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TNG: Before Dishonor, by Peter David Book Review | SFReader.com
TNG: Before Dishonor, by Peter David Genre: Star Trek Publisher: Pocket Books Published: 2007 Review Posted: 1/2/2008 Reviewer Rating:
Reader Rating: 5 out of 10
TNG: Before Dishonor, by Peter David
Book Review by David Roy
Have you read this book?
I'm not sure what's going on with the "Star Trek: The Next Generation" relaunch, but it's been a very bumpy ride. It started out with two mediocre books, and then took a turn toward greatness with "Q&A." However, Peter David's Before Dishonor returns the series to its middling level, with an enjoyable book that just has too many "I want to slap him upside the head" moments for my liking. It's nowhere near as bad as the first two books, but it's also not up there with David's usual novels.
Admiral Janeway's still mulling her options regarding Captain Picard's ignoring her orders not to engage the Borg in "Resistance" as she's traveling to visit the Borg ship that Picard disabled. There, she's in for a rude awakening. Seven of Nine, teaching at Starfleet Academy, has a bad feeling about what's going on with Janeway, and endeavors to get off Earth and to the cube in time to help. She ends up coming to the Enterprise and trying to enlist their help. But before they can do much of anything, everything hits the fan. The Borg are back, and more fearsome than ever.
Ok, maybe not "fearsome," though that's obviously what David's going for. I'd say "silly," personally. No longer are the Borg just assimilating people, they're absorbing them instead. The first time David shows us the Borg cube running into a ship and sucking it into the cube's infrastructure, I wasn't terrified. I was amused. And don't get me started the first time the cube hits a planet (or dwarf planet, or whatever you want to call it in this case). I just couldn't take any of this seriously. Another thing I'm having trouble taking seriously is the number of epic confrontations that are happening in the novel timeline in a short period of time. Starfleet lost millions of personnel in the Dominion War, then there's the Genesis Wave that wiped out numerous planets in the Federation. Now this? I'm surprised there's any fleet left.
So instead of a watered-down Borg we have the uber-Borg. What else is wrong with Before Dishonor? David manages to eviscerate any good feelings that readers may have regarding the new regular cast members (Counselor T'Lana, Miranda Kodohata and Security Chief Leybenzon). Once again, Picard is considering not following orders regarding the Borg, and once again T'Lana is rebelling against that. This time, though, she has allies in the other two characters, as well as apparently half the ship. Thus begins a mutiny (though maybe it's technically not a mutiny, since Starfleet has ordered them to take over the ship and relieve Picard of command). The reasons given for this go against any kind of logic whatsoever, which makes T'Lana's objections even more strange.
Starfleet's orders are to return to Earth and join the rest of the fleet in what is obviously a suicidal last stand against the Borg. Instead, Picard has an idea (based on David's previous novel, "Vendetta," effectively making this a sequel to that book) that could very well stop the Borg. But no, these idiots insist on blindly following suicidal orders when a possible alternative unknown to Starfleet presents itself. Not to mention the fact that Picard has a reputation for pulling rabbits out of hats. It doesn't make any sense. Any sympathy the reader may have with the mutineers flies out the door when Leybenzon actually considers *torturing* Picard and the rest of the command crew to get the access codes to the ship's navigation after they are locked out. Personally, I don't see how any of these characters can continue in this series after this, though it's very possible they will.
On the other hand, David's prose is generally as good as ever, with a good mix of humor and seriousness that sometimes walks up to the bad taste line but doesn't necessarily cross over it (some of the gallows humor between the admirals on a besieged Earth comes close, but that's about it). There is a nice guest appearance for those fans of David's main Trek series, as well as some good character work on Seven of Nine and Ambassador Spock. David does a good job with the regulars as well, and he had a great opportunity to contrast Picard's willingness to listen to the "Old Guard" of Enterprise regulars over the opinions of the new people, if he hadn't managed to assassinate those characters in the process.
Despite the criticisms, Before Dishonor is a very readable book, with prose that will take you in and make you want to finish the book as fast as possible. David's style is always enjoyable to read, even when you disagree with what he's doing. The effortless ease with which he handles the regulars also makes them fun. He's also managed to rein in his over the top sense of humor, and there are very few injokes, or at least none that are so obvious that they take you out of the book.
It's just such a shame that TNG is being featured in these mediocre books. "Q&A" has been the only standout among a lot of dross, and Before Dishonor just manages to avoid sinking back completely to the earlier level of quality. Hopefully the next book will be more satisfying.
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Peter David should go read Gina Dartt to learn what real fan fiction is like. There are certain characters you DON'T ever kill and Janeway is one of them. He must be threatened because she's more butch than he is.
Posted by ALL THE WAY JANEWAY on 5/1/2009
This book was inaccurate to the Voyager universe. Peter David had no right doing what he did.. he doesn't own the Characters and had no right killing Janeway.. Peter David if you read this you have pissed off a lot of Voyager fans and a lot of Janeway fans!!! FIX IT!!! BRING HER BACK! BRING HER BACK!