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Josh Reviews Star Trek: Voyager “Full Circle”

I can’t believe I actually purchased a book with Star Trek: Voyager in the title!  (For those of you just tuning in, despite my intense love for Star Trek, I have a rather large amount of disdain for Voyager, the most boring and uninspired of the Trek series.)  And even more than that — I can’t believe I liked it!!

Pocket Books has published Star Trek: Voyager novels before (though not for several years).  So what prompted me to pick this one up?

Following David Mack’s magnificent three-book Destiny series (which I reviewed here) that involved characters from all of the 24th century Trek TV shows (Next Gen, DS9, and Voyager) and wreaked an enormous amount of havoc within the established Trek universe, I have been chomping at the bit to see where the story goes from here.  Keith R.A. DeCandidio’s excellent novel A Singular Destiny was the first follow-up (reviewed here), and two subsequent novels have been released over the past few months: Over a Torrent Sea, by Christopher L. Bennett (which explores the ramifications of the events of Destiny on Captain William Riker and his crew on the U.S.S. Titan, and which I’ll be reviewing here soon), and Kirsten Beyer’s Voyager novel, Full Circle, which bridges the gap between the series finale of Voyager (and the handful of Voyager novels that Pocket books released soon after) and the events of Destiny.

Full Circle is a lengthy book (clocking in at 561 pages) that really feels like two books combined into one.  (That is not a complaint.)  The bulk of the first half of the novel follows up on a storyline begun in the latter days of the Voyager series: the idea that a sect of Klingons has become convinced that Miral, the daughter of Tom Paris and B’Elanna Torres, is the Kuvah’magh, the long-predicted Klingon savior.  Upon Voyager’s return to the Alpha Quadrant, B’Elanna takes sanctuary with Miral at the Klingon monastery on Boreth, where she seeks to discover the truth behind the prophecies of the Kuvah’magh.  Of course, it isn’t long before Miral is kidnapped and Torres, and the rest of the crew of Voyager, find themselves swept up in a Klingon feud that is thousands of years old.

The second half of the novel jumps back in forth in time over the course of the next few years, catching the Voyager story-lines up with the events of the last few years worth of Trek novels that culminated in Destiny.  Voyager is home, and back on active duty with Starfleet in the Alpha Quadrant.  But none of the crew has had an easy time re-adjusting to life at home, and terrible tragedies continue to befall them.

I was very impressed with the way that Ms. Beyer was able to craft an engaging, emotional story-line for every main character from Voyager.  Each character has his/her own journey to travel in this book — many of them, excruciatingly difficult ones.  Despite watching seven seasons of Voyager TV episodes, I never felt the characters were fleshed out to any sort of degree — they never felt like real, living people to me.  Yet in Ms. Beyer’s book, I found myself actually caring for these characters!  I was totally swept up in each of the stories being told, and the book’s chronological jumps, that could easily have been confusing or distracting, were instead exciting and revelatory.  And I loved the sense of continuity the book created, as the stories connected to many different plot threads from the last season of Voyager and also to the recent other Trek novels (particularly the shocking death of a MAJOR Voyager character in Peter David’s Next Gen novel, Before Dishonor.)

While it definitely works as a complete story, Full Circle is also clearly an attempt to launch a new series of Voyager novels (in the fashion of Pocket Books’ successful post-finale series of DS9 and Next Gen novels).  There are a lot of story-lines that are left hanging (not in a disappointing way, but more in an “I can’t wait to see what happens next” sort of way, which is a tough balance to find).  And I really can’t wait to see what happens next!  Unbelievable.  Between Full Circle, “The Mirror-Scaled Serpent” (the Voyager novella by Keith R.A. DeCandido in the Mirror Universe anthology), and “Place of Exile” (the Voyager novella by Christopher L. Bennett in the Myriad Universes anthology), I am forced to admit that a rocking Voyager story can indeed be told!  (Too bad the actual TV series was never this good!!)

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