Top critical review
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Disappointing but entertaining.
on 30 August 2013
I have eagerly awaited this book since it was announced and when I finally got around to reading it (Very early. Thank you, Amazon!) I was somewhat disappointed, but not as much as some people seem to be. In many ways it's appropriate that a few early chapters take so much from the DS9 pilot, "Emissary", because it comes across a lot like a weaker pilot episode for a new series. I later went back and re-assessed "Emissary" more favourably, so I am curious if I will do the same once The Fall gets into full swing, because it seems like a lot of set up for the rest of the series. The new DS9 crew from the last few books are back, but we are still getting to know them, many just being names without much of a personality at this point. The story can stand alone, but it wants you to come back for the next part.
The focus of the book shifts between two main plot threads, switching back and forth between chapters as David R. George III has frequently done with his books in the past and has often helped to keep my interest in each story. In this case however one of them feels much weaker, and whilst I eventually understood its purpose, I still found myself wanting to rush through those chapters and get back to the main action. I wouldn't say you could completely remove them and still have the same story, but a lot of it could have been trimmed down without anyone missing it too much.
It's not all bad though, the memorial scenes early on were important after the previous story and it was nice to have so many familiar faces brought back. Also, I still enjoy the author's style of writing, which manages to keep me reading during the less frantic moments and his descriptions of the new station really helped to draw me into it. There's a moment later on that the book had clearly been building towards, and was fairly obvious to predict going in, but still hits you hard when it happens.
Overall I would say it was good, but it could have been so much more. I would recommend it, so long as you understand it is clearly a beginning to something larger.
One more minor issue is something I've noticed several times in the author's books and pops up again here. He occasionally makes reference to future moments in the book, saying things like "She would realise 2 days from now how wrong she had been" or "All that would change when he saw (tragic event)". It's not terrible, it can just be a little jarring and sometimes spoils what could be more shocking if he hadn't said anything.