Library Computer: Review – “Star Trek Voyager: Full Circle”

It has been over four years since the last  Star Trek Voyager novel set after the events of the series finale. This week, the Library Computer takes a look at Kirsten Beyer’s new “Voyager: Full Circle”. A 576 page brick, this novel is making up for a lot of lost time to truly take us ‘full circle’ to bring Voyager into alignment with the other TNG-era books. See our review below to find out if this brick can fly.

 


REVIEW – Star Trek Voyager: Full Circle – by Kirsten Beyer

 

[SPOILERS: for this and other recent novels]

 

It’s no secret, if you have read this column before, that I was not the biggest fan of Star Trek: Voyager, which admittedly lead to a touch of trepidation when opening the package and seeing what quickly became known in my own little world as “that Voyager brick”. It sat on my office desk for a few weeks as I considered it and, honestly, purified my mind for the experience.

Kirsten Beyer’s “Full Circle” covers a lot of ground between its covers, and really would have been well suited to serve as two separate books. Fans, however, will be glad that it is all in one… this paperback provides a lot of bang for the buck.

In the wake of Admiral Janeway’s death at the hands of the Borg [in Peter David’s TNG book "Before Dishonor"] , Captain Chakotay and the Voyager crew do their best to move on with their lives, but the fury of their loss, the pain of her absence, affects the lives of many of the crew. The response to her death serves, in essence, as the framing story for the entire tale as Beyer jumps back and forth to different missions in Voyager’s post-finale travels and different situations among the crew as they readjust to life in the Federation.

Two major stories dominate the book, the first set before Janeway’s death, the second after. The first surrounds B’Elanna Torres and her daughter Miral, who has been taken for something akin to a Klingon Messiah. While searching for more information on this Klingon savior at the Boreth Monastery, Torres and her daughter go missing, leaving Tom Paris standing at his parent’s home on earth in utter shell-shock as his entire life appears to be crumbling around him. Following Voyager and Torres through the ins and outs of Klingon prophecy and space, Beyer paints an exciting and fast paced adventure that really draws the reader in and serves to immerse one into the Voyager experience at its best.

In the second half of the story, set mainly in the wake of Janeway’s death, many little events begin building up aboard the Voyager, leading Starfleet to question Chakotay’s command fitness. The entire time we are given the chance to witness Chakotay’s naked grief in private, and his abject changes in public – even as the Federation faces its most chilling threat, its own doom. In the aftermath of the events of the Destiny trilogy, the Federation is preparing a new mission for Voyager, code-named “Project Full Circle”… but there are many open ended questions about the mission, some of which are answered in the waning pages of the book, and others that are opened wide in the final scenes.

While these two storylines can easily be classed as A-stories, a large subset of B-stories features in the pages of “Full Circle”, each of them enhancing what was already a good book, and turning it into a great one. Far from being a boring re-hash of the Voyager that many of us found somewhat lacking on television, Beyer’s take is excellent, meaty fare… and it is one that really demands your attention. So much is going on from page to page that many fans will probably want to give it a second read before her follow-up volume, “Star Trek: Voyager: Unworthy” hits shelves in October.

One of the most enjoyable features of “Full Circle” was the introduction of so many new faces, both on Voyager and in Starfleet. From Counselor Hugh Cambridge to Captain Afsarah Eden and Admiral Willem Batiste, the pages of this book are filled with people who are interesting, engaging, and (sometimes) not quite who you would expect them to be.

In “Full Circle”, Kirsten Beyer has done for the ‘real’ crew of the Voyager what Christopher L. Bennett did for their alternate reality counterparts in last year’s "Myriad Universes: Infinity’s Prism"… she made them a vital and exciting lot. Beyer offers a character driven-story with enough drama, intrigue, suspense, and humor for three or four novels, and did something I never imaged doing with a Star Trek: Voyager book: she created one that I simply drank in, reading the final four-hundred pages in one night. For once I am actually excited as I look forward to seeing the new challenges, characters, and missions that the Voyager and her crew will encounter. Indeed, my friends, this brick can fly… and at slipstream speed too!
 

 
"Voyager: Full Circle" will be available in the next week or so and can be pre-ordered at Amazon

You can also read the first few pages of the prologue at Amazon, just click the ‘look inside’ cover.

