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