Friday, 11 October 2013

Starfleet Academy: The Edge - Rudy Josephs



Title: The Edge
Author: Rudy Josephs
Published: 2010
Chronological Period: 2254

Available at:
Amazon
The Book Depository
Amazon UK

Review:
“The Edge” by Rudy Josephs is actually the first Star Trek novel I have read that is set in Star Trek’s “Abramaverse”. As this is a Starfleet Academy book it is targeted at the Young Adult audience just like the earlier Academy novels that were set in the Prime universe. However, I do feel that this book was of a higher standard than the Prime Universe series of novels. I suspect that this is because YA novels have come on quite a way in recent years and there is a huge variety in terms of content to the point that the quality of both plot and style needs to be at a level that people are willing to actually pick up a book out of the large selection available.

The story itself follows the first few months of Kirk, McCoy & Uhura’s time at the Academy which doesn’t start off to well when a fellow cadet is found dead in his dorm room. Before long, other Cadet’s begin to show strange symptoms and it becomes clear that someone has been offering gene therapy and micro surgery to give cadet’s an extra edge during their time at the Academy. Whilst Star Fleet conducts its own investigation with the assistance of Commander Spock, Kirk and McCoy get dragged in themselves as they attempt to ensure that no one else suffers or turns up dead.

As I said earlier, I actually found this book to be of a higher standard that the other YA Star Trek novels I have read. The plot itself has a decent level of complexity and intrigue that will ensure most people are entertained even if it still isn’t as deep as an experience adult reader would have preferred. An interesting element of this novel is that it was actually quite slow paced, which was quite surprising to me when I compared it to the action packed fast paced movie that it is based around. Personally, I wasn’t bothered to much by this though as Josephs used the slower pace to actually explore the characters and the way they interact with each other and the academy life itself.

In regards to the characters, I found that I could easily envisage them as being the same to those I saw on the movie screen. Uhura is the best example of this as she comes across strongly like the Zoe Saldana version rather than Nichelle Nichols’s take on the character. For a big fan of Star Trek I really appreciated being able to read the book and feel like I was specifically reading about the alternate Universe.

One minor comment I do have with the book is in regards to my own knowledge of Star Trek canon. In a lot of the other books and TV episodes I have seen, people from Earth tend to show a real fear and hatred of genetic engineering due to events that occurred in the past such as the Eugenics Wars. However, in this book I felt that many people were very nonchalant and glib about the gene therapy that was going on. This isn’t a major issue and it probably won’t matter to someone who isn’t a big fan of Star Trek but it insured that the book felt a little bit wrong to me.

Overall, this was an enjoyable Star Trek YA novel that does a good job in capturing the feeling of the characters people witnessed in the “Abramaverse” version of Star Trek. The plot itself is a little slow paced at times but there should be enough there to keep most fans entertained.