Thursday 23 November 2023

Star Trek: More Beautiful Than Death - David Mack

Title: More Beautiful Than Death
Author: David Mack
Published: 2020
Chronological Period: 2258

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"More Beautiful Than Death" by David Mack is the second of two novels released in 2020 that were related to the JJ Abrams Star Trek universe rather than the prime universe. In this novel, Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise have to carry out a diplomatic mission to a planet that’s requested aid from the Federation. As the diplomatic group includes Spock's father, Ambassador Sarek things were never going to be easy but of course that is only the tip of the iceberg as the crew have to face multiple crises.

I have to start by saying that Mack does a good job at making this novel feel like it is set in the Abramaverse with a fast pacing, a good amount of action and with characters that actually came across like those from that Universe. He also utilised the relationship between Uhuru and Spock as an integral part of the narrative which meant the story wouldn't have worked in the Prime universe without some major changes. The previous novel I read which was set in this universe failed to really show the reader why it mattered that it wasn't set in the prime universe, but Mack manages to avoid that mistake.

Probably one of my limited gripes about the novel is that the characters sometimes acted in a rather  childish and immature manner, particularly in relation to the interactions with Sarek. Don't get me wrong, the rashness they displayed is partly why they came across more like the Enterprise crew we saw in the JJ Abrams movies but at the same time it felt like they hadn't grown at all as officers which didn't feel right to me. It wasn't a major issue but it did leave a slightly negative impression on me as I read the novel.

Overall, this was an enjoyable novel and it was nice to see a new adventure from that universe. The action and fast pacing along with the setting means this novel should really appeal to those who were introduced to Star Trek through the JJ Abrams movies. As noted earlier in the review, it would have been nice to see a bit more growth in the maturity of the characters but that may just be me nit-picking.