Deep Space Nine Relaunch – Avatar Book 2
Author – S.D. Perry
Published – June 2001
Following on from my review of Book 1 of Avatar, I have to admit that I enjoyed this volume a lot more. I think I moved passed some of my unconscious prejudices against the new crew, and besides which this book is a lot less miserable. The misery of Book 1, whilst I still feel it was very much over done, leads the way into the glimmer of hope we see in this book, as life on the station begins to improve – even in the face of adversity.
Unlike the previous DS9 books, Avatar book 2 is the second book in the relaunch, continuing on from where the television series ended.
From Amazon –
The story begun in Book One continues, the Federation prepares to launch a counterstrike against the Dominion. Searching for a way to prevent another galactic holocaust, Colonel Kira is forced to make a choice between being true to her faith and being true to her loyalties. Meanwhile, as the combined crews of Deep Space Nine and the USS Enterprise struggle to stop a treacherous plot from destroying both the station and the ship, the shocking truth behind a disturbing prophecy and a grisly murder is revealed. Dark secrets, divided allegiances, treachery and, ultimately, hope – AVATAR is Deep Space Nine at its multi-layered best.
Immediately, this book felt a much lighter tale than book 1, which quite frankly was a depressing read. The elements of the story that had taken place in book 1 were brought to the fore – the discovery of a Bajoran prophecy, the return of an orb, a murder, the curious Jem’Hadar apparently sent by Odo, and the relationships good and bad between members of the crew.
What we find in this book, sometimes hurriedly so towards the end, is the reconciliation and conclusion of the storylines from book 1. And overall these are satisfactorily done, in fact some even take us to a new level beyond anything we saw on the show – causing changes that will have repercussions for the future – something DS9 has never shied from.
The new crew are likeable and we get a little more fleshing out, but again this is more so for Ro given her background. It is apparent that the new crew have their secrets – Vaughn’s are of the Intel kind, whereas Shar, the Andorian, are more personal. We discover that his mother is on the Federation Council and the character turns into an annoying teen for a while, until Nog points out his father is the Grand Nagus and nobody cares. There is more intrigue ahead for Shar, that much is obvious as we delve into his Andorian roots, but hopefully the mother issues are behind us because they verged on annoying.
Vaughn, who I remember disliking immensely when I first tried to read Book 1, actually grew on me, and as he becomes more involved in the action on the station, you can definitely see there is a place for him there. His orb experience touches him in a way that gives him the perfect connection to Bajor for the job, without it being a rehashing of Sisko’s story, or in any way stepping on any toes. His relationship with Kira will be very different to that of Sisko, but certainly interesting.
The presence of a Jem’Hadar soldier on the station is an interesting idea, and one that is full of surprises to the end, so I look forward to seeing where that goes in future novels. In the short term, the information he brings averts another potential war with the Dominion, which brings along with it a lifting of the spirits and a thankful break from the depression of Book 1.
Also on the up is the relationship between Ezri and Julian, albeit brought about by the chance they might lose each other. Although I was happy that the relationship is back on the road to recovery, I felt this story line was a bit slap dash, easily resolved and unnecessary. The actually idea behind it – Ezri beginning to come to terms with what it means to be Joined – is really interesting and the impact this would have on relationships could have been better explored. My personal preference would have been to explore this a bit more fully, but perhaps not so soon in the relaunch – let them have their honeymoon period before this reassessment and adjustment takes place. For now, it just feels like a storyline that wasn’t done justice.
By the end of this book we find the relationship between Kira and Ro has improved, and I was left feeling that interesting things may come from them in the future. In fact as the story ends we find life has irrevocably and crushingly changed for Kira, which is immediately discovered by Ro – perhaps a situation that may bond them together for more than one reason.
What in effect is the main storyline – that of the new prophecy, is beautifully and compellingly wrapped up – for all but Jake Sisko, who at this point has left DS9. It is the repercussions of this storyline that may prove the most interesting in time – Jake’s personal mission, the personal repercussions for Kira, and of course the massive political and religious ramifications for the whole of Bajor. Above all the shows, DS9 was never afraid to make massive changes to the Star Trek universe, with the cause and effect of war played out on a big canvas. It is commendable that this continues in the relaunch, rather than giving us self-contained stories with little to no impact on the future. After Avatar, I am excited to know what that future holds!