Voyager: The Eternal Tide
Yes, there will be spoilers. Big ones.
Seriously. BIG spoilers.
You've been warned.
As Star Trek TV series go, Voyager and Enterprise never meant much to me. They were announced as rules-breaking, game-changing departures from the norm and too often weren't. As captains go, Janeway and Archer were my least favourite, with Janeway in particular suffering from being inconsistently written over the show's run.
And yet Kirsten Beyer's latest Voyager novel was the novel I was waiting for this year, pretty much. I'm still absorbing what should have been the event of the year for me -- David R. George III taking on DS9 in two novels that reboot the stalled relaunch -- and I don't have any kind of final reaction to that yet, other than a general sense of yay, can we get back to telling DS9 stories on a regular basis now?
But Beyer has done wonderful work with the Voyager novels, going in some very unexpected directions, sometimes to the loudly expressed discontent of a few diehard Voyager/Janeway fans. Some of the people who've enjoyed her new direction are those who were never very fond of Voyager or Janeway, like me. So there's been a lot of heated debate about whether Janeway should be brought back from the dead. Many of the folks at TrekBBS who liked the new Voyager thought it would be cheapened by yet another Trek character coming back from the dead. The thing is, regardless of what authors or editors said about Janeway's permanent or temporary state of deadness, she was last seen walking off into the sunset with a Q being told she was dead. My reaction at the time was, (a) Q lies, and (b) dead people don't have conversations, and (c) Janeway will be back.
So I raced through The Eternal Tide wondering how events would play out. What kind of price would be paid? What kind of reset button would be pushed? How many plotlines would be resolved?
As it turned out, many things were resolved, many changes were made, and the status is very much no longer quo. Whatever happens next, it won't be more of the same. And I'm happy with a lot of it. I'm happy, being a big ol' shipper, to see Janeway and Chakotay get a chance at happiness. I'm happy to see the sword no longer balancing over Miral's head. By and large I'm satisfied with where The Etermal Tide leaves us, with how it characterized the regulars and the guest stars from the Q continuum. I did find a lot of the story to be heavy on the woowoo but the characters pulled me through.
So... another great read in the Voyager novel series. I'm eager to see what happens next. Who would have expected that a decade ago?
ETA: I was glad to see that the crisis in this novel was a result of future Janeway's actions in Endgame. I also liked Kirsten's author's note after the end of the story.