Tuesday, August 10, 2021

[Review] - Star Trek: The Next Generation: Shadows Have Offended

Recently, Gallery Books released Star Trek: The Next Generation: Shadows Have Offended, written by Cassandra Rose Clarke. For quite some time, TNG, DS9, and Voyager books have had chronological settings. However, this isn't the case for Shadows Have Offended. It's set just before the TNG series finale ("All Good Things . . ."), a weird time when the writers thought it would be fun to have Worf and Deanna Troi start a romantic relationship. When I say fun, what I mean is the writers thought it was fun, and the majority of the fans thought it was stupid. Hence, is why the plotline had disappeared by the first feature film, Star Trek: Generations.

Shadows Have Offended is separated into two different plots. Plot A centers on the U.S.S. Enterprise-D crew escorting a handful of guests to Betazed for a cultural ceremony. Captain Jean-Luc Picard gets suckered into becoming a 'dreams guest' via the request of Lwaxana Troi (aka Deanna's mother, who has a thing for Picard). Since Commander Riker is leading an away mission (part of Plot B), Captain Picard leaves Lieutenant Worf in command of the Enterprise. Sounds simple enough, right? Think again.

Before the ceremony can begin, someone steals Betazed artifacts, and the planet gets locked down. It's up to Worf and the crew of the Enterprise to unravel the mystery and save the day.

While en route to Betazed for the ceremony, Captian Picard had received orders from Starfleet to send an away team (Commander Riker, Doctor Crusher, Lieutenant Commander Data, Ensign Josefina Rikkila, and Ensign Amir Munoz) to the isolated planet Kota. They are to assist the crew of a Federation Science Station in determining if the Kota is suitable for inhabitation. As you probably already guessed, this is Plot B. It's a straightforward scientific expedition story.

Final Thoughts

I was more or less a "Trekkie" kid during my childhood, way before I even knew there was a term for a Star Trek fan. Thanks to my dad, I had already watched Star Trek 1-4 multiple times long before Star Trek: The Next Generation hit airwaves in 1987 (aka the year I started kindergarten). Of course, I fell in love with the TNG characters. I became a fan of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine during my teenage years and phased out of the franchise after the campy Star Trek: Voyager debuted. As an adult, I slowly found my reinterest in all things Trek, which explains why there are way too many Star Trek eBooks on my Kindle.

I categorize Star Trek books in three different categories -. novelizations, juniors, and old-school science fiction. "Novelizations" are book adaptations of episodes and movies. "Juniors" are short original Trek tales that are lacking character development and Trek terminology. "Old-School Science Fictions" are longer stories with in-depth characters and detailed descriptions. 

Star Trek: The Next Generation: Shadows Have Offended falls into the "juniors" category. Its two novelizations combined to make one short novel. There are 291 pages total, with a blank page at the end of every chapter. There are 37 chapters! So, storywise, the page total is 254 pages. There are two separate stories, and they're barely intertwined together. Divide that in half, and we get 127 pages per story. I don't know about you, but I would call this a novelization, not a novel. Two novelizations, to be precise. What does this have to do with the quality of the book? Nothing. It's just me nitpicking.

Plot A is a lighthearted story, where Captain Picard involuntarily becomes a guest at a Beatzed cultural ceremony for Lwaxana Troi. An artifact goes missing, and, blah, blah, blah, Worf has to save the day. At its core, the story is silly, but it does feel like a late seventh-season TNG episode.

Plot B is a boring scientific away team mission that's adds nothing to the Plot A story. Now, I'm not saying that it's a complete time waster. It's a passible TNG story, but for me, there wasn't enough going on to sustain my interest.

What's with the 22nd century Romulan Bird-of-Prey on the cover? Yes, there's a Romulan appearance, but none of the descriptions stated it was an Enterprise-era ship.

Overall, Star Trek: The Next Generation: Shadows Have Offended is a lighthearted (Yep, I'm using this word twice in one review!) TNG tale that's never thrilling or disappointing. Even though I didn't care much for the away mission plot, it wasn't entirely bad either. If you're a diehard TNG fan, you might get some enjoyment from reading Shadows Have Offended.

1 comment:

  1. I am a Trekie fan too but never got into the books. Timelines always mess me up with tv and movies.


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