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Save your time and money
on 9 August 2009
Save your time and money. This book takes 350 pages to go nowhere, and takes its own sweet time in getting there. And when we do finally reach page 350 for Chapter 20, the big reveal is not worth the wait or time invested.
Following on 1 week from the events of the overblown Destiny trilogy, we have professor Sonek Pran touring the galaxy writing everyone's wrongs. I have no problem with the author attempting to create a non-starfleet passive hero, but I do have a problem with the character he created.
Pran is the most sanctimonious, self-righteous, holier-than-though and preachy character I have ever read. Imagine Guinan x20, and you you'd still fall short. Each time I read the character, I imagined him walking around with a big smug self-satisfied condescending grin on his face.
Even Pran might have been tolerable if the story or writing had been good. But Singular Destiny fails in both of these areas too.
The writing is blunt, without a style, and is as plain as the interior of Archer's Enterprise. We are never given a description of any of the locations we are taken too. The President's offices feel just like the Romulin leader's offices, which feel just like the mining colony, which feel just like every single other location in the book. Not once does the author set a scene. The story just happens, it doesn't seem to take place in a believable place.
Speaking of the story; there isn't one. This book is obviously just a filler or stepping stone from the galaxy changing occurrences of the Destiny trilogy, to whatever comes next. Whichever book comes next and deals with the (so-called) ending of this book, will have an interesting political theme, more in-keeping with the political dealings of Deep Space 9.
Characters and story threads race along so quickly, you wonder why they were even included. In one hilariously bad example, Dax's security chief beams down to the mining colony and solves the murders in 2 paragraphs. This could have been have been happening behind the scenes for half the book, and those same 2 paragraphs could have described a complicated investigation instead. But what we actually get is a nasty little deus ex machina just so the plot can be moved along, and help out the Starfleet Corps of Engineers with a completely different problem.
Speaking of the Corps of Engineers, they start off solving a problem which could have had some merit (How do you get to and from a planet that you cannot beam to or shuttle to, and how do you scan something that cannot be scanned), but suddenly these characters are just dropped and Dax emails them her scans from the crime scene and problem solved. Another wasted opportunity.
This is just another Star Trek book from the great Trek publishing machine of turgid conformitality. Quite frankly anyone book that has character's praying to "The Great Bird of the Galaxy" deserves to be ignored (If you don't get the reference, then this book is definitely not for you).
If any following books actually take into account the end of this one, then that could be a good thing. But as it stands, this whole book could have just been a paragraph at the beginning of the next one (Which of course it will be, as the people that hadn't read this one will still need to know the background.)
A final note: Each chapter is interleaved with a news bulletin or a ship's log etc. This again is a missed opportunity. Apparently the news service writes in the same style as ship's councillor's logs. Instead of exploring different styles for these 2-3 page inserts based on the character writing them, they are all just the same bland 'style' as the rest of the book.