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on 25 November 2011
It is with a heavy heart I have to say this was probably one of the worst and most disappointing novels I have ever read, and this is from someone who will occasionally by a book because the cover is shiny. There's is very little to recommend it on other than to say that it didn't take me long to read and at least it completes the story arc begun in the previous books of this series.

The main reason for the `worst' opinion is I'm not entirely sure one could class it as a novel in the conventional sense. It's structured like the storyboard to a novel, the notes an author might leave for his more talented co-writer to flesh out. I have a strong suspicion this series was meant to be far larger, as nothing else would justify the release was is essentially the cliff notes for potential books one would send to an editor or at least stick to an 'ideas' board in an office. There's nothing one normally associates with a novel, no character development, few action sequences, no overriding central plot (apart a vague "we're at war") and indeed no real feeling of the context (a gritty interstellar war) within whith the book is set. There are hints of such things, Archer dealing with his reputation following the events of "Kobayashi Maru", loss of various colonies and battles etc, but these are not elaborated on in-text. Any development happens `off screen' as it were, with the reader being rather clumsily informed about them through pieces of dialogue. I was disappointed with the previous books as Martin seems to avoid writing action sequences; for this book he has included coherent plots and character development to his aversions.

The book is also perhaps even more disappointing as a piece of Star Trek canon. It goes without saying I bought this as I am a Star Trek fan and anyone reading this review has, I'd imagine, searched for this book for the same reason. The Romulan War and the birth of the Federation have been massive parts of ST history that until now have been left untouched and... That's it?. For example, The Battle of Cheron (oft mentioned, never elaborated) should have been an epic confrontation that explains Romulan animosity even 200 years later, and that's the best Martin could do? To say why would give away spoilers but, while I know all fans have their own vision of "how things should have been done", I don't think I've been more disappointed since Darth Vader was revealed to be a whiney emo kid with mother issues.

Again, much of this stems from the structure. I doubt it will give anything away to say the Federation is founded at the end of the book, but this sentence is about as many words as Martin devotes to explaining how it came about. Given the "earth stands alone" nature of the past few novels, a little more detail would have been nice. As for the war itself, the Romulans we know are careful and manipulative, but such Machiavellian plans are impossible to develop with such a disjointed narrative. Martin therefore relies on increasingly insane super villain-esque events to inject the story with a bit of drama and tension, yet given all these threats are introduced and resolved in a half dozen pages, they fail to do even this. While it is no doubt hard to write a compelling story that can fit seamlessly into a detailed existing universe, many authors have done so without resorting to events so extreme others (in universe that is) would definitely have mentioned at some point when referencing the war.

To Brave the Storm is disappointing as both a Star Trek book and a general piece of science fiction. I would advise buying this only if you think that vague sense of closure that comes from seeing something to the end is worth the £4 price tag.
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on 29 May 2012
What have Those Who Make The Decisions got against Star Trek: Enterprise? As a general fan of all things Trek I, like many others I suspect, felt that the TV series, having started off rather slowly, was just building up nicely to its obvious climax, namely the war with The Romulans and the subsequent founding of The Federation. Then the TV execs pulled the plug resulting in the deeply unsatisfactory mess that were the last episodes, leaving us thinking "Was that it?"

So I was heartened when the subsequent novels came out and once we got past the need to somehow reincarnate one of the central characters, the storyline picked itself up again, existing characters were re-fleshed out and new ones introduced. The Trek universe of the early 22nd century was enlarged and I looked forward to an on-going series of novels providing much more detail about the various "historical" facts that we already knew about. To be fair to Michael Martin, I realise that unlike pretty much every other Trek storyline (Titan, Typhon Pact, "New" Voyager etc..) which are open ended both in timescale and scope, Enterprise has a clearly defined end point which must be a bit restricting from the writers perspective. A good author should be able to adapt their narrative however and still provide exciting, believable stories about a period of Trek history that has a fundamental impact on all that came after it. Regrettably this is not the case with this novel.

Overall the impression left is of a hasty hotch-potch of a story, far below the standard of the other Enterprise novels and Mr Martin's other works in the Trek genre. There are just too many loose ends to tie up, too many characters whose individual stories warranted a fuller treatment and too many leaps in circumstance from the previous novel Beneath the Raptor's Wing that are barely explained. Assuming for a moment that you agree with the decision to bring this storyline to a close (which I lament) at the very least it seems to me that the whole Romulan War storyline should have warranted a trilogy by itself (rather like the climactic conflict with The Borg in the Destiny trilogy) with then perhaps a final story describing the birth of the United Federation of Planets. This would have given the author space to bring all the stories and characters together in a much more satisfactory manner. As it is, apart from Archer, T'Pol and Trip who feature throughout (and even they are moved around in a rather disjointed manner) some of the supporting characters barely warrant a scant paragraph in this novel, despite having played quite substantial roles in either the TV series, the previous stories, or even both!

