Star Trek Vanguard: Harbinger

Friday, June 3, 2011

Star Trek Vanguard: Harbinger
David Mack, 2005

Premise: Plots, espionage and secrets ride just beneath the surface at Starbase 47, aka Vanguard. The plot contains mysterious artifacts, smugglers, gangsters, lovers and the opportune arrival of the Starship Enterprise. Set near the start of The Original Series.

I wanted to like this book a lot more than I actually liked it. The plot is very convoluted, without much of a solid through-line, and there were so many characters that it got a good way into the book before I could start to keep them straight. I could see this working well as a series of episodes on a television show, actually; there was a succession of small climaxes and interweaving plot-lines that built on each other. I'm just not sure it's the best structure for a book.

There was a lot of solid character work, spread between intriguing new characters and reliable canon characters. It was just... so many characters got POV time that it held back any momentum from building. There were so many characters, but there wasn't really any one that I connected with. There are eleven different close-third person perspectives by page 63, when the narration finally returns to a character for the first time.

So yes, part of my disappointment could easily be personal taste. Recently I'm really into personal stories, stories that follow one character.

The ideas here are solid. There are interesting threads in a lot of the stories being told, interesting politics, interesting character quirks for the most part.  It was a fairly enjoyable read by the end, but I had to struggle through the first hundred pages.

2 Stars – An Okay Book

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