Monday, August 30, 2021

[Review] - Star Trek: Picard: Rogue Elements

Despite my disappointment with the new incarnations of Star Trek, my expectations for the spinoff Star Trek: Picard was a bit high. Like many Trekkies, I had negative feelings for the first season. Out of the new characters, Cristóbal Rios was the only one I liked, even though he was a ripoff of Han Solo. He's the captain, pilot, and owner of the small transport ship, La Sirena - a unique ship that looks more Star Wars than Star Trek

Early this month, Gallery Books released Star Trek: Picard: Rogue Elements, the third Star Trek: Picard tie-in novel. It's written by New York Times bestselling author John Jackson Miller, who has penned many tales in the universes of Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica, and Star Trek.  

Rogue Elements
begins in 2391, four years after the destruction of Romulus and one year after Cristóbal Rios got discharged from Starfleet. Rios is on Verex III to purchase a freighter that he later christens La Sirena. His only goal was to have a ship of his own and to be left alone. However, that doesn't occur when he becomes indebted to the Iotians (the gangsters from the planet Sigma lotia II). Against his will, Rios has to work with an overseer, Ledger, whose job is to make sure he pays off his debt. 
Over two years, Rios hires a crew, takes odd hauling jobs, dabbles with the Klingons and the Fregeni, and hilariously enables the Emergency Holograms. 

Final Thoughts

After reading the first book, The Last Best Hope, in the Picard series, I had little interest in reading any future titles. The Last Best Hope was a pointless story, and I completely skipped over The Dark Veil, despite the fact the story involved the U.S.S. Titan. There's a good chance that I might've done the same for Rogue Elements if it wasn't for Cristóbal Rios (played by actor Santiago Cabrera) being front in center on the cover. I'm glad I gave this novel a try because it's one of the better stories in the Star Trek expanded universe. 

Rogue Elements
doesn't flow like your standard by-the-book Star Trek tale. Instead, it feels more like a Star Wars side-adventure, just with many Trek references. If you're a fan of the TOS episode, A Piece of the Action, then you're in luck because the Ionian gangsters help kickoff this smuggler tale. While I'm not a fan of that particular episode, I appreciate the TOS connection. (FYI: Midway thru the book, I rewatched the TOS episode on Netflix.) There's a big TNG throwback with an appearance from the Zibilian trader, Kivas Fajo. Also, there's a clever Kingon subplot. 

Overall, Star Trek: Picard: Rogue Elements is as good as you're going to get for a standalone prequel. John Jackson Miller does an excellent job developing Cristóbal Rios into a full flesh and blood character. It's a fun and exciting novel that I took pleasure in reading.  

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