Why buy this book? Like other reviewers have said, I suppose to get some sort of closure, however unsatisfactory. There is a lack of detail in some areas that really irritates and the need to cover a timescale of around thirty years means there are jumps in the narrative that leave you thinking "hold on- did I miss a page there?" I don't know if the decision to end it was made by Michael Martin, or by some other anonymous third party- if the former then sorry, it's a poor effort. If the latter you can have some sympathy Mr Martin- asking any author to wrap the previous multiple storylines up in one book is just unrealistic and I doubt anyone could have done much better. Some people have said that Enterprise was always the poor relation by comparison to the other TV series (I'm not sure I entirely agree with that either), but I feel the previous novels held their own and the storyline did not deserve to be axed in quite such a brutal manner, for a second time. Like I said before... History repeating itself.
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on 16 January 2013
I think it's only fair I give warning that this review will contain spoilers, as I feel it's the only way to give a proper review of this book. Please do not read any further if you do not wish to learn anything which cannot be unlearned.

Well... what can I say about this book except "what went wrong?!" I've had a few days since finishing the book to mull over the experience, and while I came out of it more positive originally, I am now feeling less favourable towards the whole thing.

To Brave the Storm pales in comparison to Beneath the Raptor's Wing in just about every sense, bar one - the crew of Enterprise do get a lot more time in the limelight. Unfortunately, this is not a good a thing as you might imagine.

While I did see complaints about the main characters' spotlight time being minimal in part I, their presence in part II is actually fairly inconsequential. Beyond learning that the characters are older and have mostly received promotions, absolutely nothing new is learned about any of them.

Reed, Hoshi and Mayweather are relegated to an almost peripheral role as they were in the TV series. Indeed, Mayweather's return to Enterprise, and any kind of conflict between him and his replacement are totally glossed over. A main member of the original crew swallows his pride and matures beyond his prejudices for Archer's perceived mistake regarding the Kobayashi Maru and returns to his original ship all in the blink of an eye, with no fanfare, just a sentence to explain his presence away. And as for Ensign Leydon - the helmsperson he is replacing - you have to remember she's served on Enterprise almost as long as Mayweather at this point, but clearly she hasn't earned the same respect from Archer!

While we're talking about Mayweather - his bizarre lack of interaction with Gannet Brooks throughout had me wondering if she was indeed the same character he was involved with in Demons/Terra Prime. Further to that, absolutely no mention of Gannet working for Starfleet Intelligence is made during any of her appearances as far as I recall. Surely a wartime correspondent who spent over a year on the front lines would be a valuable asset for Starfleet Intelligence, no?

Phlox barely even figures at all after the earliest chapters, and nothing is learned about him in the aftermath of the war.

A very disappointing aspect of this story for me is the scope of the book is nowhere near as large as part I. The entire book focuses on the four primary plot threads - Enterprise, Admiral Valdore, T'Pau and Trip. Very little is done to expand on the politics and relationships that contributed to the rich story and feeling of community in the first book. The Tellarites and Andorians are mostly absent after they pull the forces back from the front line, and despite a rather odd non-sequitur involving Shran's wife and child, hardly anything more is mentioned about anyone outside of the main four parties. The bickering and internal politics between the general public, Starfleet, MACO, the United Earth Government, the Coalition Compact and the Earth News Service are also amongst the list of casualties in this book.

Also, the timeframe of this story takes massive jumps to get from 2156 to 2161. This leads it to be a very hollow experience when compared to Beneath the Raptor's Wing. The time jumps, in addition to the dropping of the bigger picture makes me feel like a lot of threads that were given significant focus in the first part (such as Tobin Dax, Columbia, the search for ECS Horizon, etc), were ultimately pointless in the grand scheme of things.

These jumps also have the negative effect of no one scene having any particular emotional impact - for instance we learn at one point that Captain Ramirez of Intrepid is killed. This is someone we met in the series, and while we didn't know much about him, it was someone that we actually saw. Any emotional impact is wiped away when the next scenes are taking place a year later. Everyone else has moved on, so should the reader. In fact, this gives the whole book the feeling of not so much a continuing narrative, as a dramatised encyclopaedia, picking out the major points of the war.

I'm not sure if this is due to the time jumps - but there's a rather obvious and jarring command from Archer at one point to "raise shields". Up to that point, I don't recall any talk of shields being developed or installed on any vessels. In fact, the only tech advancement we see during this story is the Daedalus-class vessels being upgraded to be Warp Five capable.