 

NEXT TIME…
Coming up next, we we will be reviewing "Star Trek: Vanguard: Open Secrets"
the upcoming TOS era book set on board Starbase 47 by Dayton Ward (based on a story by Ward and Kevin Dilmore), . 


Our next book to review: "Vanguard: Open Secrets" comes out in late April (available for pre-order)

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dane

neat, little more interested in vanguard

Okay, having not yet read the books involving Janeway’s death, I do have to say “bring her back.” eah, yeah, it’s not canon.. nether her death or proposed rebirth… but there are somethings I think should be left alone…

Having read this review reminds me I need to get my butt in gear and ty to do some catch up on the novels (I am currently reading ST: E “Kobayashi Maru.

NX01

#2 post of the day, yeah

8of12

I have been WAITING for more Voyager novels. I adored the last four.
More Voyager novels!! (Please :)

Holger

The covers of the Vanguard novels are absolutely great! I love them. The novels… so, so.

Check the Circuit

I’ve been out of Trek novel circulation for awhile. Which book featured Janeway’s death?

Nick Cook

I’ve been increasingly disinterested in the post-Nemesis, not because they’re by any means bad (they’re not) but because they’re just becoming less and less to my taste. Janeways fate in the movels is just one of the many things I just didn’t care for. That said, I may just give Full Circle a shot.

Vanguard is a must though.

Jorg Sacul

I haven’t read the other novels, but to me, killing Janeway would be like killing the series. Just as the starship Enterprise would have been just another Constitution-class ship without Kirk, Voyager loses it’s relevance without Kathryn Janeway in the center seat.

Frak it… now I’m sorely tempted to read the other novels. Quit writing intriguing reviews!!!

Mischaar

#6 “Before Dishonor – Peter David

I read the Books set after Nemesis and until now i like them. Especially the Aventine is a Ship from which Crew i want to hear more.

I think i give Full Circle a try. Maybe i like it. I’m curious about the Fate of B’Elanna and her Daughter Miral. I read something about their Fate that disturbs me a lot.

Jordan

I actually think killing Janeway was the right thing to do. She was the hero who got Voyager home, and she finished her job. It was heroic. Having her die after completing that mission I think is ok.

Some people will be remembered more if they die. They have a huge memorial and a statue erected in her honor. I think thats a good way to go.

PS. Fantastic cover.

Jordan

Also, I find it strange that most of the Voyager crew would still want to go exploring after getting home. I mean, after 7 years how much of a beating would that ship have taken? I think most of the crew would want to get off that ship, see their families, and perhaps get with a different crew and a different life (like Tu’vok).

Great stuff, these novels. I just wish I had enough time to read them.

Love the cover art, as well.

ss

I wish the Borg would kill everyone on Voyager.

Dr. Image

Great cover. Hated the show. Actors are a great bunch.

Crusade2267

Never really got too much into the novels, but it seems there’s a lot of exciting stuff going on there!

steve2

Janeway, dead? Rats.

Love that illo of Voyager. She is a beauty of a ship.

catchupwiththesun

But what is Voyager without Janeway? I’m not going to read a Voyager novel if she’s dead. But that’s just me. Nice cover.

Valar1

what #14 said goes double for me.

Bart

I just watched the entire Voyager series recently, via NETFLIX and absolutely loved it. Much greater appreciation watching it all at once, over a series of about six months. I loved the original four post-series books as well. I didn’t know that Janeway was killed in one of TNG books. Is she really dead? If I didn’t read that book, I wonder if I’ll be able to understand FULL CIRCLE entirely.

Sorry gang but…Yay! Ding dong the witch is dead! Which old witch? The Wicked Witch! Ding dong…ahem. Yes, well.

Let’s see, Janeway dead, Tuvok on Titan, Torres missing…it may actually be worth it to read this book. As much as I love Star Trek (TOS, TMP, TNG, DS9 and even parts of ENT) is how much I can not stand Voyager. I don’t even like the ship design.

I do really like the Doctor but one character is not enough to make me by a book.

Now Vanguard…bring in on! That series is the best damn thing since sliced tuber roots.

AD

19: You will be able to fully enjoy FULL CIRCLE. I quit reading the book she died in about 100 pages in… it was awful (at least from my perspective – others loved it) and the ‘awfulness’ of it had nothing to do with Janeway’s death.

What backstory you need about her death is provided in the pages of FULL CIRCLE.

