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- Terok Nor (#2)
- Takes place twenty four years prior to Deep Space Nine
- Published by Pocket Books in 2008
- A Space Opera
- 446 pages
Bajor suffers under Cardassian occupation. No longer wearing the mask of friendship, the cruel invaders send Bajorans to labour camps, kill them in the streets, and seek the annihilation of their culture. But in the underground, resistance is growing . . .
There’s a commonly held wisdom among readers of trilogies that the middle volume is usually the weakest. It’s a wisdom that I often disagree with, as many of my favourite books come slap-bang in the middle of a larger series. But in the case of the Terok Nor trilogy, there is a noticeable drop in my enjoyment of this second volume. I’ll get into the specifics of why in a little bit, but first I want to acknowledge the fact that you can’t really take a book like this as a standalone novel. This is the middle of a series, and it’s a series that essentially reads as one long story. Though there are time jumps between novels, there are big gaps in the books themselves, so there’s really not that much to differentiate one book from the next in a narrative sense. Reviewing this book on its own merits would be like reviewing the middle third of any other book. I might make some good points, but without the larger context, it’s not much of a review. Though there are developments along the way, this book essentially ends as it begins. The majority of the developments are internal, for the characters. The overall situation of Bajor changes very little. Being a prequel, we have a pretty good idea of where all this is going, so seeing it all stall like this is more than a bit disappointing. And that’s not the only way in which the context of Star Trek’s larger story brings down my enjoyment of Night of the Wolves.
The major issue for me was the choice of characters. In this book we see the resistance movement primarily through the eyes of two young women, both of whom will be familiar to Star trek fans. The first is Kira Nerys, and the second is Ro Laren. For those who don’t know, Ro appeared in several episodes of The Next Generation, and was intended to play a major role in Deep Space Nine. When a contract couldn’t be agreed upon, rather than recast the role, the near-identical Kira was created. Kira would go on to be one of Star Trek’s best and most complex characters, but her origin story is essentially the same as Ro’s. This book tells both of those origin stories. The end result of this is that we have two protagonists who largely feel like the same person. Though they end up with slightly different outlooks on life, for much of the novel Ro and Kira are interchangeable. if this had been audience’s first contact with the characters, I doubt either one would have the legacy they do.
This is a shame, because while I do not personally enjoy Perry & Dennison’s writing as much as James Swallow’s, this book is very good at driving home the everyday horrors of the Occupation. It is heavy going, and doesn’t pull any punches. Strip out the context of being a Star Trek novel, and this might even be a stronger story. Because all the names and places and histories end up being more of a distraction than a boon. As a war story, Night of the Wolves is very good, but as an expansion of the Trek universe, it stumbles more than it runs.
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