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Star Trek: Discovery: Fear Itself Book Review

3 min read

Star Trek: Discovery: Fear Itself
by James Swallow


“Lieutenant Saru is a Kelpien, a member of a prey species born on a world overrun by monstrous predators…and a being who very intimately understands the nature of fear. Challenged on all sides, he is determined to surpass his origins and succeed as a Starfleet officer aboard the USS Shenzhou. But when Saru breaks protocol in order to prove himself to his crewmates, what begins as a vital rescue mission to save a vessel in distress soon escalates out of control. Forced into a command role he may not be ready for, Saru is caught between his duty and the conflicting agendas of two antagonistic alien races. To survive, he will need to seek a path of peace against all odds, and risk compromising the very ideals he has sworn to uphold.”


This is a story which gives more of the backstory of those who served on the USS Shenzhou with Captain Philippa Georgiou. This time, the focus is on Saru, whose curiosity while on a rescue mission to help a Peliar star freighter in danger, stirs up a hornet’s nest. The Kelpian, thrown into the role of ranking officer when another officer is injured aboard the Peliar ship, has to figure out how to get out of the mess he made in spite of his inexperience in leadership, and in spite of his ever-present fear.


I really enjoyed this book, although at first I thought, “not another prequel!” As a trade paperback, the print is larger and I sped through the story in hours.

While the hostile takeover of the Peliar ship was not unexpected, nor the actions of the Tholians, it made for good action and was suspenseful.

In true Star Trek fashion, the Shenzhou helped to right a wrong and to learn more about the Gorlans, new to them, as well as the Peliar, who weren’t members of the Federation but were known to them.

As a big fan of Saru, it’s always good to see him in action. Whether bickering with Burnham, or facing his own weaknesses and striving to overcome them, he’s easily one of the more fascinating characters on Discovery. It was interesting to be given insight into how the Kelpian kept himself sharp and ready for any danger that might arrive; and it was interesting to see how he handled real command, with the problems that can face a leader, and how that affected his view of himself and his place in Starfleet.

And of course, the other familiar characters are there and it was good to see them again, and become even more familiar with their personalities. The new characters were written well enough that one was able to see them as real flesh-and-blood people, not just placeholders in the story to assist the main characters.


Author: James Swallow

Publisher: Gallery Books

Publication Date: June 5, 2018

ISBN-13: 9781501166594
ISBN-10: 150116659X

Pages: 304

Star Trek Discovery: Fear Itself is available as a mass market paperback for $16.00 ($12.80 on Amazon) or as a Kindle eBook for $11.99. To order, head to the link located here.

About The Author

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