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on 4 June 2009
In chronology terms this book comes after the events of the film Nemesis and the books Death In Winter and Resistance. It is advisable to read these first, but by no means essential. Watching Nemesis is certainly a neccesity.

It is easy to miss this book - the excerpt of Before Dishonour at the end of the Resistance paperback leaving you in little doubt as to what comes next, this led me to read this book out of chronological order.

But I encourage you not to miss this. This is a good book, because it is written by an author who can write characters, who knows his Star Trek and respects the efforts of all those people who have shaped what has come before.

So now we have the return of Q. Q is clearly the best antagonist of The Next Generation series, this is in part due to the terrific onscreen performances by John de Lancie, the quality of the storylines, but primarily because he teases out the best of Jean Luc Picard - an intellectual adversary that Picard can square off against.

We are treated to a brief history of Q that the author neatly packages as a series of interludes, these are short and quirky, not unlike Q's repeated interference with the Enterprise during the course of its five year mission. This gets your tongue wagging whilst the author prepares and positions the story. You are well into the book before the Omnipotent being turns up, but it is classic Q when he does: needling all the characters perfectly.

The characterization is the real strength of this book. The cathartic release of the characters talking about Data in the bar is important, delicately handled and deserving of its page space. The off-duty behaviour and interaction of the crew is often as important as the on-duty action in shaping a good Star Trek story. Existing and new characters are permitted room to breathe and develop here. Worf is building nicely in the first officer role, the new Head of Security is interesting, believable and not inclined to go chasing round a Borg cube to find a love interest. One of the characters who is frequently overlooked in Star Trek fiction is the Enterprise itself. Not so here - the scenes are well written. Indeed things we take for granted like the selection of an away team, the preparation for away missions, the security procedures around away missions are handled nicely. There is almost an "Original Series" feel about it at times with the elevation of importance of the away mission. How few Trek books these days contain the word tricorder.

The main criticism I would level here is that the story is not serving up anything new. It does not take any chances, it plays it safe. All Q appearances to date culminating in this one "save the universe" moment? It doesn't quite pull off for me. The expectation of a Q story fulfilled but no wow factor.

Whilst the events of Resistance and Before Dishonour will be more memorable than this storyline, the poor job the authors did with the characterization in these books will also be just as memorable.

Sometimes you have to experience the bad to appreciate the good, the post-Nemesis story arc needed this book.
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on 12 July 2009
After the not especially memorable start to the new post-Nemesis TNG era in Death in Winter and Resistance Q&A gives the series the kick it needs and finally shows us what a great TNG novel can be. Q & A, a Q story, or indeed The Q story, as the book tries, and very much succeeds, in tying every Q story together. The Qish elements of this book are perfect, Q feels very much like Q, and the way all Q's appearances are tied together is brilliant. DeCandido does a great job making the Enterprise feel inhabited and introduces two new big characters; Second officer Miranda Kadohata and chief of security Zelik Leybenzon. These two were about the only parts of the novel I didn't enjoy, I found both quite annoying. While T'Lana was a pest to the Enterprise crew in Resistance, there was something endearing about her, and that continues to be in Q & A. Kadohata and Leybenzon on the other hand, despite all the best efforts to flesh out their characters and establish them as unique and interesting people just didn't have anything that made them stand out and say "look at me, I'm interesting".

DeCandido also manages to make the Trekverse feel much bigger (something really lacking in Resistance) with some brief appearances from characters from all over the galaxy. These short bits of story added a lot of interest and make use of DeCandido's (and others') previously established characters and settings without them seeming out of place or in need of more explanation. All in all Q & A is a very clever, witty and thoroughly enjoyable book.
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on 22 April 2010
Having now read Resistance and feeling the overall story was good and the majority of the characters were nicely done I was put to shame when I read Q&A - the characterizations, of every single character in this book are BRILLIANT! Much better than Resistance! DeCandido has paid attention to every character (with a nice bit of attention on Geordi who I felt was loosing attention in Resistance) and shown their growth (for long standing characters). He has also introduced 2 new characters very well - one very likable one and one not so likable which is a lovely contrast.

The overall story is ok, but feels a bit repeated from the earlier television stories - the idea is it links all of Q's appearances together from earlier stories, which does work nicely, just not as well as the characters are portrayed in the story (hence the 4 rather than 5 star rating). This being said it is nice to see a different way for Q to be handled and the story feels a lot bigger simply due to the external views that we get to see away from the Enterprise, which gives us a bit of a break from the character led elements so that we can really appreciate them when we come back.

Picard and Beverly's relationship feels a bit more real in this than it did in Resistance whilst Worf has moved on since Resistance as well - now clearly happy in his new role. T'Lana, Worf and Picard are now starting to build a good relationship and I started to look forward to seeing T'Lana object to what Picard plans to do - I loved Troi but this change in character for the counselor is a good one, it would have have been terrible if they had tried to copy her.

If you want to read something that gives you an insight into characters and to see their quieter sides (that are perhaps harder to communicate on a television screen) then this is the book for you! Buy it!
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on 22 April 2012
Having read just about every TNG book, I found this to be one of the most disappointing. I was also left with the feeling that some of the story was just filler to pad the book out a bit, such as when the away team go back down to the cavern and manage to make their way past the invisible barrier, there then followed pages and pages about strange events experienced by each of the away team members.
I just found the overall plot very disappointing, an opportunity missed.
Wouldn't recommend it.
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on 25 March 2009
After being somewhat underwelmed by Resistance and before I ended up loathing Before Dishonour I read this book and loved it. It is not part of the current Borg arc and in that way gives it a whole sense of freedom even if it deals with trying to tie a lot of Q's appearances together (and some moments that previously weren't). What I love about this book is the characterisation not just of the established characters but of the new ones like Kadohata, they really feel three dimensional unlike in Before Dishonour. While I used to be a big Peter David fan this and some of Keith's previous books like Articles of the Federation have shown me how blind I was.
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on 16 July 2009
after reading resistance i was looking forward to seeing what would happen next to a new set of characters but i was sadly dissapointed by the repititious nostalgia of earlier episodes played back like a series that had run out of ideas,
what better way to jolt some new adventure than by setting q on the new crew, but for me there was nothing new in this book,it was less about new life and new civilizations and more like were wed been before
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on 12 November 2008
Ok so this book starts out wondefully with Q's backstory, however the plot at the end with everything that Q has done over the years being part of some Meta Plot to save the universe just dosent ring true -- especially when we know the Conyinuum exists outside the trek verse and that Q can travel to multiple universe and dimensions and the story seems to recycle the TNG episde "Tapestry" far too much.
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on 17 March 2013
This book tries to tie up the various Q stories from the TV shows and give Q an overall goal - it kind of works.

The biggest problem with the novel is length. Given the monumental nature of events, everything gets dealt with in double quick time and it's never really clear what's really going on. The book is also hampered by interludes with Q and the continuum recapping past episodes of the TV show. These slow the pace of the novel and are confusing as all the characters are referred to as Q!

Two new characters are introduced, a new maverick, anti authoritarian security chief who is mainly irritating and a new second officer who is apparently British and so swears a lot (because apparently only British people in the 24th century casually swear).

There's some nice alternate universe stuff in the book and it would have been interesting to see more of that but instead it's all dealt with in a chapter.

Overall an OK book but not a classic.
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on 20 July 2014
I really enjoyed this story. It has a lovely continuation of the characters individual story lines while adding the wit of Q.
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