Top critical review
Not What I Had Hoped For
on 18 January 2012
At the start of the novel Khan has managed to become a dictator with control over parts of India and has begun the process of bringing together his fellow genetically engineered humans in the hope of the uniting the world under his leadership. However, when a meeting between various other superhuman warlords, generals and leaders goes wrong, war breaks out amongst them. Gary Seven and his colleagues are then left with the unenviable job of trying to deal with Khan and his superhuman brethren before they do irreparable damage to the planet and humanity.
My initial comment on the novel is that it has much more action packed than the preceding novel as the older Khan and his brethren now take a greater role in the various proceedings. Cox also once again manages to cleverly entwine what really happened in the 1990's with the story of the Eugenics Wars. What he has created is an interesting enough story and I am sure some fans will love the fact he has reconciled reality with the Star Trek Universe.
However, personally I felt let down by this as what Cox has created is nowhere near as interesting or exciting as what I had envisioned from watching the TV show. There are no great battles and high levels of casualties, Khan doesn't control large parts of Asia and he isn't feared or even really known by the population. The entire Eugenics Wars seem to have been relegated to a collection of skirmishes between some minor warlords, most of which are covered up by various governments so the population know nothing about it. I just felt that this determination to use real events actually ruins the image of the Eugenics Wars and Khan himself that the reader may have formed from watching the TV show or movie.
The next issue I have is actually something that may appeal to some Star Trek fans but just irritated me thoroughly. It is the constant use of characters from other Star Trek stories that at times added nothing to the story at all. As I wrote in my review for the first novel, the odd cameo is nice and fun to read about but the number interspersed throughout this novel is uncalled for. There is also the problem that a number of these name-dropping moments don't actually add anything at all the story and just detract from the rest of the story. The number of nods and winks to the fans out there can only make me think that Cox maybe didn't think enough of the novel as a good book shouldn't need this level of "fanwank" to appeal to its readers.
In summary I was rather disappointed in this novel although it wasn't to do with the writing or the plot itself. The issue I had is that it didn't really depict what I imagined the Eugenics Wars would involve and I think it also weakened the character of Khan into little more than a petty warlord. Whilst some people will like the manner in which Cox has attempted to merge reality and Star Trek history I would much rather have seen an alternate history with much greater divergence from reality. Basically, if you loved the first novel then you are probably going to enjoy this one as well. However, if you had some reservations then it is likely that these will be even greater after reading this volume.