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What Price Honor?

By Jacqueline Bundy
Posted at November 11, 2002 - 1:09 AM GMT

Title: Star Trek: Enterprise: What Price Honor?
Author: David Stern
Publication Date: November 2002
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 0-7434-6278-5

Do you ever find yourself frustrated when reading a book? Or perhaps annoyed? What Price Honor?, the new Enterprise novel by David Stern, is both frustrating and annoying to read.

The plot’s been done to death, and much more effectively: A Starfleet vessel, in this case the Enterprise NX-01, caught up in a war between two species. This time around it is the Sarkassians and the Ta’alaat. Mind control, mysterious alien technology beyond the crew’s comprehension and a crewmember, Lieutenant Malcolm Reed, racked with guilt. Yawn.

The text of the book makes several references to the Enterprise being approximately a year into its mission, which would place the story in 2152. Consequently I found it very trying to have a large bold chapter heading glaring at me every few minutes, with a date that places the events well before Enterprise even left earth.

Even if you can get past the cookie-cutter plot and conspicuous errors, it’s hard to care what happens in What Price Honor?. The writing is stiff and flat. It is impossible to feel any empathy for the downtrodden Ta’alaat as you learn next to nothing about them. The aggressors, the Sarkassians, are easy to dislike, but that is based on the behavior of one particularly obnoxious ambassador. The whole story feels incomplete somehow, as if it was all written in a big rush without the author really thinking about it.

The one redeeming feature of this novel is the interaction between Malcolm Reed and Ensign Alana Hart. Their brief relationship, seen through Reed’s eyes in flashbacks, is the most enjoyable piece of the story. It humanizes the character of Lieutenant Reed very effectively, although his imaginary conversations with Captain Archer can be a bit trying at times.

Bottom line--pass on this novel, there are much better books to spend your money on.

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Jacqueline Bundy reviews Star Trek books for the Trek Nation, writes monthly columns for the TrekWeb newsletter and the Star Trek Galactic News, and hosts the Yahoo Star Trek Books Group weekly chat.

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