Though the Federation still reels from Andor's decision, Captain Riker and the USS Titan are continuing to search the beta quadrant for an ancient civilization's long-lost terraforming technology. Titan encounters the planet Ta'ith, home to the remnant of a once-great society that may hold the very secrets they seek. But they are also perilously close to the deadly Vela Pulsar, potentially jeopardizing both the ship and what remains of the Ta'ithan civilization.
Reviewed on 23rd August 2012
Nominally the seventh book in the Star Trek: Titan series, this book actually follows on from the 'Typhon Pact'-branded novel Seize the Fire by the same author. It follows the Titan as it investigates an unusual pulsar and deals with some of the repercussions of events in the wider Star Trek novel universe.
The narrative is written in an interesting style, with the narrator seeming to take on the voice of the character it is aligned with despite remaining third person. This is something I haven't noticed from Martin before but in places makes the book hard to read - particularly when he's telling the story from the point of view of the new aliens. I would have liked to have spent more time exploring the character of Pava as well, who seems to be skipped over despite seeming the most interesting character.
The plot is slow to get going - it's a curious mix of two plotlines which seem completely disconnected, which while a little reminiscent of the old A/B-plot episode structure from the TV series feels lacking. It then ends very abruptly, which for one of the stories seems like a chapter of follow-up has fallen out somewhere.
As people have said of Martin's other works, his writing is about telling what happens, but there's little by way of real character development. There are character moments certainly, but they don't change or grow. It's also annoying that despite the big thing about the Titan being its diverse crew, the characters he uses are the same ones and same races we've seen before. The most frustrating thing though was the very obvious elephant-in-the-room that seemed to be built up as some big mystery when it was obvious to the reader exactly what was going on.
However it's not a bad adventure, and once I'd got my head around them the alien species were an interesting, if under-developed concept, and it served to continue the ongoing storyline - so is a must read for anyone following along.