How do you take a species that could have been a throw-away contribution to the Star Trek ethos and weave a unique and intricate tale from their story? Well, just ask Kirsten Beyer; or, better yet, read the results in her latest contribution to the Star Trek: Voyager saga, “Children of the Storm.” The TrekMovie novel review below.
REVIEW: Star Trek: Voyager: Children of the Storm
Mass-market Paperback – 432 pages
Pocketbooks – May 2011 – $7.99
As one of the first missions in Starfleet’s jaunt into the Delta Quadrant, three of the Full Circle ships – the Demeter, Planck, and Quirinal – and their crews seek to open relations with the mysterious alien species known as the Children of the Storm. These aliens, first introduced by David Mack in the Destiny Trilogy, had been able to drive the Borg from their system. The Federation’s interest is repaid with a direct and deadly attack.
While these crucial events are happening thousands of light years away, the Fleet Commander, Afsarah Eden, is still coming to terms with the reality of her ex-husband’s identity as she struggles to understand her own. When a tantalizing object comes aboard that might begin to open realms of exploration into her own life, she begins thinking about how the mission to the Delta Quadrant may bring her closer to home than she might imagine.
In the process of investigating the fates of the Demeter, Planck, and Quirinal, the Voyager crew learns more and more about the unique nature of the Children of the Storm, and offer to broker a life changing and perspective altering meeting for the Children, one which holds the key to the safety of the Starfleet ships who have dared to trespass in the Children’s home system.
With “Children of the Storm”, Kirsten Beyer continues to cement the vitality of her relationship with the Voyager re-launch. She owns each and every character in the story, and deploys them with ease. She effortlessly pens fan favorites (several years and life changes removed from their former Delta Quadrant selves) while, at the same time, introducing new and vital individuals to the storytelling mix.
Afsarah Eden’s intrigue and draw manifest themselves with gusto in “Children of the Storm”. The woman is no Janeway clone. She has her own drive, her own conscience, and her own sense of duty and obligation. Her struggles, both with Admiral Batiste’s departure and her own sense of self lend a noble doubt to her façade of control, one which Beyer helps us glimpse in all the right ways throughout the book.
Eden isn’t the only well treated set of new faces, however. The starship Demeter’s skipper and first officer, O’Donnell and Fife, are also treated with an amazing degree of depth – unsurprising in one sense, since, with only a handful of ships in the quadrant, he current Voyager book series has plenty of pages to go around. However, as events unfold, you begin to deeply appreciate both individual’s personal struggles with what is, at best, an unorthodox command scheme. It is not the mechanics of the scheme, so much as the personal interplay between the two of them, and the crew’s reactions to their interplay that make them such a satisfying add to “Children of the Storm”.
Of particular interest is the novel and ‘just so right’ way that the ship’s new counselor uses to attempt to bridge the gap that has developed between former best friends Tom Paris and Harry Kim. Their story, together with B’Elanna’s struggles in assuming the new role of fleet engineer while also re-adapting to life aboard a starship, pay great dividends in giving old favorites a chance to really shine among fans of the show.
For a long time, the Deep Space Nine re-launch held the mantle of ‘best ongoing storyline’ in Trek literature for many readers, but with her recent Voyager books, Beyer has safely placed herself ahead of the pack. Only the Vanguard saga stands toe to toe with the quality and consistency of the new Voyager novels, and at the moment, having blazed through “Children of the Storm”, I can say that the consistency of a single writer gives – at least for me – an added flow to the meta-story over either Vanguard of the DS9 re-launch. Simply put, the Voyager re-launch is currently the best Star Trek out there in the literary world. “Children of the Storm”, for so many reasons, shows why. Drama, danger, family, camaraderie, reflection, and purpose all exude from the pages of this excursion, and even if you, like me, had little love for the Voyager series while it was on the air, you may just find this to be some of your most worthwhile Trek reading in
quite some time.
MoreVoyager re-launch from Kirsten Beyer
More summer Star Trek reading
There are more new and recent Star Trek novels to keep you going for this summer, including Christopher L. Bennett’s "Star Trek: Department of Temporal Investigations: Watching The Clock" (see TrekMovie review) and David McIntee’s "Star Trek The Next Generation: Indistinguishable from Magic" (TrekMovie review) There is also the recently released "Star Trek: Vanguard: Declassified
" collection with stories by Dayton Ward, Kevin Dilmore, Marco Palmieri and David Mack (look for reviews soon). And if you want a story from the new Star Trek movie universe, there is the just-released "Star Trek: Starfleet Academy: The Gemini Agent," by Rick Barba.
And coming up later in July, James Swallow will explore the relationship between Spock and Valeris in "Star Trek: Cast No Shadow."
Pocket Books provided TrekMovie with a copy of this book for review.