Reviews and Recommendations by Mel Odom, Professional Writer


I deliberately chose a Star Trek book for my first read on my spanking new Kindle. My wife was kind enough to get it for me for Christmas and I’ve been enjoying the device quite a lot.

As luck would have it, the Star Trek book I found to read is the first in the “new” Star Trek universe with J. J. Abrams’s version of James T. Kirk and Spock. I also know Rick Barba from days past working on game strategy guides for Prima Publishing. So it was an interesting experience all around.

Barba’s book, as are subsequent adventures in the new universe, is set prior to the movie timeline. Kirk is still a cadet at Starfleet Academy, and he’s hanging around with Bones while chasing after Uhura, who is impossibly beyond his grasp.

I had a good time with the book overall. The pacing was quick, the dialogue good, and the Starfleet background really well done. San Francisco also stands out as a setting with the cold and the fog. The similarity of the plot to the Jack the Ripper murders in Victorian London didn’t work very well with me and I don’t know why. Maybe the crimes are just too familiar at this point, overdone in many ways. However, this book is written for the YA crowd and they probably aren’t as versed in the historical murders at we older readers.

The Kirk in these pages (digital and paper) is pretty much the same in-your-face guy we met in the latest Star Trek movie. He’s cocky and arrogant and a skirt chaser, everything we loved about William Shatner’s portrayal of the character during the original run. Bones and Uhura were also well done.

I like the way Starfleet was somewhat fleshed out. The feel of the classes, the regimen, and the pecking order felt right. Some of the events are sophomoric, but the books are geared for the younger crowd, and college students these days pretty much occupy themselves in the same ways.

One of the intriguing aspects of the book was the simulation that Kirk went on. Evidently Spock is doing a lot of design work for the scenarios, and that fits neatly in with the idea that he developed the Kobayashi Maru shown in the recent movie. I hope we get to see more of these scenarios as the books progress, otherwise too much of the action in the novels is going to end up earthbound for my taste. Star Trek needs to be out in space or on alien planets as much as possible.

Overall, this book was a good introduction to the latest series. The characters are rendered faithfully and there was a lot of fun, a lot of Starfleet background. I’ve already got the second book ordered – and downloaded – onto my Kindle. Feels like I’m living in the 23rd century!



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