12 August 2019

Review: Star Trek: Discovery: The Enterprise War by John Jackson Miller

Trade paperback, 420 pages
Published 2019

Acquired July 2019
Read August 2019
Star Trek: Discovery: The Enterprise War
by John Jackson Miller

The most recent Star Trek: Discovery novel once again has no scenes aboard the title ship. Instead, this book follows a year in the life of the USS Enterprise, showing what it was doing during Discovery's first season, leading up to its appearance in the season one finale, and retro-foreshadowing some of season 2.

I've always been a fan of Captain Pike's Enterprise-- I used to have a website on a shitty free hosting platform devoted to it-- and I was disappointed that the first Discovery novel, Desperate Hours, didn't quite lean into its Pikeness more. So of course I enjoyed this. At first it's a pretty action-y novel, as the Enterprise explores a dangerous region of space and ends up beset by aliens who kidnap a big chunk of the crew. Fun but disposable. But about halfway through, something dramatic happens, and the novel gets contemplative and atmospheric. I loved the difficult situation everyone ends up in, and I loved how they all handled it, and how it reveals so much about these people. Great big set pieces, awesome visuals of things I surprisingly can't remember being doing in Star Trek before. But also nice little touches, such as Nurse Carlotti's problem, or the role of shipwreck narratives. There are also some nice moments where the book joins

Miller also does a good job with the characters. His Captain Pike captures everything I liked about Anson Mount's portrayal, his Spock is excellent, and he does a strong job with other mainstays like Number One, Yeoman Colt, Nhan, and Doctor Boyce. I also really enjoyed the original character of Galadjian (I hope we see more of him somewhere, but I know by Discovery season 2 he's not around), and I was surprised by he journey Miller took Connolly on. At first the guy annoyed me just as he did in the season 2 premiere, but by novel's end, I understood and liked him and felt bad about how he was depicted in "Brother." Which, I guess, is what a good prequel does!

I'm not totally convinced by every aspect of the joining up, and some of the continuity-smoothing moments are groaners, but overall I really enjoyed this. I've been reading John Jackson Miller's Star Wars comics for over a decade, but this is the first prose fiction and the first Star Trek work I've read from him. He nails it in this universe as much as he did in that one.

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