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on 19 June 2017
This is more like it. So I only recently caught up with the Star Trek Enterprise series, having avoided it or being otherwise disposed when it was actually broadcast. When I watched it I thought that the first two series were...meh...very similar to early TNG and differing in quality. Things changed with season three and I thought that season four, the last season before cancellation, was as good as anything Star Trek ever did. Thus moving forward with the characters was a good way to deal with unfinished business and indeed the characters outlined here are clearly the same people as the tv show, but detailed as they have matured and moved on.
It is interesting to see how their relationships developed following the Romulan war and how the ties that bound them through Enterprise and after continue to do so.
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on 27 August 2013
Let me start by stating that I am one of that strange minority that enjoyed “Enterprise” on TV and was genuinely sad when it was cut off in its prime. The subsequent novels have been of mixed quality, but have at least served to tidy up the unholy mess left by the last of the TV episodes and then move the storyline on, up to and including the events of the Romulan War. This particular duology started promisingly but then got it all wrong (see my review of “To Brave the Storm”) and left me feeling disappointed for the second time, as it seemed to me that the storyline was being wound up (again) and that, as they say, was going to be that.
However I am pleased to report that a change of author and a slight jump forward in the timeline has injected fresh life into the story arc, so much so that it almost feels like a re-launch. New (and old) characters have been introduced and there are several references back to events from the TV series which help to tie things together. All the main characters have moved on, been promoted or otherwise taken on a new role, only Enterprise itself is missing from the main action (having been honourably retired from active service after the war), though a couple of key scenes do happen on board, so it’s not gone completely! The crew have new postings, having been split (roughly) in half and are now aboard new ships, so this means that we get two concurrent storylines, although only one of these really deals with the circumstances requiring a decision to be made regarding the future nature of the Federation. The other storyline is a more traditional “ship in crisis” scenario involving wormholes, gas giants and… no, I won’t spoil it for you. It does however introduce a couple of names that resonate into the future, which is a nice touch.
This is quite a well-rounded story in my view, comprising old adversaries, mysterious aliens who seem to be the greatest threat to the Federation since the Xindi, enough tech-speak for those that like that sort of thing (me, in moderation), a smidgin of back room politicking and a fair smattering of space battles just to top it off. Thank heavens for Christopher L. Bennett taking over the writing duties - he seems to have the confidence to expand the Enterprise universe and has definitely left me wanting more. Whether he continues, or other authors chip in, at least we now have a good starting point. I await with interest….
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on 13 July 2013
"A Choice of Futures" by Christopher L. Bennett was a welcome return to Star Trek's Enterprise era. I had been looking forward to reading this from the moment I heard about it as I have enjoyed most of the previous books from this era and I was one of those rare people who actually seemed to enjoy the TV series. I am happy to say this it didn't disappoint and I really enjoyed seeing some of the early development of the Federation.

The story itself follows the former crew of the Enterprise who have moved on to other roles after the Enterprise was decommissioned following the Romulan War. The Federation has recently formed following that war and the politicians and Starfleet are still trying to understand and agree to what they want to be. So when a strange race of beings begins to attack ships seemingly at random, Admiral Archer and his former crew must try and walk the fine line between war and diplomacy and ensure the newly birthed Federation does not collapse at its first real challenge.

Whilst the synopsis above seems rather simple, there is actually a huge amount going on throughout the novel as the former Enterprise crew and other new characters are spread across various ships and locations. However, Bennett does a great juggling act which keeps the story engaging and well-paced. I didn't find myself getting confused at all and I was impressed with the way in which this multi-threaded story allowed all the characters a chance to shine which is something that at times was missing from the TV show and other novels.

One element of the novel I was particularly impressed with were the characters themselves who Bennett has captured perfectly. The development and change that has occurred in them over the years since the period portrayed in the TV show feels natural and realistic. However, this was further enhanced by the fact that at their hearts you could still see and hear the very people they had been in the TV show. For example I loved how Shran's mannerism and voice came across just as I would expect, but there was now an element to his actions that were more thoughtful and considered due to his experiences and relationship with Archer etc.

There was one aspect of the novel which will either appeal or displease you depending on your own views and this was in relation to the way in which Bennett manages to create many links to other novels and TV episodes. Personally, I enjoyed catching the various references to other elements of the Star Trek Universe as I think it has been done with a fair amount of skill and subtlety. However, I know "Small Universe" syndrome can drive other readers to despair so I just wanted to warn people that there are elements of this within the story.

Overall this was a thoroughly enjoyable return to the crew of Star Trek: Enterprise and I really am looking forward to Bennett's next book in the series. On a personal note as someone who has not previously read on his novel's I was hugely impressed with the style, characterisation and pacing. This novel is a prime example of what a good Star Trek novel can and should be about and it makes me a little sad that due to my chronological reading challenge it may be a fair bit before I get to read any of his other books.
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on 6 July 2013
Christopher L Bennett kicks off the re-relaunch of Star Trek: Enterprise following on from the novels by Michael A Martin, and manages to do a much more entertaining job

Rise of the Federation follows the adventures of the former Enterprise crew, and guest cast, some fifteen years after the TV series was set and shortly after the foundation of the Federation. Admiral Archer is one of the new combined Starfleet's top brass and the others are littered throughout the fleet.

The plot, while spread over quite a period of time, feels unified in a way that previous Enterprise novels have not, and certainly shows that Pocket have chosen the right author to shepherd these characters on. I think I've engaged more with this set of characters here than possibly ever before.

As is typical of Bennett's writing, there is a vast array of references back to various previous episodes in the series and some surprising appearances from the future. His love and detailed knowledge of the series shine through, and this attention to detail go along with his well-paced plot to make this an excellent new adventure.
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on 4 July 2013
Helps the reader to realise that the Federation wasn't formed overnight. Goes into great detail about the turmoils of a military or exploration led Federation.

Interesting read, and can't wait for the next installment.
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on 3 August 2013
I liked how closely the characters were to the tv series. The author did a great job with it. I also liked the time period the book was set in because it is new and interesting. I would recommend Star Trek fans who enjoyed Star Trek enterprise to read this book. I gave the rated the book 4/5 because of how well written and how close tHe characters are to the tv series.
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on 30 October 2013
I have always been a Star Trek fan, and I especially like everything to do with the Enterprise series. The books go beyond the TV series and I like the idea of detailing the new Federation and its early struggles to encompass the space faring races into one body. Bring on more of the same please.
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on 18 August 2013
I enjoyed going back and researching the various characters who appear in this novel. The way they woven together with the plot makes for the beginning of an interesting new chapter in the Enterprise series. I look forward to further instalments.
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on 26 July 2013
I think the aurthor has done a great job showing us where it all began and some one the problems faced and how despite it all man won through when he worked with others willing to listern
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on 13 September 2013
The first Star Trek book I've read. Great read and can't wait for the next in the series. Great characters and good to see the crew develop. Highly recommended to any Trekie
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