Michael A. Martin has been involved in each of the ‘Star Trek: Enterprise’ novels set in what is colloquially known as the Star Trek: Enterprise Relaunch. I’ve been relatively unimpressed with Martin, as well as his writing partner for most of the novels, Andy Mangels, who have both lacked the grasp on characters and races needed to write a good Star Trek story, as well as focusing a little too much on fan service.
However, with his final book in the relaunch, Michael A. Martin finally nailed it (mostly).
‘Star Trek Enterprise: The Romulan War – To Brave the Storm’ (they’re really long titles) is the second half of The Romulan War duology and the final book in Martin’s contribution to the relaunch (so far, as Christopher L. Bennet was given the job of writing the next book in the series), and is the best so far, by quite some margin.
I’m not sure what happened between books one and two of The Romulan War, but I know that Martin suddenly came into possession of a better grasp of Vulcan psychology, how to handle multiple characters and plot-threads, and how to handle some very interesting characters.
One of the main problems many readers had with ‘Beneath the Raptor’s Wing’ was that it tried to cover too much and did none of it well. I was somewhat concerned upon opening the book that I was going to be suffering something similar: The book covers 5 years and the same number of characters as the book before it. However, this time, it is done so well; smooth transitions across large periods of time, and sensible swaps to different characters, each of which presents relevant information.
Character development is taken up a notch as well, with several characters I thought were given short-shrift in the previous novels given interesting plots and developed beyond two-dimensional road signs flashing by.
These books present access to a previously hidden piece of Star Trek lore, a piece that is immensely interesting to me. I love watching the formation of the Federation and the way that various characters are woven into its formation; from Captain Archer’s obvious involvement through to Trip and T’Pol’s involvement, and the various technological input made by others like Malcom Reed and Hoshi Sato.
All in all this is a worthwhile read, enough to make the previous novels even a little more bearable. This novel is also a great way to lead into the talented writing of Christopher L. Bennett who writes the next novel, ‘Star Trek: Enterprise – Rise of the Federation – A Choice of Futures’ (an even longer title).
Review by Joshua S Hill
7/10 from 1 reviews
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