7th July 2011
The third novella focussing on the characters in the alternate timeline set up in JJ Abrams' 2009 film sees the cadets reaching the end of their first year at the Academy. If the stress of exams wasn't enough, Kirk is having black-outs, and some pretty strong allegations aimed at him.
This is certainly the best of the books in the Academy series so far. The characters come across as more mature and the setting much more closely resembles a real university, with the campus full of love and drinking rather than fighting and tradition. That said, there are some silly things like the concept of 'dead week' - a week dedicated to pranking - which felt like a bit of unnecessary padding.
The strength of this book is in the relationships between the characters - the plot seeming to take second place and ultimately being a bit on the bland side. Kirk and Bones' friendship is shown to be developing well, and each of them gain a love interest - a subject which is given a slightly more realistic approach than in the previous books. The book also introduces Pavel Chekov, and gives him much more attention than he got in the film, which I really enjoyed.
Overall I think this could have made it as a full length novel rather than this format - expand the plot and the detail a little and it would have had much more appeal. As it is the style and presentation of this is just a little on the childish side to be appropriate for the teenage market it is apparently aimed at. Still, the best in the series so far.