Friday, November 19, 2021

[Review] - Star Trek: Coda: Book 2: The Ashes of Tomorrow by James Swallow

The Ashes of Tomorrow, book two Star Trek: Coda trilogy, beamed down to bookstores on October 26th from Gallery Books. I got my hands on a copy before the publication and read the book within a few days. I intended to post a review at the end of last month, but life things happened, and I'm just now finding the time to share my thoughts with everyone.

For non-Star Trek readers, here is a quick history of the Trek litverse. Novelizations and tie-in novels have been around since the late 1960s, with over 850 Trek stories in print. In 2001, the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine book series received a "relaunch" beginning with the two-part Avatar, set after the 1993-1999 television series. Star Trek: Voyager relaunched with Homecoming in 2003. set after the Endgame series finale. Star Trek: The Next Generation's relaunch began with Death in Winter in 2005, set after the feature film - Star Trek: Nemesis. Then there's the "Titan" series that followed the adventures of Captain William Riker and his wife, Commander Deanna Troi, aboard the USS Titan.

Authors were allowed to explore what happened to our favorite Trek characters after the series and movies ended. However, everything changed when the streaming series Star Trek: Picard debuted in 2020. Wanting to avoid the Star Wars "Legends" incident, authors Dayton Ward, James Swallow, and David Mack came up with the Coda trilogy that'll end the past 20 years of litverse continuity and connect the dots towards the Star Trek: Picard universe.

Dayton Ward tackled book one, Moments Asunder, which brought back the mysterious TNG villains, the Devidians. They are feeding on a temporal anomaly event. The Ashes of Tomorrow, written by James Swallow, brings Captain Benjamin Sisko, the crew of Deep Space 9 (the 2nd space station), Ambassador Spock, and Data back into the fold. They team up with renegade Captain Picard and the crew of USS Aventine, who are trying to locate when and where the temporal anomaly occurred, so they can erase their timeline to destroy the Devidians. The only person that stands in the way of their mission is Admiral William T. Riker of the USS Titan, who is on orders to stop Picard at all cost.

Final Thoughts

The Ashes of Tomorrow suffers from the middle book syndrome. It's not quite as good as the first and less exciting than the third. (Yes, I've already read Oblivion's Gate.) But it does serve its purpose by setting up the "end game" for the Trek litverse. I want to avoid giving away too many spoilers, so I'm not going to divulge what happens to specific characters. However, I will mention that the jarring attitude change in William T. Riker makes more sense after reading the third novel.

James Swallow must be a fan of Star Trek III: The Search for Spock because he pays homage to the spacedock scene. FYI - The Search for Spock is my favorite Star Trek film, so I got a kick out of it.

Overall, Star Trek: Coda: The Ashes of Tomorrow is a riveting read from beginning to end. Like I already mentioned, it's not quite as good as Moments Asunder, but it nicely sets up the swan song - Oblivion's Gate by David Mack.

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