Series: The Romulan War (#2)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Genre: Space Opera
Publication Date: 2011
Earth and Romulus are at war, and the Coalition of Planets has been shattered. As Captain Archer fights one losing battle after another, the Romulan war machine marches on. Only if Earth and her allies can pull together can they avoid total annihilation . . .
The concluding half of the Romulan War duology is non-stop wall to wall action. It has that same mix of rich storytelling and high-octane action sequences that characterised Enterprise‘s third and fourth seasons, and not once stops to breathe. The constant barrage of action is particularly impressive given the span of time the book covers. Though a few hundred pages shorter than the first half of the series, To Brave the Storm takes place over the course of several years.
In many ways, this feels like the conclusion of more than just a two-book series. It wraps up several storylines that have been ongoing not just since The Good That Men Do, but further back into the TV series as well. The rivalry between Andor and Vulcan comes to a head, the growing divide between Archer and his crew is finally reckoned with, and of course Trip Tucker’s covert operations come to an end. With so many story arcs to resolve in so few pages, it’s only natural that some characters get left by the wayside. Travis gets plenty to do as he tries to find a life beyond the Enterprise, but Hoshi, Phlox, Reed and even T’Pol have little to do this time around. I’m perfectly fine with characters taking a back seat when the story is as good as it is here, but the thing that Star Trek always got right was its ensemble cast, and it’s a shame that so many of them are wasted here.
With so many events to cover over the course of the war, there isn’t enough time to give each one the time it deserves. I can’t help but wonder if this duology would have worked better as a trilogy (as some have alleged it was intended to be). As a result of the low page count, there is a certain lightness to the text. There’s little time to think about one Galaxy-shaking incident before another one comes alone.
Ultimately though, this is still a very good book. It’s an enjoyable read, it has so amny of the hallmarks that Enterprise viewers loved, and it’s different enough to the Trek that came before to stand apart as something special. And even if had been none of these things, it provides a nice sense of closure to several long-running threads, even taking time to check in with a few minor characters along the way. As an aside, I also appreciated the Stargate Atlantis reference in the final pages.
The literary fifth season of Enterprise has a highly satisfying ending, even if it’s not quite as great as I might have hoped.