Wednesday, 6 February 2013
Star Trek Starfleet Academy: Cadet Kirk - Diane Carey
Title: Cadet Kirk
Author: Diane Carey
"Cadet Kirk" by Diane Cary is the 3rd and final book in the 1996 Star Trek Starfleet Academy series of novels that charted the earlier escapades of Kirk, Spock and McCoy in the prime Trek Universe. The plot is based around a shuttle flight in which Kirk had been expecting to fly the famous scientist, Richard Daystrom to another planet. However, due to a change in plans he is left transporting two rather unknown young officers named Spock & McCoy. During their journey, they are caught in a tractor beam and pulled down into a small outpost by pirates who had been hoping to capture Daystrom. So Kirk, Spock and McCoy must work together so that they can escape the pirates and ensure that Daystrom doesn’t fall into the same trap.
As seems to be the norm with this series of young adult Trek lit, the plot is very basic with little in the way complications or surprises. The beginning of the book was also rather slow which did make we wonder how easily a young reader would stick with it. However, once you get past the initial section of the book the pace picks up and there are some fun and entertaining action scenes. By the end of the book I found that I had rather enjoyed the overall experience even if it all was a little bit predictable. My enjoyment was probably helped by the story being told from McCoy’s point of view as I do like getting to witness his rather bleak and sarcastic views.
The real positive in the novel though was in getting to watch Kirk, Spock and McCoy gradually grow to respect each other. Initially, they were very formal and unsure of each other, but by the end they were working together as a team that showed the first hints of what they would become in the future.
One aspect that had me a little unsure about the novel was the way in which McCoy and Kirk didn’t appear to know each other initially as this was at odds with what occurred in the previous book, “Aftershock”. It is explained later on in the story that they just didn’t recognise each other but based on what had previously happened, I was surprised that McCoy at least didn’t remember Kirk much more easily. It felt to me that Carey wanted her book to be based around Kirk not knowing either Spock or McCoy and she just through in the failure to remember each other as a way to ensure the books in the series would still technically be linked to each other.
Overall, I was a little bit split in regards to this book as whilst I enjoyed the fact that this book was more action orientated compared to the other books in the series, I also felt that the start was rather slow and I didn’t like the cheap feeling plot point regarding McCoy and Kirk not remembering each other. In the end this is really just an average novel, but if you are interested in trying to read a little bit more about how these three starfleet officers met then you will probably get some enjoyment out of it.