Book Review: Star Trek: The Fall: A Ceremony of Losses

Star Trek: The Fall: A Ceremony of Losses

David Mack

THE NEEDS OF THE MANY

Despite heroic efforts by Thirishar ch’Thane, the Andorian species is headed for extinction. Its slow march toward oblivion has reached a tipping point, one from which there will be no hope of return.

THE NEEDS OF THE FEW

With countless lives at stake, the leaders of Andor, the Federation, and the Typhon Pact all scheme to twist the crisis to their political gain—at any price.

THE NEEDS OF THE ONE

Unwilling to be a mere bystander to tragedy, Doctor Julian Bashir risks everything to find a cure for the Andorians. But his courage will come at a terrible cost: his career, his freedom . . . and maybe his life.

This is the third entry in the so-far-phenomenal series, The Fall.  A Ceremony of Losses is a gripping and tense story that continues and adds to the cinematic events of The Fall, while also continuing the Typhon Pact story line, tying up some loose ends from the Vanguard series, and resolving the Andorian reproduction crisis that has been written about for years now.

I had found the previous three books by Mack, the Cold Equations trilogy, to be quite a bit below the quality I expect from David Mack, but A Ceremony of Losses has completely restored my faith in him and his writing.  The storytelling was tight and the tension ramped up, as it often is in Mack’s books.  Like with the two previous titles in The Fall, Revelations and Dust and The Crimson Shadow, A Ceremony of Losses is filled with political tension and upheaval on a grand scale… and Mack does an incredible job of capturing social and political upheaval in a believable and comprehensive manner.

Mack also fleshes out the Ishan character, introduced earlier, and making him more three-dimensional.  He is a thoroughly detestable political figure.  (The Canadian in me can’t help but wonder if Mack got some inspiration by looking at the news north of the border… but he probably wrote this long before the scandals regarding Ford and Harper erupted.)  What I LOVED about the book was that it was Star Trek in its truest form, something we haven’t seen in a very long time — A Ceremony of Losses melds gripping action with very deep and complex ethical and moral questions.  I’ve always felt the Deep Space Nine TV series did this melding the best and by Mack doing it so effectively in this DS9-heavy story, I feel like Mack really understands the series and has helped bring it back to life for me.  (David R George III is still my favourite for writing DS9 stories, but Mack is now high on my list too.)

Mack also went gentle in this book.  He has a tendency to kill of semi-major characters in his books and there were no significant deaths here.  As the back cover basically lays out, though, (and this is a bit of a spoiler, so be warned!), Julian Bashir gets arrested and put in a solitary confinement cell in the middle of nowhere.  HOWEVER, I’m reading the fourth book in The Fall right now and in flipping ahead, I’ve noticed Bashir’s name several times, so I doubt we’ve seen the last of him.  And, really, killing off semi-major characters is one thing, but getting rid of a major-major character is another thing entirely.  Looking ahead in the Trek book schedule, I see Mack is writing a Section 31 book next year sometime (or maybe in 2015?) — I highly suspect that’s where Bashir’s storyline is going, as he was always the most closely tied to it.  I’m intrigued for where this is going.

More than just revitalizing the Typhon Pact line for me and being exciting fiction, I feel like The Fall is revitalizing Star Trek for me.  I love and will always love Star Trek, but I’ve felt there’s been a real downslide in the last couple years with a lot of rather uninteresting things or a hodgepodge of events (which is how much of the Typhon Pact stuff has felt like to me so far).  The Fall has taken all of this, mixed it all together, added some rocket fuel, and ignited this thing to shoot it to higher heights than I ever recall seeing.  When I rate books on Goodreads, it’s VERY RARE for me to rate something 5-stars.  So far, each book in The Fall has solidly earned a 5-star rating.  I’m in the fourth book and so far it’s phenomenal.  I’m a little hesitant about the fifth book, though, as I generally don’t enjoy that author too much, but I’ll be entering into it riding on a high from the first four books, so it’ll likely go well, too.

For the first time in a long time, I am truly excited about what I’m reading!

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One response to “Book Review: Star Trek: The Fall: A Ceremony of Losses

  1. Pingback: What I Read in 2013 | Cameron D James

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