Sunday, October 11, 2009

Star Trek: Voyager - Unworthy by Kirsten Beyer

The post-television Star Trek books continue to take Star Trek to all-new heights of AWESOME.


The spoilers here are mostly for the previous Voyager book, Full Circle, also by Kirsten Beyer. However they're the set-up for this book, so I really can't discuss this book at all without mentioning them. And besides, it's written all over the back cover.

Unworthy is another of the post-Nemesis/post-Destiny books, so it's completely going forward with all the characters, and the authors are free to do pretty much anything they want with them.

The TrekLit world hasn't really known what to do with the Voyager characters since they got home. Pocket printed four books, all by Christie Golden, showing how their homecoming went and the difficulties of re-acclimating to the Alpha Quadrant and the first mission of the USS Voyager under the command of Captain Chakotay (since we saw Admiral Janeway in Star Trek Nemesis). While I felt the books would have worked great as the last few episodes of Voyager, they received a rather lukewarm reception... much like the show itself. Christie Golden got busy with non-ST projects, and there were no new Voyager books for years, and many of the characters wound up guest-starring in other Trek books, especially Admiral Janeway and Seven of Nine.

But with the mega-event that was the Star Trek: Destiny book trilogy, everything changed. And now Voyager's getting a fresh start.

Starfleet has now worked out a slipstream drive, meaning that ships can now go from quadrant to quadrant in days instead of decades. It's not easy, so it's used sparingly. Not every ship has it. But Voyager has now been equipped with it. And Voyager's new mission is to lead a fleet of eight ships back to the Delta Quadrant. This time they know they can get home. They can still communicate with Starfleet Command, albeit with a delay (the wonderful plot device that always gave good ol' Kirk so much leeway). They can try to clean up some of the messes they made on their first trip through the Delta Quadrant, continue peaceful exploration of the Delta Quadrant, and try to deal with some of the fallout from the Destiny books (which is HUGE).

It is a fantastic set-up and something that, to be honest, probably should have been done somewhere around Season 4 of the TV series.

With an entire fleet at its disposal the cast has gotten a bit huge, but it works really well. Nearly all the main characters are here (and the ones that aren't have very good reasons not to be). They've all grown a lot since the TV series, and are so much more the interesting for it. Chakotay went through hell in Full Circle, and all through Unworthy he now has a calm serenity that makes him wonderful to watch. Seven of Nine's journey to find her balance between human and Borg has never been played so well. Tom has grown into a responsible person, B'Elanna has accepted her Klingon heritage, and the lengths the two of them have to go to make their marriage work and protect their daughter really made me care. And Harry, well, he's still Harry, and I feel he spends most of his time reacting to everything else that's going on, but he never once felt out of character.

I hated to put this book down. And now that I've finished it, I want to go back to the beginning of Full Circle and just start reading them both again. (I won't, though. I have too many unread books to justify doing that.)

This is the best time for Trek books, ever.

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