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Article 94

The Returned, Part I (Star Trek: New Frontier)

The Returned, Part I (Star Trek: New Frontier) - Peter David When you read a certain kind of book, there are expectations. The author has to work hard to meet those expectations, and it is great when the author challenges those expectations.

One of the expectations I have with Star Trek books, is that the book include ‘main’ characters from the television series. While reading this story, I kept having Déjà vu. I was already familiar with the characters, and I already knew some of the plot as it unfolded. I can only assume I had read the books preceding this one.

The story contains several minor characters from the TV series – some infamous, and some were just ‘that one character from that episode.’ More than one plot point was predictable, but as a die hard Star Trek fan, I expect the novels to remind me of the series which is formulaic. The episodes and books that challenge that formula are the ones that fans remember long after they were aired or printed.

There are no glaring plot holes or continuity issues. The writing is well done, and I had no problem following the story. All the way to the end. Which is where I have to protest. I already knew this was to be an electronic trilogy, but I find the unresolved cliffhanger to be a poor substitution for good storytelling. You can wrap up most of the story and pull the rug out from under the reader, and I’ll give you props, but to just end the story and figure I’ll just buy the next one is offensive.

Cliffhangers are a cheap plot device, and I would expect writers of such an intellectual franchise such as Star Trek to realize this. The world of Star Trek is full of rich and powerful writing that escort the reader along in wonder and expectation. I just wish the ending of this story were better written. It seems to me like this is a longer work that was just cut into three pieces in order to reach into my pocket again.

I realize I received my copy for free via NetGalley, but I’m still mad at the unsatisfying ending. I’ll still read the other two parts if I see them on NetGalley, but I wouldn’t purchase these for myself. Especially with the haunting feeling that I've somehow already read this story.