Friday, 11 November 2011
Star Trek Enterprise: What Price Honor? - Dave Stern
Title: What Price Honor?
Author: Dave Stern
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What Price Honor? by Dave Stern is the latest book in my Star Trek Reading Challenge and whilst it was not a novelization of an episode, it did feel like it could easily have been pulled from a mid-season episode from any of the Star Trek series.
The story is set around Armoury Officer Malcolm Reed who has recently killed Ensign Alana Hart when he tried to stop her attempts to sabotage the Enterprise. Malcolm is now riddled with guilt over what has happened and is trying to uncover why the Ensign acted in the manner she did. It soon transpires that an ongoing conflict between two civilisations may actually be linked to Ensign Hart's actions which results in the Enterprise and its crew getting dragged deeper and deeper into the conflict.
Fundamentally this novel is a rather conventional 'whodunit' Star Trek storyline and I managed to correctly guess within the first few chapters what had actually happened. It got so obvious at times that I wanted to slap the characters around because they were being that blind to the clues. Perhaps I have just seen too many Star Trek episodes before but it would have been nicer if the mystery had been a bit deeper and less obvious. In addition it really wasn't the easiest of stories to follow at times as a lot of the plot is brought out via various slightly muddled flashbacks. The reader therefore really needs to concentrate to ensure they understand when and what they are reading about.
What I did like is that the novel was focused on Malcolm Reed who was criminally underutilised in the TV series. I was happy to see some expansion of his character, in particular his relationship with Ensign Hart really helped to humanise him more and show that there was more to him that the strict and proper officer he could come across like.
A final comment I want to make is that I got a little bit confused at the beginning of the story as the dates referenced seemed to have put it prior to the actual launch of the Enterprise whilst the narrative states that it was a year into the exploration mission. This was a little bit annoying to see as it is such a basic error, especially considering I managed to find the fictional launch date for the Enterprise myself without any real difficulty. Star Trek fans can be quite particular about various "facts" and I think this type of thing may irritate quite a few of them.
In Summary this wasn't the best Star Trek novel in the world but it also wasn't the worst. I suspect if you are a fan of Malcolm Reed you may enjoy this book but anyone else may just get a little bit frustrated by the rather basic mystery plot.