Rob+

Used to be so interested in startrek novels. But due to time and circumstances my enthusiasm just diminished.Looking forward to getting my hand on this new series though.

Keith

I love Voyager!

I’m pretty much off of the TNG relaunch for good. After the first novel (“Death in Winter”, IIRC) every novel has been about the Borg. I’m just plain sick of it. And when it finally seemed like it was winding itself down, the epilogue in the last one I read included, you guessed it, the Borg. (Though I hate to admit that the last message from the Borg was a good twist.) But, really, I’m over it.

I’m actually reading a lot of non-Trek s/f on my Kindle these days — but also a lot of the older, pre-multi-book/non-multi-series novels. Some of the ones I read back in my HS days (Entropy Effect, Wounded Sky, etc.) and enjoying them. The only current series that piques my curiosity is the VANGUARD one.

SirMartman

Voyager was pretty cool, its going to be interesting to see what Trek tv show will come after ST:TFB

:o)

Tuvok

@SirMartman: Star Trek XI is still being called just Star Trek. Nothing more. The only problem I see with with a new show is that it will be something like a re-inventing of TOS, because if people like the new movie, that’s what there going to want to see.

Kirsten Beyer

Robert,

Thank you so much for the review. You’re right…it is a brick. I’m glad it flew for you, though.

Dr. Image

#17 “But what is Voyager without Janeway? ”
A much less shrill and annoying place.

Paul

I’m excited for this i enjoyed Voyager, tho i’m a weird one i have enjoyed Trek in every incarnation i have viewed it in. Yay! new Vanguard, got hooked on it by accident, my buddy grabbed the wrong book at the bookstore been reading it ever since. Just my opinion would make a great series or mini-series (Ahem Mr. Orci wink wink…)

and p.s. Janeway dying almost but not quite as dumb as Kirk dying because of crappy bridge construction

LoyalStarTrekFan

I’m a little behind on the books (I’m in the middle of the Destiny trilogy) but I always look forward to new Star Trek in all forms. This book looks good and I’ll get around to reading it ASAP.

JeFF

The Destiny Trilogy was amazing. Highly recommend it.

I agree though… without Janeway, Voyager is nothing (the show or likely a novel). She carried that show and any one of the other character could have been killed off with little affect.

Jordan

I think Voyager lost its mark when it made it back to Earth. It’s mission was returning to Earth, and with or without Janeway, I don’t think it can stand out when its just another ship of the fleet. Better to move the crew into different areas of the franchise.

Does anyone really care about Voyager after it made it home? Thats was the climax of the season, and the climax of Voyager as a ship.

I’m reminded of the short-lived TV series, “AfterMASH”

Thanks for the great review, I cant wait for the review of Dayton Ward’s next book in the Vanguard series, a great series.

Enterprise

Why do books always kill of the main characters? So lame

EFFeX

I really liked Voyager, never missed an episode and still watch them today. I know a movie wasn’t really needed specifically for the Voyager show, but I think certain characters could have been incorporated into TNG-era movies. Certain characters really developed quite well throughout the story.

Shunnabunich

32. I agree; the whole point of Star Trek: Voyager was that the titular ship was stranded, “voyaging” its way home. That, and all it entailed (like the ability to introduce whole new species and organizations because they weren’t tied to Alpha Quadrant canon), was its defining feature. What else are they going to do once they’re home? Explore? We have/had the Enterprise to give us our fill of exploration. Fight? We had the Dominion War for that. Break up and have stories following the aftermath? What’s the point, besides depressing people?

I can assure you that there is plenty of adventure to be had on the part of the Voyager crew in the future of the relaunch, and FULL CIRCLE sets it up wonderfully!

FULL CIRCLE ends with an intriguing ‘revelation’ of sorts and a definately non-depressing push ahead in the story…

As for #35 – what books have actually killed off main characters?
Kirk = Generations (Movie)
Spock = TWOK (Movie)
Yar = Skin of Evil (TV Episode)
Sisko’s disappearance = What You Leave Behind (TV Episode)
Kes’ departure = Some Voyager episode
Neelix’s departure = Endgame (as I recall) the TV episode
Data = Nemesis
Ilia = TMP (Movie)

Janeway, unless I am forgetting someone, is the only lead to be killed off in the books and not on film.

Also, just as an FYI, there is still plenty of Janeway in FULL CIRCLE.

