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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Trek Novels - Star Trek: Sarek

'Sup, guys! Well, it’s another day and another Trek Novel. Yes, it’s back once again. As I said before, I’ll try to do these every-so-often when I read one from my collection or find one that’s worth talking about. Today’s book is a mix of both. About a month ago, I was in Murfreesboro looking around at Outer Limits. I saw this book and read the little blurb in the cover, so I bought it. It took a while to read it but when I got about a quarter into the book, I couldn’t stop reading it. I read it throughout last weekend.

The book is Star Trek: Sarek by A.C. Crispin. I did a little research on the author and it turns out she has done a lot of sci-fi books. She’s done stuff for Star Trek, Star Wars, and even V. I also found out that she just recently passed away, and that kind of made me want me finish the book. The book takes place about a month after the events of Star Trek VI: the Undiscovered Country. At the end of that movie, The Federation and the Klingon Empire were trying to make peace with one another. Instead of doing a long synopsis that’ll take a while, I’ll just browse over the main plot and mention some things.

Star Trek: Sarek
Author: A.C. Crispin

QUICK BLURB
When tensions between the Federation and the Klingon Empire are brewing, Ambassador Sarek discovers a shocking conspiracy that involves a very secretive race. He and the Enterprise must deal with this as his wife, Amanda, has passed away. Also, Cadet Peter Kirk, James T. Kirk’s nephew, gets pulled into the Federation/Klingon situation as well.


SYNOPSIS
While on Earth, Sarek of Vulcan discovers that a xenophobic group called the Keep Humans Earth League (KEHL) may have been mentally influenced by an outside force. He finds out that the ones pulling the strings are the Freelans, a secretive group of aliens whom he has been in negotiations with for decades. While all of this is going on, Amanda gets deathly ill and is going to die soon. This gets Spock and the Enterprise involved and Sarek goes back to Vulcan.  Sarek is then called to negotiate a hostage situation involving the planet Kadura and some Klingon renegades as Amanda is on her last legs. He leaves Vulcan and this puts a big rift between Sarek and Spock. The rift gets worse when Amanda passes away.

His journey to Kadura reveals some startling news. It turns out that the Klingons have also been mentally influenced by the Freelans. He heads back to Vulcan and tells the Enterprise about all of this. They head to the Neutral Zone when Sarek reveals that the Freelans may actually be Romulans and that they have been using refugee Vulcans to spread their influence. Their plan is to get both factions to declare war on one another. During this time, Sarek reads Amanda’s diaries and has memories of his time with her.

During all of this, Peter Kirk, Captain Kirk's nephew, is on Earth getting ready for his final exams especially the Kobayashi Maru. He accidentally gets involved with the KEHL. It all turns out turns out to be a trap as he is knocked out and shipped to Qon’nos, the Klingon homeworld. Kamarag, ambassador to the Klingons, is the one behind it. He’s also the leader of the Klingon renegades and is under the Freelans’ influence. After the events of the sixth movie, he and his renegades have been disobeying the Klingon Chancellor and attacking Federation colonies. He plans to lead a big fleet toward Federation space.  He also wants to lure Captain Kirk into a trap and get his revenge. Luckily for Peter, Valdyr, Kamarag’s niece, has a soft spot for Peter. The two fall in love and escape from Kamarag’s complex.

Kirk finds out that his nephew has been kidnapped. The Enterprise is able to find out where Peter was taken, so Kirk, Spock, and McCoy take a shuttle craft and head to Qon’nos. They find the two and make their escape in a small Bird-of-Prey. They make it back to the Enterprise. They then find out that there is a Romulan ship in the Neutral Zone. Sarek knows that Taryn, the Freelan ambassador and a Romulan wing commander, is on the ship.  The ship is also manned by the refugee Vulcans. They find the ship and beam over Sarek and Spock in order to get more proof to take to the Federation.

On the ship, Sarek challenges Taryn to a traditional Vulcan duel involving blades with poison in order to stop an attack against the Enterprise. Even though Taryn is younger, Sarek is able to beat the man in the duel. Afterwards, the two ships form a truce as Kamarag’s fleet shows up. Luckily, some Klingons don’t want to rebel against the Empire, so they join Kirk’s side. Eventually, The Klingon Empire sends ships to take care of the renegades and the Enterprise gets out of there. In the end, war between the Federation and the Klingon Empire is averted. Peter passes the Kobayashi Maru and decides to be a diplomat instead of a commander. Sarek and Spock are able to somewhat repair their relationship and seeds for the Vulcan/Romulan reunification are planted.

OPINION
This was a really good read. As I said before, I couldn’t stop reading it when I really got into it. First off, I like Sarek. He’s definitely one of my favorite Vulcans from the franchise, so finding a book that features him in the primary role is awesome. While most of the book centers on the conspiracy, the rest of the book looks at Sarek as well as his long relationship to Amanda. We see them go through trying times with Spock and each other. Heck, we even get find out about that Vulcan priestess Sarek was betrothed to in Star Trek V… yeah, that movie even gets a mention here.

While Kirk and the crew don’t get big roles, their importance should be mentioned especially Spock’s. Sarek and Spock’s relationship has always been strained and we get to see a lot of that here. We even see how it became so bad in the first place. Even when they reconcile at the end, they are still at odds on certain views. It’s a pretty interesting father/son relationship.  Sarek’s rivalry with Taryn was well done. It definitely makes sense when the truth about the Freelans is revealed.

We also get other characters that get expanded upon. I really liked Valdyr, Kamarag’s niece. She had the normal Klingon tendencies but she also wanted to go to school and become a diplomat. She was constantly at odds with her uncle, who I’ll get to later. Peter Kirk aka “Jim Kirk 2.0” was basically a younger version of Captain Kirk. He had the fight moves, the lady moves, and the speech patterns down. While that could have been a bit much, Peter did provide some cool moments especially with he and Valdyr. I did sort of predict at the end that he would go into down another path that wasn’t his uncle’s though.

The writing is pretty good. I feel that if this was part of the TV shows or movies that the dialogue would fit the characters.  The action scenes were also pretty good. I almost wanted to throw on some “Star Trek Fight Music” during some of these scenes especially that Taryn/Sarek duel… a duel that’s one-part weird and one-part awesome. I even enjoyed the references we got. We got stuff referencing The Original Series, the movies, and even the animated series. We even get one thrown at the end that references something that happens on The Next Generation.

Was there anything I didn’t like? There are a couple of nitpicks. I did think Kamarag came off as a stereotypical, “EVIL!!” villain at times. His dialogue reminded me of a random comic book villain from the Silver Age or something. His aide, Karg, was also unlikable. Still, that may have been the point with his character.

I also thought the KEHL subplot died a little too quickly. After Peter is shipped off of Earth, we don’t hear anything about them until the end. Their stance was something I wish could have been resolved a little better than it did. Still, since we spent a lot of time off Earth, I didn’t miss them that much. I also thought the Kobayashi Maru scene at the end was a little too much. With all of the references being thrown around in the book, this one was the only one that kind of bored me. Still, I did like the changes made to the program and I also liked Peter’s ingenuity under the pressure.  

Do I recommend the book? I definitely do. It focuses on one of the best characters in the franchise. It also serves as a nice tie-in to the series in general. Well, I’m out of stuff to say about this book. God Bless, and “peace and long life.”

NEXT TIME: SOMETHING RANDOM (I DON'T KNOW, FOLKS)!! 

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