The feel of the classes, the regimen, and the pecking order felt right. Some of the events are sophomoric, but the books are geared for the younger crowd, and college students these days pretty much occupy themselves in the same ways.
One of the intriguing aspects of the book was the simulation that Kirk went on. Evidently Spock is doing a lot of design work for the scenarios, and that fits neatly in with the idea that he developed the Kobayashi Maru shown in the recent movie. I hope we get to see more of these scenarios as the books progress, otherwise too much of the action in the novels is going to end up earthbound for my taste. Star Trek needs to be out in space or on alien planets as much as possible.
Overall, this book was a good introduction to the latest series. The characters are rendered faithfully and there was a lot of fun, a lot of Starfleet background. I've already got the second book ordered - and downloaded - onto my Kindle. Feels like I'm living in the 23rd century!
This is clearly a novel set in a more updated 'verse of "Star Trek." The characters make use of e-book readers (there are references to museums with traditional-style books) and advanced supercomputers, and it the style of the writing of the novel has a fast-paced, edgy feel. But there is definitely a story with substance here, as well as a very fun read. Fans of the new "Star Trek" film and the mythology of "Star Trek" in general should not miss out on this one.