Kirsten Beyer - Shastrix Books

Kirsten Beyer

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Architects of Infinity

Architects of Infinity

26th May 2018

The latest in Kirsten Beyer’s continuation novels for Star Trek: Voyager is a little more of a stand-alone story, as the crews of the Full Circle fleet discover a new planet, and a new element, and decide to take some shore leave. As is typical with Starfleet shore leave, it’s not as relaxing as might have been hoped.

It’s actually one of my favourite of the Voyager novels of the past few years. I think I like that it’s an enclosed story with little of the continuing narrative, which I struggle to remember well enough when episodes are months or years apart. I also appreciated the spread of characters, ranging across those we know from the TV series (which finished, somehow, 17 years ago) and the new characters introduced in the novels.

As with much of Beyer’s writing, this story has a strong family element. When she started writing the Voyager continuation series this used to annoy me - I found it a bit ‘soppy’ and not what I was expecting. But as I’ve matured and grown older, I’ve come to appreciate it more, and find myself feeling much more sympathetic to this part of the characters’ lives.

A good Voyager novel, and one that keeps me encouraged to continue reading, despite the reduced publication speed while Beyer is busy making other Star Trek.

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A Pocket Full of Lies

A Pocket Full of Lies

25th March 2016

Kirsten Beyer, holder of the Voyager torch for the last few years, provides us with another trip to the delta quadrant to see the crew again. This time it's a stand alone novel that revisits a couple of the alien races met during the TV series. This makes for a nice change after the last few novels which have been a continuing arc.

It's a good story that focuses on the idea of family. While a of of Voyager has that family feel to it, I do think that it's been a bit over done in the books of late, and it really does feel in this story that there's a bit too much focus on this theme this time which seems repetitive.

The story here though is really well constructed from elements of the TV series and some earlier novels, woven together into a main plot that flows nicely, visits a number of spaces, and sees several developments that have potential to lead to more stories in the future.

For the most part, an enjoyable visit to this part of the Trek universe. I still think that some more variety in the authorship would be good for the series, but this one works well.

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Atonement

Atonement

12th September 2015

Voyager is back for the seventh story in Kirsten Beyer's re-relaunch of the series, and she must be doing something right because the publishers keep hiring her back. Sadly, I'm not so sure I would in their place - although there are some parts which remain fantastic, much of the book did little for me.

This is also the third part of a trilogy - and the combination of being books 3, 7 and 9 in a series leads to the many plot threads being a little confusing. Going in, there are at least three separate stories going on - one on Earth and several in the Delta Quadrant, featuring a range of characters both from the TV series and that have been introduced since.

My main issue with this book is that, despite having read all the books so far, I don't feel like I know the characters or where the plot has got to. One of the plots deals with TV show characters and some aliens which have come up at various points through the earlier novels, but I didn't feel that I'd ever been engaged with those plots sufficiently to feel concern for the characters and an urge for them to succeed. Another plot line followed new characters only, from one of the many ships that have joined Voyager's mission - and again I don't feel like I've had enough memorable exposure to the characters to make their plights engaging.

The one plot that did grip me was the one set on Earth - it featured a number of characters I'm familiar with, both from the TV show and from the wider novel series, where they've been well established and implanted into my memory by strong us by multiple authors. It had a strong plot which I was motivated to understand and follow and I was engaged in the idea that the characters solve the problems they face. This plot line as an entire novel would have really gripped me, but instead it's presented as the B-story. In all, this left me really looking forward to those chapters which followed the third of the story that interested me, and phasing out during the other scenes.

I really want to enjoy reading about Voyager and the characters that I've grown to know over many years, but I think it might be time that the focus was reviewed for the novel series - to tie it back to characters that the reader knows and is interested in, and to provide more standalone stories that don't assume an in-depth knowledge of the novels that have gone before.

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Acts of Contrition

Acts of Contrition

18th October 2014

The latest novel in the Voyager continuation series follows immediately on from the previous story, 'Protectors'. The 'Full Circle' fleet, including Voyager, are continuing diplomatic relations with a new culture, but far more interesting are the side plots about the characters we know from the TV show.

This is the sixth book in the series that Kirsten Beyer has written, and I'm afraid to say I think it's all got a bit too convoluted to follow properly. I find that I can't remember what's happened well enough to understand the story properly, and it takes me most of the book to set in my mind who each of the new characters are. I think that at some point I'll have to do a full re-read to catch up. It's a shame as this happened before with New Frontier and the first DS9 relaunch, and I'd hoped that the editors might have improved things this time around.

