Sunday, 4 August 2013

Star Trek: Constitution (My Brother's Keeper Book 2) - Michael Jan Friedman



Title: Constitution (My Brother's Keeper Book 2)
Author: Michael Jan Friedman
Genre: Sci-Fi
Published: 1998
Formats: Paperback/Ebook

Available at:
Amazon
Amazon UK

Review:
“Constitution” by Michael Jan Friedman is the second novel in the “My Brother’s Keeper” trilogy. The novel continues the exploration of Kirk & Gary Mitchell’s history as started in the first novel “Republic” which I previously reviewed here. As with the previous novel, it utilises a framing story set after the events of the TV episode entitled "Where No Man Has Gone Before" in which Gary Mitchell dies.

The framing story itself mainly covers Kirk’s continued struggle to come to terms with what has happened to his friend, which is not helped by a rather gruelling debriefing. Upon his return to the Enterprise however, he ends up thinking about his past and a previous adventure with Mitchell. This flashback element of the novel enables the reader to initially witness Kirk as he joins the crew of the USS Constitution as its 2nd Officer whilst trying to come to terms with a disaster on the USS Farragut which left over 200 crewmembers dead. The full facts about the Farragut tragedy had been hidden however so Mitchell, an officer on the Constitution can’t understand why his friend seems to be a shadow of his former self. However, when the Captain and 1st Officer are trapped on a planet being attacked by mysterious space borne objects, Kirk must come to terms with his guilt and lead the crew of the Constitution against this new menace.

To be honest, my first observation as I read the novel was that the framing story was much weaker than the one in “Republic”. This was mainly because a large part of it was taken up repeating story of Mitchell’s demise again and then when it came to the flashback portion, there was no real reason given for Kirk’s reminiscence. Luckily the main core of the story itself which followed Kirk and Mitchell’s past was much better. It was exciting, gripping and tried to delve into the emotions of a man struggling with guilt and fear. It probably didn’t highlight as much about Kirk and Mitchell’s relationship as the previous novel did and the plot wasn’t that original but it was still enjoyable to follow.

The writing itself was competent enough and it flowed well on the whole but I have to admit there was a few grammatical issues and one confusing section of the novel when the USS Farragut was incorrectly referred to as the USS Republic which of course, didn’t make sense. It probably wasn’t a huge issue once I realised it was just an error but it did cause the story to stutter as I had to adjust. To be honest, I really would have expected something like this to have been picked up in the editing process.

One improvement I noted over the previous novel is that Friedman has toned down Mitchell’s psychic like abilities to being almost non-existent. In “Republic” he had been using his “intuition” to solve every problem that he faced, but in “Constitution” issues were dealt with via more realistic abilities and intellect. Yes Mitchell was still the same individual seen in the previous novel but he felt more like a real life person this time rather that some sort of fantastical psychic.

Overall, this was another interesting look into Kirk and Mitchell’s history although this wasn’t as deep as what was seen in ”Republic”. If you have already ready the first book in this trilogy then I would advise you to pick it up as it does try and continue Kirk and Mitchell’s relationship but also includes a more exciting and enjoyable core story.