I intend to keep doing longer reviews on the first of each month, but I do want to post Lite reviews when I read other books, to jot down my impressions of them, while not going into greater depth or analysis.
The newest edition to the Star Trek Relaunch universe, Star Trek: Takedown, by John Jackson Miller, is an exciting story that features the crews of the USS Enterprise, the USS Titan, and the USS Aventine.
An all-new novel of Star Trek: The Next Generation—one of the most popular Star Trek series of all-time, featuring the adventures of Captain Jean-Luc Picard and the crew of the U.S.S.Enterprise!
When renegade Federation starships begin wreaking destruction across the Alpha Quadrant, Captain Jean-Luc Picard and the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise are shocked to discover that the mastermind behind this sudden threat is none other than Picard’s protégé and friend: Admiral William T. Riker. The newly minted admiral is on board the U.S.S. Aventine as part of a special assignment, even as the mystery deepens behind his involvement in the growing crisis. But the Aventine is helmed by Captain Ezri Dax—someone who is no stranger to breaking Starfleet regulations—and her starship is by far the faster vessel…and Riker cannot yield even to his former mentor. It’s a battle of tactical geniuses and a race against time as Picard struggles to find answers before the quadrant’s great powers violently retaliate against the Federation…
synopsis taken from Amazon.com
While the crews of the Aventine, Titan, and Enterprise have featured prominently in the Relaunch universe, the TNG and Aventine crews really share the spotlight here. Titan‘s crew, will return in Star Trek: Sight Unseen, written by Star Trek Titan’s regular author, James Swallow, due out in October.
This is, as I’ve mentioned before, exactly what a reader should expect from a Relaunch universe book. It’s got lots of action, something that Star Trek on TV simply could not afford, with space battles and vast distances traveled. Takedown, as many Star Trek novels do, relies on preexisting races for conflict or misunderstanding. In this case, they are the Cytherians (seen in ST:TNG’s “The Nth Degree“). I don’t mind this trait, since the Voyager Relaunch is exploring races that Star Trek has never encountered before. It also makes sense because the Alpha and Beta Quadrants are well traveled routes. Randomly inventing a new species we’d never heard of would stretch credibility.
Speaking of new—Takedown introduces a new memeber of the Aventine’s crew, Ensign Nevin Roirdan, a Starfleet officer who is eccentric and brilliant, but whose habit of insubordination and pranks has kept him perpetually at Ensign. He’s an interesting character who hasn’t progressed at all in Starfleet, despite his obvious talent. It’s nice to come across someone like that, since merit so often seems to take precedence.
I find the development of Ezri Dax fascinating, particularly as it pertains to how she and her symbiant get along. They each possess distinct voices, which share the same goals once in a while. Ezri clearly has her fair share of personality quirks, but the Dax also clearly influences her. It’s a nice combination.
One of the aspects of this book I found very enjoyable was the ending. It explores what happens to Starfleet officers when they’ve encountered an alien presence in their minds, for good or ill. The notion that Starfleet would have set up this triage base is nice. The idea that Starfleet just ignored these events doesn’t make sense, but it’s also nice to know that they don’t just hold the events against the officers. And this station’s crew specialize in dealing with that alien trauma.
Takedown is a fun novel. It doesn’t require more than one or two evenings to read. Certainly, at this point, it’s exactly what readers should expect from Star Trek’s Relaunch. It doesn’t blow me away, but it’s certainly an entertaining time. Highly recommended if you like Star Trek and want to read about the further adventures of these characters.