Wednesday, March 20, 2024

[Review] — Seven of Nine Returns in "STAR TREK: PICARD: FIREWALL"

Star Trek
has always been and will always be a "niche" genre. Though tie-in novel releases have gotten increasingly rare over the years, I always appreciate them when they are published. The first of just a handful of new Star Trek novels in 2024, STAR TREK: PICARD: FIREWALL, was penned by New York Times best-selling author David Mack and released by Gallery Books last month.

My devoted blog readers know I'm not the biggest fan of the most recent Star Trek films and television shows—especially Star Trek: Discovery and the first two seasons of Star Trek: Picard. As a prequel to Star Trek: Picard's first season and a follow-up to Star Trek Voyager (1995–2001), FIREWALL skips all that happened in the now non-canonical "Litverse" novels (Homecoming thru To Lose Earth).

FIREWALL (available to buy on *Hardback and *Kindle) follows Seven of Nine as she struggles to live her existence without her Voyager crewmates. Since her return from the Delta Quadrant, Starfleet has denied her entry to Starfleet Academy due to her Borg implants. Wherever she goes, she is shunned by society—until one day, in return for her citizenship and a Starfleet commission, she is chosen by the Federal Security Agency (FSA) to infiltrate the Fenris Rangers. It sounds too good to be true. Doesn't it? Seven learns the hard way that not everything is as it appears, leading her down a different path of discovery. (*Paid Link)

Hear me out—David Mack is a fantastic science fiction author, and FIREWALL showcases his talented writing abilities. Regretfully, the narrative has a Star Wars vibe rather than a Star Trek one. However, it's not the author's fault; instead, it's a product of the bad writing and poor production of Star Trek: Picard seasons one and two, which features too many action scenes and superfluous foul language. Seven of Nine is substantially similar to her Voyager counterpart; however, she is now a lesbian. One of the things I didn't like about Star Trek: Picard was forcing a relationship between Seven and Raffi in the last seconds of the first season finale episode; the last time we saw her on Star Trek: Voyager, she was sort of in a relationship with Commander Chakotay, which was explained in FIREWALL, though it got tiptoed around due to Chakotay's ongoing storyline in the animated series Star Trek: Prodigy.

The appearance of Admiral Kathyrn Janeway, who plays a significant role in the story, was one of the few surprises in FIREWALL. I found it surprising that David Mack had "the powers that be" permission for him to use Janeway, given her role in Star Trek: Prodigy.

To put it simply—STAR TREK: PICARD: FIREWALL was a decent novel with excellent prose. As I've mentioned, David Mack is a gifted storyteller, but his skills weren't enough to elevate the Fenris Rangers above mediocrity. Except for Seven of Nine, I didn't like any of the Fenris Rangers characters. In my perspective, the greatest part of the story was Janeway's role in it. ╌★★★☆☆

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