Rob+

Shunnabunich

38: Well, I’ll at least take your word for it as someone who has actually read the book. :) I never got into the Star Trek novels, aside from a couple of TNG ones I read when I was younger, but perhaps one day I’ll make time to pick this up.

thebiggfrogg

Um, people die. I may be in the minority on this one, but I liked Kirk’s death in Generations. It was time to let the character go. Shatner throwing punches while carrying serious paunches was getting increasingly ridiculous. Though anti-climatic he still died in a heroic act and I for one am glad he didn’t go in some bombastic cliche with 300 starships flaming out all around him.

Not a big Voyager fan, so I can’t comment on Janeway’s demise, but nothing in Trek would be more cliche than another ad infinitum “resurrection.” Sometimes people just die and don’t come back. How about doing some tales on how the characters grapple with the loss (This is a fact I always appreciated about B5 and BSG–there were some genuine losses and deux ex machina was “mostly” kept to a minimum).

Many years ago, David Gerrold wrote a great column for Starlog about this “cheat” and how it robs shows of drama. This was back in the “Spock is dead” controversy days, I seem to remember.

SerenityActual

As much as I didn’t like Voyager as a television series, I enjoyed the books after the series ended, and it left a little hole when they went on hiatus. Glad to see that Voyager is back.

Vanguard, I cant wait to revisit! I wish these novels come out more often.

catchupwiththesun

#28
Agree to disagree!

Diggin' up Bones

Those crappy Star Wars novels lost any shred of credibility when they killed off Chewbacca. Will the same be true for Star Trek in print? Why kill off a main character? Do these characters belong to these novelists? No, they belong to the writers that created them. What if everybody did that? Let me try. “Harry Potter stepped off of the ugly British curb into the path of a magic bus. As his glasses were still fogged up from Hermione’s hot breath, he never saw it coming. His lifeless corpse leaked blood and fairy dust through Trafalger Square as it was dragged by the axle, which was hung on his wand.” There, you see, that’s just not right.

Enterprise

Nah, the Star wars novels lost all credibility when Han and Leia had like six kids, all with Jedi powers. ZZZZZ

Greenstar

Voyager new novel, great.
Voyager was my favorite star trek show.

Tox Uthat

I read as many Trek novels as possible; Destiny, Titan, the latest TNGs, mirror, the Excalibur, the 40th anniv. series, Shatner’s stuff, just loved everything from the end of DS9 thru Unity, just got done with Enterprise: Kobayashi Maru, etc.. I truly look at them as a continuation of all series’ episodes and .

I find the novels of the last few years more in depth than the novels of the last century. Of course, some are better than others but overall solid adventures.

I’m no literary genius. And Trek novels are about the only fiction I read due to time and interest. But I enjoy how the entire universe has matured and I love all the conflct they have created in the Federation these days. It actually feels more real to me, Certainly not Gene’s vision, which works for me.

Lexomatic

Many of the respondents seem unaware of the chronology of the novels: _Full Circle_ is the first VGR-branded novel in four years (as opposed to novels with crossover character appearances), but it’s not the first adventure of the VGR crew after their return. They actually had a few months of activity near Earth, including Janeway’s promotion to admiral, before the next several waves of Borg attacks. They returned in December 2377, Christie Golden’s 2003 duology _Homecoming_ and _The Farther Shore_ are set in 2378, Janeway was was killed in 2380, and the “Destiny” trilogy is set in 2381. See (memory-beta.wikia.com) for details.

SerenityActual

#43 The death of Chewbacca in the novel Vector Prime was cleared by Lucas and Lucasfilm Ltd. So if you want to blame his death on someone, blame Lucas.

Trekkie

I’m looking forward to the new Voyager novel, but I believe that Janeway should be brought back. While Kirk had his run that ended in “Generations”, I believe that Janeway still had much more potential to show in the Star Trek universe. Star Trek Voyager was a great series and killing off Janeway just brings the series down with it.

VKay

Loved Full Circle. Well worth the wait. It covers alot of info that true voyager fans will enjoy. BUT they need to bring Janeway back!!! During the entire series and in several books, Janeway and Chakotay flirted with a romantic relationship. The end of series had Chakotay with Seven – totally lame and unbelievable. They finally allow the two characters to connect and then kill off Janeway – Hated it!! Luckily they did leave room for her return in Full Circle I just hope the writers don’t blow it again and have Chakotay hook up with seven.