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Book Reviews: Gods of Night + A Fate Totally Worse Than Death + Witch High + Everybody's Dead

Star Trek Destiny: Book 1 Gods of Night by David Mack

The 'Star Trek: Destiny' trilogy has been hyped up for over a year prior to publication. TPTB promised a vast cross-title crossover event and that this series will 'redefine' the Star Trek novels. Lord I hope the latter promise isn't true, as 'Gods of Night' is a boring read that was vastly underwhelming.

The events in this book link 'Star Trek: Enterprise', 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' and 'Star Trek: Titan' as the Borg begin their plan to annihilate the Federation and its allies. There are cameos by the 'Star Trek: Voyager' and 'Star Trek: New Frontier' titles, but they have to wait until 2009 to get their own adventures. In the 'Enterprise' segments of the novel, Captain Erika Hernadez of the USS Colombia finds her ship damaged beyond repair and stranded in deep space. With no hope of ever returning home, the Colombia travels to a nearby planet seeking aid. There they are welcomed, but aid and escape prove not to be forthcoming.

Meanwhile Picard and the Enterprise face down Borg attacks that are burning planets to cinder. Picard's mental health is being affected by the Borg as he alternately weeps and rants. Also he obsesses over Beverly who is pregnant with his child. The crew have to worry about the Borg and their captain as Picard says that this battle is a 'clash of civilisations' that will only end when one side is destroyed.

Elsewhere Riker and the USS Titan encounter something very unexpected in distant space. Also Troi faces the failure of another pregnancy as the ship's doctor and first officer issue thinly veiled threats about her medical care. Riker can't cope with any of this and his first officer seems to be coming onto him.

Also Ezri Dax is now Captain of her own ship, the USS Aventine as the ship is in the Gamma Quadrant salvaging the wreckage of the USS Colombia. How did a ship lost over 200 years earlier come to crash on a planet in the Gamma Quadrant? Is the event somehow tied into the Borg assault?

These various captains across time and space are unwittingly all part of some larger story. It's a shame the story bores the reader rigid.

Erika Hernadez and her idiot, mutinous crew are stuck on an alien world and act like houseguests from hell. Hernadez is a good character, it's a shame she's stuck with the crew from hell. The 'Enterprise' segments drag on and on and on and on.

Picard and his weeping and wailing just bores. And what is with he and Beverly having a kid? Aren't they too old? And in the middle of a Borg attack? The supporting characters on the Enterprise are vastly more interesting and thankfully David Mack seems to have the same opinion of Mary-Sue character T'Ryssa Chen (introduced in the novel 'Greater Than The Sum') as many readers and ignores her.

The Titan segments are full of padding. Melora isolates herself in the stellar cartography tank which she never seems to leave, how she eats or goes to the bathroom is never addressed. Troi's fertility issues dominate as she is patronised by the ship's doctor and first officer. How are either of these subplots relevant to the Borg storyline?

As for the Aventine, Dax is Captain. That says it all really. The 'Star Trek: Deep Space Nine' relaunch did Dax no favours as it made her character selfish and hateful. Also how did Dax go from counsellor to Captain?

The pacing is glacial and there is no sense of urgency or menace to the plot. It's all plot set-up and groundwork for books 1&2. Nothing important actually happens in this book. Sure planets, ships and starbases burn, sure lots of people die but it's all written in such a ponderous boring way that one just doesn't care. I've been looking forward to the 'Star Trek: Destiny' trilogy and this book was a crashing disappointment. Above all else, it was boring.

Maybe Book 2 'Mere Mortals' will be better. Maybe something will actually happen in that tome.

~
A Fate Totally Worse Than Death by Paul Fleischman

This is an excellent parody of the teen horror novels of the 90's. It's absolutely hilarious.

Tiffany, Brooke and Danielle are the self declared rulers of their high school. If you get on their bad side, bad things will happen to you. Just as poor dead Charity Chase discovered not so long ago. But Tiffany, Brooke and Danielle aren't that concerned with killing Charity, what they are concerned about is new girl Helga. All the top man candy of their school are fascinated by Helga. So the terrible trio decide to deal with her.

But then strange things start to happen to the fearsome three, very bad things. A fate which for them is far worse than death. Tiffany, Brooke and Danielle consult their teen horror reads like 'Prom Night Massacre', 'Hitchhiker from Hell' and 'Revenge of the Vampire Cheerleaders' for advice and decide that their is only one answer. Helga is Charity returned from the grave for vengeance! So they need to get rid of her, again.

This is a very funny and very satisfying revenge tale about three selfish, materialistic cows getting exactly what they deserve. If you liked the teen horror books of the 90's, you should love this witty spoof.

~
Witch High edited by Denise Little

A DAW anthology about a high school where magic is taught. Though somewhat similar to the older DAW anthology 'The Sorcerer's Apprentice' this is a good read. My only complaint was that though all the stories are supposed to be set at the same school, there is zero continuity between the stories and more than one story contains some blatant spelling mistakes and proof reading errors. Still flaws aside, this is a good read.

Domestic Magic
A student dreams that the self declared big man on campus does something terrible at their school. But since they have a bad history together, nobody believes her warnings. This is a good one.

Temporal Management
A bubble headed student uses a time travel spell to cram in some study hours. It all goes wrong naturally. This is okay.

Boil and Bubble
He's just another ordinary student at Witch High, or so he thinks. What is his connection to the infamous evil witch who rampaged through Salem years earlier? This is good.

Another Learning Experience
The school bad girl is sentenced to become the school guidance counsellor. This is an okay read, but the name of the school bad boy changes spelling half way through the story.

A Family Thing
A girl learns her best friend has a wicked witch in the family. They team up to stop the wicked witch's nefarious plan. Another okay read.

You Got Served
The put upon Witch High lunch lady finally has it out with the rude, ungrateful brats she serves up meals to. An okay read.

Remedial Magic
Saranne's mother is very sick and Saranne will do anything to save her. Anything. A good story.

Homecoming Crone
Two misfits work to stop the school mean girls from doing something stupidly dangerous at the Homecoming Dance. This is a good story, however it seems like it was originally a much longer story that was crudely edited down to fit in this anthology.

Late Bloomer
Abbi has no magic but she has to attend Witch High as people are sure that one day her gift will manifest. An okay if predictable tale.

The Price of Gold
The school outcast searches for a missing student. This is a good tale of loneliness and alienation.

The House
A student plans to create a gingerbread house for the parascience fair. This is funny and good.

~
Everybody's Dead

This graphic novel is a comedic horror about the last people on Earth who should be the last people on Earth.

A motley collection of stupid, drunken, pretentious American college kids are the last people on Earth after everybody else is turned into zombies. Now the survivors must fight off zombies and survive despite their IQ's being in the negative numbers. This is a fairly good read if you can overlook the ugly artwork. Various interesting info nuggets are dropped during the course of the story making you wonder if the writer is setting up a sequel.
Tags: book review, star trek
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