TrekMovie looks at the latest literary adventure of the Starship Voyager as we review Kirsten Beyer’s new novel, “Acts of Contrition”.
REVIEW: STAR TREK VOYAGER: ACTS OF CONTRITION
Author: Kirsten Beyer
Pocket Books Paperback and E-Book
Those who have followed my novel reviews with any regularity know that, while I am not a fan of what Star Trek: Voyager was, I am a huge fan of the work done by Kristen Beyer in bringing the Voyager back into the mix of the Trek family. Her latest novel, “Acts of Contrition” is a perfect example of why.
Beyer has taken her writing to a new level with “Acts of Contrition”, a richly woven tapestry of complex stories, each of which leaves the reader thirsting for more. Within the first thirty pages, I counted eight different plot-points to follow; but, far from being a burden, they were all deeply interesting and felt rightly placed together within the book.
“Acts of Contrition” makes use of time in both the Delta Quadrant as well as back home, with Tom Paris facing a custody battle with his mother, and an interconnected yet diverse set of storylines surrounding Seven, Dr. Sharak, Icheb, and Samantha Wildman taking place in the Alpha Quadrant, while Janeway, Chakotay, Kim, and the Doctor all spend their time discovering the Confederacy of the Worlds of the First Quadrant.
As Janeway and company quickly discover that all is not right in their potential ally, Tom struggles with his past actions and their reflection on his fitness for parenthood; all while a medical emergency continues to develop in within the Federation beyond any reasonable ability to explain.
Reading through this voyage, an overwhelming recognition for me was that Beyer is consistently able to place you not simply in the presence of the characters, but actually within their minds for entire scenes. You feel Seven’s questioning, concern, and growing skepticism while she’s on Earth. You join Harry Kim for his moment of embarrassment on a shuttle-ride home from the First World. Presider Cin, though playing a limited role in terms of page count, shines as a magnificently complicated individual from beginning to end. It’s not that she’s writing a first person narrative… no, no… it’s that she is painting such a vivid word-picture with her writing that it’s impossible not to enter into the mindset, motivations, and though processes of her subjects – even when she’s not writing them from that perspective at all.
“Acts of Contrition” requires of the reader keen concentration. There is not a wasted word to be found within its covers. Coming in at nearly 400 smallish type pages, one might be tempted to think it too long, but it is not. Beyer has perfectly honed her ability to wordsmith what is truly needed for the story, and, reflecting her legacy with the Voyager line, she has handed to fans her greatest work yet.
This is a complex, fun, and thought-provoking read. It touches on contemporary society in the sight of a more perfect future. It delves into family relationships. It touches cross-cultural relationships not simply on a diplomatic level, but on a very personal level, and – of course – it includes plenty of action for those fans who just have to have a chase scene or a space battle.
Building on her legacy with Voyager, Kirsten Beyer turns out an outstanding work, one which, like each of her preceding Voyager novels, deserves a place on the bookshelves of even the Voyager haters out there.
Yes… it’s just that good.