Book Review – Star Trek Nemesis

startreknemesisStar Trek Nemesis

Author: J. M. Dillard

Series: Star Trek Movie #10

Genre: Science Fiction

Published 2002

Review Copy: Hardcover gift

Overall Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

Goodreads Description

Remus — mysterious sister world to Romulus. A planet where hope surrendered to darkness long ago. A planet whose inhabitants have been without a voice for generations. But that’s about to change. Earth — home to Starfleet, where the crew of the “U.S.S. Enterprise(TM) ” NCC 1701-E, gathers under the crystal blue skies of an Alaskan day to celebrate the wedding of Will Riker and Deanna Troi. The joy of the day is overshadowed only by the knowledge that this is the last time they will all be together, as soon-to-be Captain Riker and his ship’s counselor, Deanna Troi, will soon be departing for their new ship.

Captain Jean-Luc Picard and the “Enterprise” crew are suddenly diverted for an unexpected diplomatic mission to the planet Romulus. Longtime enemies of the Federation, the Romulans have expressed their desire to initiate negotiations that will hopefully lead to a long-awaited unity in the galaxy. But upon their arrival on Romulus, the Enterprise crew is faced with a threat that could lead to the destruction of the planet Earth, and Picard comes face to face with a man who may prove to be his most dangerous adversary yet…and a surprisingly personal nemesis.

Review

Star Trek Nemesis is the novelisation of a movie of the same name, and is the fourth featuring the Next Generation cast of characters.  It’s also the fourth Next Generation movie novelisation of J. M. Dillard, as she has done them all.  This is the first movie novelisation I’ve read, so it was interesting seeing how things went.  There are some good things and some not so good things.

The story is quite typical of a Star Trek movie, higher stakes, bigger potential losses.  The Enterprise is seeing the loss of several officers to different postings, but they’re all pulled together for one last adventure.  This time, it’s on to Romulus to find out what’s going on with the new Praetor, Shinzon.  He’s not who they expect.  Without giving anything away, there is, of course, a big battle with a bigger opponent and a last minute effort to turn the tide.  There is a big loss, though.  One that I wasn’t very happy about.

The characters are as I’ve always known them.  Their personalities are the same as always, which is good.  I don’t want their personalities to be altered in novels.  But they are exactly as they appeared in the TV series and movie.  Captain Jean-Luc Picard is the always strong diplomatic leader.  Commander William Riker is a big personality who I always enjoyed.  Lt. Commander Data is my favourite, and always has been.  He is wise, even for a human.  Lt. Commander Geordie LaForge is the very effective chief engineer and great friend to Data.  I felt he didn’t get as much focus in this book/movie.  Doctor Beverly Crusher Is the same as always, matronly, and a very good doctor.  Counselor Deanna Troi played a major part, though has never been a favourite of mine.  Lt. Commander Worf is welcomed back to the crew of the Enterprise after his Deep Space Nine assignment finished, and he is his usual gruff Klingon self.  On the other side, there’s Shinzon, the new Praetor.  He comes across as someone who doesn’t really know who or what he is.  He has many internal struggles and often showed a lack of control.  His Viceroy, a Reman, is straight out of horror movies the way he’s described.  I didn’t get much personality from him.  Overall, I thought the characters were as expected, no more, no less.

The writing disappointed me.  It read as a movie screenplay written as a novel.  There were words, such as “meanwhile” and “meantime” that I never see in other novels.  They’re placed at the beginning of scenes or at scene transitions, and they are not needed.  I’m also not a fan of the omniscient point of view.  We can hear every character’s thoughts and feelings in a scene, leaving everything known to us.  In the movie, we know none of this, but in the book, we know all.  It was a rather jarring difference, and I don’t think it added to the story very well.  On the positive side, it’s a faithful adaptation, as it’s pretty much exactly the same as the movie.  Usually, we worry about if a movie will adapt a book well, but this goes the other way.  I saw no problems with the adaptation.  I just didn’t like the writing style.

I find it hard to review a book of a movie I’ve already seen.  There was no suspense, no mystery.  I knew everything that was going to happen.  That is why I don’t like reading a book after seeing the movie.  I came away with nothing from reading this book, other than jogging my memory about the movie.  With that said, based on the book alone, it was a fast read, fast action, but not very detailed.

Overall, the novel gets a 2 1/2 out of 5 star rating from me.  Recommended to those who enjoy reading novelisations, as it was very faithful to the movie.  If you haven’t seen the movie, this may not appeal to you.

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