Desperate Hours (Star Trek Discovery) by David Mack (website, Twitter)
Her Grace’s rating: 4 out of 5 stars
I read it as a: paperback
Source: my own collection
Length: 384 pp
Published by: Gallery Book (26 Sept 2017)
I’m super, super, remarkably behind on reading the newest Star Trek novels. Like, I think I have 15 or so I haven’t got around to yet, so I’m a good 2 ½ to 3 years behind. This is a project I am looking forward to correcting.
Anyway. Desperate Hours is the first Star Trek Discovery novel, and it was terrific. This is set about a year before the Shenzhou’s mission to the binary stars and the star of the actual show. Michael Burnham is promoted to acting first officer when Captain Philippa Gregory’s previous exec officer left for his own command. But if Michael wants to keep the job, she has to prove that she deserves it. The opportunity for her to do just that presents itself in the form of a colony under attack. Burnham learns to think outside the box while still adhering to Starfleet protocols, and in the process, attempts to avert a disaster created by Starfleet’s own rules.
This read just like an action-packed episode. I like the self-contained story line; I get very tired of multi-book story arcs or series that go on forever and you have to read each book in order or you don’t have a clue what’s going on. I actually really miss that about the old numbered Trek books. One book = one story.
The characters were really well done in this. Mack has a terrific handle on them and they seemed like themselves as they are in the series. I did notice a couple minor things that made it obvious that this was written before certain episodes, like calling Saru’s homeworld Kelpia. Just a couple things that were explained later or in different detail in the show, but nothing that detracted from the overall quality of the novel.
Michael’s character was the best; she is very much like she’s portrayed in the show, but it is obvious that she’s younger, less experienced, and not just because the book says she’s younger. It’s a testament to Mack’s writing skills that he could craft a thoroughly credible version of a character many of us already know and love well.
Very much looking forward to reading the rest of them, and all future Discovery novels as well. I hope we get a lot more with Lorca. Ye gods, that man is fine.
Favorite part/ lines (potential spoilers!):
- This was everything she had feared Starfleet would be when she had first been courted to its service by Sarek and Captain Georgiou: reactionary, shortsighted, blinded by a knee-jerk impulse to seek security at the expense of knowledge. Then the advice of Sarek echoed in her memory: If that is what you find, it is up to you to change it for the better.
- “Nondisclosure contracts?” Pike wondered for a cynical moment what century he was living in.
- …the essential nature of life and the universe is impermanence: everything changes, and everything ends. Trying to resist that truth is the root of all suffering.
- “Most of them will never know how close they came to nearly losing everything.” “That’s probably true for all of us, at one time or another,” Georgiou said.
- “Don’t give up hope,” he said. “Selfishness will go away once the universe runs out of sentient beings.”