Some of the plot points are contrived, even for sci-fi, such as Trip falling into the lap of Terix, who just so happens to be on a rendezvous with Valdore, who just so happens to have a Tal Shiar operative on hand, who just so happens to be an undercover Vulcan...

Also in this category - it's not mentioned until after Valdore picks up Trip and T'Luadh that the Tal Shiar operative actually knows Trip's real identity. Which begs the question - did Trip really have years' worth of the drug to keep his blood green on him (time dilation notwithstanding)?

Everything is inevitably building up towards the Battle of Cheron - the deciding battle of the war. Of course we know Starfleet will prevail, just like we know it will lead to the Federation being formed. And if you've read Last Full Measure - we know from the prologue that Trip survives the whole thing anyway. As Enterprise itself was a prequel, we know where it's all going, but that never stopped the series from delivering tense drama, such as Azati Prime, Damage and Terra Prime. As the old saying goes, "the journey is just as important as the destination". Unfortunately, this book does not live up to that.

The battle itself was no more epic, no more exciting than any of the other battles described in either part of the story. Unfortunately, action scenes do not seem to be Mr Martin's forté, and the battle scenes that do have any degree of detail are rather flat. In fact, more often than not, you're taken away from the main scene of the action, follow some secondary character and then dropped back into the battle once all the damage has been done. Something TNG didn't get right until about the third season was "show, don't tell" - this book is the literary equivalent of that failing. Indeed, an action writer's finesse such as David Mack's is sorely missed throughout this book (as anyone who has read his Corps of Engineers or Vanguard efforts will testify).

Another prime example of this would be when we discover the Romulans broke the last line of defense and managed to nuke two major cities on Earth. On a positive note, we had seen these shock kamikaze tactics used to emotional and climactic effect on at least two previous occasions - but this is Earth we're talking about - there's a vested interest from the reader. Because it's EARTH. It's who we're SUPPOSED to root for! Instead, it's something we only see the aftermath of, and at best it's a couple of sentences describing Archer's guilt and grief.

The deciding battle itself is won - barely - and rather than come to terms with the hell of war, mourn fallen comrades and pick up the pieces, we're thrown straight into the next section. The war is over, the Romulans have declared peace (to bide their time most likely), the Federation Charter is being signed, Archer has moved on and Enterprise has been mothballed... As a reader, I was left wondering what I'd just read - the entire series had essentially just ended in one chapter, without an adequate conclusion, just a "there it is, accept it". No characters looking forward to being explorers rather than soldiers, no celebrations from ANY of the people we met along the way... just a final bit of Romulan Machiavellian hijinks to wrap things up.

The story then unsatisfactorily finishes by jumping 25 years into the future and catches up with a couple of the key players and a less than subtle wrap-up of what became of Trip, T'Pol and their future. Apart from a fleeting reference to Hoshi living on Tarsus IV (which a DS9 episode mentions suffered a major massacre during the post-war period) and Archer being involved in politics, absolutely nothing else is learned. And then it just ends.

Considering readers had followed the relaunch since Last Full Measure - probably to mostly undo the dreadful series finale - what we're served up is essentially These Are The Voyages II. Overall, this jaded the whole experience for me as it did not have a satisfying conclusion.

The only thing I really learned? Archer never liked the title Commodore.

I do believe there is a new chapter in the series being penned by Christopher L Bennett, called Rise of the Federation, scheduled for release later in 2013 - hopefully this will set Enterprise back on the right track and make a move back to stories that are as much about the characters as they are about filling in the blanks (barely) in Trek history.
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on 20 November 2011
I have to admit that this book wasn't quite what I was expecting, but nonetheless earns its place in the Star Trek continuity. It's the second part of a duology about the war between Earth and Romulus that has been established in Trek lore for some decades as happening prior to the foundation of the Federation, and something that the Enterprise series was long thought to be planned to be about.

Previous reading is required for this - the other Enterprise continuation novels are vital if you're going to understand where the characters are, and this novel wraps all of these up. The plot in this 'episode' starts a bit slowly. It's quite a disjointed storyline, focussing on several key parts of the war rather than being a single narrative within the war, and as such manages to cover a lot more than I was expecting.

Once the first few parts are out of the way though the speed and the action pick up to an exciting pace, and this continues through to the end. It becomes an enjoyable read and I almost wish that there was some more of this to come. The focus is very much on Archer, Trip and T'Pol, with some of the others getting barely more than a brief mention, which is where the TV series evolved to, and I was a little disappointed to not get a bit more on the others.

I still feel that Martin's output has suffered since he stopped writing with Andy Mangels, and the narrative feels a little rougher and less friendly than some of the earlier stories in the series.