This book is the middle of a three-book story arc, and continues a number of plot lines set up in earlier novels. I found (as always), Beyer's strongest storytelling is in the parts that deal closely with the characters, their families, and their interpersonal relationships. Her action pieces and even the science fiction don't entice me as much. In this novel, the story lines around Tom Paris, Seven of Nine, and The Doctor were particularly interesting, and I wished that far more had been made of these - the 'main' plot felt much more about positioning the pieces ready for the final act in the next book.

I didn't find this book as engaging as I would have liked, and I certainly didn't have an urge to constantly keep reading, but the plot is sound and I have enjoyed revisiting some familiar characters who continue to be written really well. I think that the next book should bring this sequence to a close though and allow for a good new entry point following that, to give new readers a chance to drop in without having to go through the back catalogue.

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Protectors

Protectors

26th February 2014

It's book four of Kirsten Beyer's re-relaunch of Star Trek Voyager following the events of the series finale, the first relaunch and the complicated inter-twined novels around the Destiny trilogy. Although the authors say that each book can be read alone, there are a lot of references here to previous novels and I think they would be frustrating and baffling to a reader who hadn't been keeping up.

The story feels reminiscent of the author's earlier book Full Circle, with two parallel plot lines following different characters - one more action packed and one more emotional and character driven. The latter was the one that I found most engaging. It's hard to say much about it without dropping spoilers.

The 'main' plot, on Voyager itself, sees the ship investigating a distress signal. There are some interesting science fiction concepts roaming around, but I didn't really feel they were explained in a way that I could really visualise what was happening. The technobabble throughout, but particularly near the beginning, actually distracted me from the plot and felt like it had been picked at random rather than even trying to sound like it was making sense.

The book is meant to be the first part in a trilogy, but as a stand alone I felt there was something missing - it almost subscribes to what I've described before as 'middle-book syndrome', where everything that happens seems to just be reshuffling characters into the place they are wanted for the following book.

Overall though it was enjoyable to visit these characters again and see where they are going next. There's a lot clearly been set up for the future, and if you want to keep reading, then this is a vital book in the series.

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The Eternal Tide

The Eternal Tide

15th September 2012

Kirsten Beyer's fourth post-Destiny Voyager novel picks up on a number of threads that have been hanging over the series for some time, most specifically the mystery surrounding fleet commander Afsarah Eden's past.

It's another great novel and one that's very tightly focussed on the characters. I wasn't too impressed by aspects of the previous novel, but the 'mumsyness' has been toned down with this one and although it is heavily emotion-fuelled there is a much better balance with the narrative.

Some readers may find aspects of the plot disappointing, however I thought they were well executed and delivered the intended results without feeling like a deus ex machina. Beyer explores a number of concepts from the TV series in a new light and in places this makes the story feel a little like those in the Typhon Pact arc.

Overall, another excellent novel in this series that Beyer certainly excels at writing. It does feel like a turning point in the ongoing narrative but I hope the publishers keep the author for a few more episodes.

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Children of the Storm

Children of the Storm

29th July 2011

I really enjoyed the last two Voyager novels - both also by Kirsten Beyer - and have been looking forward to this one for a while. I was a tad disappointed though. Voyager is now part of a small fleet which has returned to the Delta Quadrant on a mission of exploration and diplomacy. Three starships have gone missing while attempting to make contact with a hostile alien species - the Children of the Storm - and Chakotay and his crew must try to find them.

The first thing to note is that the previous two books are prerequisite. You'll need them to know a lot of the characters and to understand the situation. I read the last one when it was released and had trouble remembering where things were, so I'd recommend refreshing your memory if you read it a while ago too.

I found the beginning of this book to be quite weak - possibly because of my poor memory of where things stood - and quite a lot of the book focusses on inter-personal relationships among the crew. There are a number of new relationships, and quite a lot of focus on Miral, the toddler of the Paris family. It seems this has been inspired by the author's own recent parenthood, and in some places it's really cute, but occasionally goes a little over the top. One particular sentence had to be the soppiest and corniest thing I've read for a long time.

Once the plot got going though it switched back to the brilliance I've come to expect from this author, and I was very pleased with her descriptions of the aliens and the crews' interactions with them. Overall the range of new characters work really well and it's a good extension to the Voyager series without feeling forced. Once again I find myself looking forward to more.

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Other reviewed books

Unworthy
Full Circle

Top books

  1. Unworthy
  2. Full Circle
  3. The Eternal Tide
  4. Children of the Storm
  5. Acts of Contrition
  6. Architects of Infinity
  7. Protectors