Spoiler Warning: Medium
Keith R. A. DeCandido is awesome. Didn't I say I expected to love these books? No? Well, I did expect to. KRAD is a fantastic writer. He really knows his Trek inside and out, and no one, but no one writes Klingons as good as he does.
As to the book itself... let's start out with this wonderful blurb from the book's back cover copy:
"These are the voyages of the Klingon Defense Force vessel I.K.S Gorkon, part of the mighty Chancellor class. It's mission: to explore strange new worlds... to seek out new life and new civilizations... ...and to conquer them for the greater glory of the Klingon Empire!"
Now you might think that's just a clever little play on the classic Trek opening, but no, that's actually the plot of the book. After the Dominion War, the Klingon Empire is hurting for resources, so the Gorkon has been sent to explore the Kavrot sector and secure new worlds to help replace what they've lost.
So how do you have a story where the good guys are meant to be conquerors? Simple, you have them encounter another race of ferocious warriors, so there's a lot of honorable combat, and the heroes aren't just wiping out the natives.
There's of course a lot of great characterization, although with so many "K" names (Kargan, Kornan, Kuark, Krevor, etc.) I did get them confused from time to time, but the context always straightened me out pretty quickly.
The only real complaint I have doesn't even originate with this book, but it's used so much it really irks me: I can't stand the Klingon navy being called the Klingon Defense Force. Defense? What is this, Japan? No! These are KLINGONS! It should be the Klingon OFFENSE Force! Okay, I suppose it could be some kind of Orwellian take on "defense," or one of those "the best defense is a good offense" kind of things, but come on... these are the Klingons, f'r cryin' out loud. It should be The Glorious Imperial Fleet That Throughly Stomps Your Jeghpu'wI' Butt or something.
Oh, and a brief correction: Apparently I had a few unpublished draft posts saved, so Moonfall was not my 200th post. This one is. Honest!