Saturday, March 31, 2012

Children of the Storm

Star Trek Voyager: Children of the Storm
© 2011 Kirsten Beyer
418 pages

In Unworthy, Kirsten Beyer launched the USS Voyager into the Delta Quadrant anew, this time at the head of a fleet of  ships. Their mission: to make sure that the Borg are truly gone, and to smooth over any rough patches Voyager left during its original trip through the quadrant. Thus far,  the mission hasn't gone as planned: betrayed by its leading admiral,  the fleet stumbled into its initial first contact scenario with disastrous results. Afsarah Eden,  formerly commanding Voyager, has now taken command of the fleet, giving a renewed Chakotay his old seat back. The Voyager crew is restored, their spirits on the mend -- but their greatest challenge is ahead of them.

Having blundered into contact with a race known as the Children of the Storm, who have proven a nemesis even to the Borg, Eden, Voyager, and the rest of the fleet must establish peaceful contact with these strange and noncoporeal creatures.  Three ships -- Quirinal, Planck,  and Demeter -- are soon separated from the rest of the fleet, entrapped by the Children. While their crews struggle to free themselves, Eden is left with a daunting choice: how to find, and if need be rescue, those three ships without risking the rest of her command to needless destruction.

With Children of the Storm, Beyer delivers yet another smashing success to the Voyager Relaunch, a series far superior in print than on television. Characterization remains a strong suite;  Chakotay and Seven are given far more depth than on the show, and Paris and Kim are being seasoned nicely. No longer plucky twenty-somethings barely out of the Academy, the two are accepting greater responsibilities within Starfleet and their own lives. Beyer, having only recently given birth before writing this novel, is clearly enjoying playing with the experience when addressing  Paris, Torres, and their daughter Miral.  Eden, though a comparative stranger,  carries much of the novel and is proving to be an intriguing personality.   However, another character -- Liam O'Donnell, the captain of Demeter -- completely surprised me. Introduced as a seemingly absent-minded intellectual who only commanded a ship because of its botanical focus,  O'Donnell proves to be a pivotal character in the crisis.

The Children are a baffling mystery: their "ships" are unlike anything the Federation has encountered, and though they can communicate with the Starfleet ships, the familiarity of words is lost in the alienness of their thoughts. Tension builds throughout the novel, and casualties are taken -- but the resolution is fantastic, reminding me a bit of the Destiny finale.  Beyer does not disappoint in the least.

Beyer's Voyager relaunch continues to be excellent, and I know I'm not alone in anticipating its continuation in The Eternal Tide, this summer.

Voyager Relaunch at TvTropes
Children of the Storm at Memory Alpha
Kirsten Beyer at Memory Alpha

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