This feels like a good place for Enterprise's story to come to an end. I don't think that there's going to be any more novels that continue Star Trek's 2150s storyline, and this novel certainly serves as a much better close than the final episode of the TV series did six years ago.
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on 29 May 2016
Incredible book, well written, great detail, insane level of detail to intergalactic politics and interagency (Starfleet-MACO) cooperation and rivalry. Well worth the buy. Loving this series so much.
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on 8 August 2012
"To Brave The Storm" by Michael A. Martin is the concluding book in the Romulan War series which started with "Beneath The Raptor's Wing". After my enjoyment of the first book in the series I was really looking forward to reading this one. This was enhanced by my knowledge that there are no new Enterprise novels expected for the foreseeable future so this could be the last new story in that franchise that I read for quite a while.

The novel chronicles the final years of the Earth-Romulan war with the main focus being on humanity's continued fight against the Romulans whilst their allies opt to sit out the war. The outnumbered Starfleet struggles to hold the line and the prospects for Earth become increasingly grimmer as the years pass. Meanwhile Trip Tucker continues to conduct espionage in Romulan territory hoping that somehow his work behind the lines will help Starfleet avoid seemingly inevitable defeat.

After finishing the novel I have to say that I do have some mixed feelings about it. The overall plot and direction were decent and I really did find myself hooked as I followed humanity's struggle for survival. In addition, it does wrap up the story of the Romulan war in a competent enough manner which was good to see, especially considering I am not sure when we will see a new Enterprise novel again. However, there was just something a little bit unsatisfying about the entire reading experience due to a rushed feeling that pervaded the entire book.

This can easily be seen in the way that the first book covered 1 year in the war whilst this one covered a full 6 years in fewer pages. This results in many of the plotlines being quickly closed down without any real fleshing out or enhancement. In addition, the narrative jumps months and event years in between chapter which spoils both the flow of the novel and the ability of the individual scenes to sink in emotionally with a reader.

It was also a big let down to see such a narrow focus on just the main characters and events considering the previous novel had done such a great job in giving a more panoramic view of the war and it how it affected everyone, including regular citizens. Then again, considering characters such as Mayweather, Sato, Phlox and Reed got hardly a mention either it probably isn't surprising that Martin didn't have room to fit in a more epic look at the war.

I also felt that the rushed nature of the novel had an effect on the characters that were focused on as well. Whilst I think the main characters were portrayed well, several of the character arcs were rather stunted. A prime example of this was towards the end of the novel in regards to Trip's return from his espionage mission. There was so much around this that could have been delved into yet we see none of it, all we get is a little epilogue in the future showing the reader that he is happily living with T'Pol.

In Summary, whilst this review may imply that I didn't really enjoy the book you shouldn't be fooled. It is an enjoyable and entertaining enough read but the rushed nature of the plot was a let down considering what I had read in "Beneath The Raptor's Wing". Perhaps things would have been so different had Martin been able to write the Romulan War over three novels instead of two but alas we will never know.
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on 1 September 2013
Was a little disappointed with this novel but since books are all we Enterprise lovers have to rely on, I decided to give it a try. A good effort by the author but I felt it fell short of what could have been a really good follow up to the much missed and - in my humble opinion - great show which was pulled just as it was really hitting its stride. That said, I would not deter anyone from buying as this is just my opinion!
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on 24 January 2012
I was really looking forward to this book, after the first in the 2 part series left me looking forward to the sequel. I always thought that the story of the Romulan War needed to be told and was pleased that the subject was, at last, getting the attention it deserved.

I don't really have much to add to the specific comments made in the first 2 reviews. I agree that the story felt a bit disjointed in this second book and that the continued focus on Archer, Trip and T'Pol was frustrating - so little time given to the other Enterprise crew members although there were some developments in their story lines. Mostly I was disappointed that there wasn't more about the founding of the Federation, which is a shame as Mr Martin developed some good characters from the other races and I'd have been happy to read more about them and maybe a bit more of the politics involved.

Also, most of the prior books in the Enterprise storyline have been really good and Mr Martin set himself a very high benchmark with the first Romulan War book, so it was always going to be difficult to match up to that high standard.

But I'd still be happy to read more about these characters and their timeline. There is a lot of Trek history to be told between Enterprise and TOS and I'd like to read more about how the Federation grew and some of the missions during that century.

Not one of the best Trek books, but not a bad one and definately worth reading to find out how the Romulan War comes to an end.
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on 4 April 2012
do not buy this book it is terrible
it it quite simply a mess much worse than the last one
with an author that seems to have no idea how to write
all of a sudden
shame theres the seed of a good story buried under all the mush
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on 11 June 2014
Good story, well written, great use of well known characters, and good rolling action from start to finish. Nice ending especially the Stargate Atlantis reference :-)
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