50BC09: Book Number 28


FINALLY! Oh thank the Prophets, I have found a Star Trek book worth reading! I’ve temporarily abandoned hope regarding finding a decent TNG novel from the post-Nemesis flotsam, and I’ve now switched over to the “eighth season” DS9 books. First on the agenda is Avatar, Book One of Two, by S.D. Perry.

This was a brilliant way to continue the DS9 story. I take special joy in this idea since I was so disappointed in how the writers ended DS9 by scattering all those characters across the Alpha and Gamma Quadrants so unceremoniously. I get the fact that life often behaves in such a fashion, pulling apart friends and lovers in similar ways, but the fact that they did it to so many characters all at once…it was just too painful an ending for a show that I daresay often gave TNG a run for being my favorite series.

Plus, the added bonus to this book (and I’m assuming the second part, which I have already started reading) is that it brings in the TNG cast as well. So far, there’s a parallel story taking place on the Enterprise-E that is going to end up bringing the crew to DS9. I suspect the doo will hit the fan in some way then, since the new security chief on DS9 is none other than Ro Laren.

Okay, here’s where my biggest complaint about this book comes into play: Ro Laren? Really? I get that Ro was originally supposed to be the liaison between the Bajorans and the Federation on DS9, but Michelle Forbes kaboshed that idea because she didn’t want to be shackled to a television show. So what better way to finally put Ro where she belongs than in the books! But…she was Maquis. According to Voyager, the Dominion killed all the remaining Maquis in the Alpha Quadrant. But Ro Laren survived…to become DS9’s security chief.

Yeah. Perry does an admirable job of trying to make this make sense, but it’s about as much of a stretch as the elastic in Rush Limbaugh’s Fruit of the Looms after Thanksgiving dinner. Still, it’s so great to have Ro Laren back in the fold…even though Peter David, Michael Jan Friedman, and Robert Greenberger already brought Ro and Kira together once before, in their DS9 novel collaboration, The Wrath of the Prophets. Of course, we all know that the novels are not considered canon at all…if they were, Peter David’s Vendetta would have been a prime argument against Seven of Nine ever being more post-Borg than full-blown catatonic.

Oh noes, I’ve gone hardcore geek now, eh? Needless to say, even with as “coincidental” as Ro Laren’s resurfacing is, Perry does an admirable job of making it as believable as possible. Plus, Perry juggles several major plot lines beautifully, including a murder on the space station that becomes Ro’s first major way to prove herself to Kira, the surfacing of an ancient Bajoran text that speaks of frightful events to transpire, the discovery of the Orb of Memory, the plight of Jake Sisko, plus a boatload of new characters to help round out the story and push it along. She does a beautiful job of keeping everything racing along at a wonderfully engaging pace, and I can’t wait to keep plowing through the second half of the story.

Final score: 4.5/5. I’m deducting half a point because the Ro Laren stretch is still something that I found difficult to completely believe…but not quite as bad as who is currently wooing the good lieutenant. I won’t say who, but I’m sure there’s a Rule of Acquisition somewhere that might be able to explain it to you a bit better than I could.

Here’s hoping that the second half is even half as good as the first!