Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Star Trek Enterprise: Last Full Measure - Michael A. Martin & Andy Mangels



Title: Last Full Measure
Author: Michael A. Martin & Andy Mangels
Genre: Sci-Fi
Published: 2006
Formats: Paperback/Ebook

Available at:
Amazon
Kobo
Amazon UK

"Last Full Measure" by Michael A. Martin & Andy Mangels is the latest book in my Star Trek Reading Challenge and it was the first of the Enterprise re-launch novels to be released which continued telling original stories after the end of the TV series. Although I will clarify that outside the framing story, "Last Full Measure" is set firmly within the time period of the show and actually follows on quite well from the last Star Trek book I read, "The Expanse".

The central storyline is quite standard compared to most of the other stories set in Enterprise's third season. It is basically based around the Xindi council trying to deflect the Enterprise away from their home world by tricking them into following a false trail. There is nothing really original in that although I do believe that the authors did this so that they could concentrate on the interactions between the characters instead.

The main purpose of this story therefore seems to be in regards to highlighting the various tensions that exist between the MACO's and Starfleet. Whilst it was good to actually see a little bit more about the relationship between these two groups, after the first few examples of issues between them it all got a little bit repetitive. There are only so many times I am going to be interested in reading about how someone is arrogant etc. In addition it was all a little bit too obvious that this would all end up with some sort of happy respect occurring between the two groups although to be honest, this isn't anything new with either Star Trek or other novels.

However, the issues I mentioned above didn't stop me enjoying what really was still quite a fun and action packed adventure. Sometimes Star Trek can be accused of being a little bit too slow and cerebral but anyone reading this novel would have to think otherwise. There were explosions, dangerous space walks, fights and deaths throughout which ensured the book was thoroughly entertaining. The only really negative element of the story was when the novel would jump to some of Trip's thoughts about his sister and her death in the Xindi attack. I just felt that it spoiled the flow of the book and didn't really add anything beyond what I had previously seen in the TV show or in the previous Enterprise novel "The Expanse".

In regards to the characterisation, I have to admit that I was a bit surprised to see the actions taken by Captain Archer in regards to obtaining the "co-operation" of a captive. I understand that he is under some severe pressure due to the threat to Earth, but it just didn't feel right to me, although in honesty it probably does tie in with the way Archer acted in Season 3 but I never really liked his characterisation then either. Other than this, I actually quite like the various characterisations throughout the novel and I loved the fact that Travis was a major character in the novel with some solid development as he has been forgotten many times in the past. The only down side is that once again a plot device is used to make sure that the main ensemble cast is reduced to a smaller number early on. It seems to be a much too common element of Star Trek stories to ensure that writers don't have to worry about dealing with all the characters and can concentrate on a few of the main characters and some of the minor ones.

My final comment is in regards to Reed's history in the city of Leicester which is mentioned in the story. I went to University in Leicester and just can't imagine it ever having a dock district as mentioned in the novel as the river Soar which flows through the city is quite small. Not really an issue in the overall story but it did make me laugh a little bit.

Overall, "Last Full Measure" was an enjoyable novel although as with "The Expanse" I think it suffers a little bit in that the overall story arc's finale is dealt with in the TV series and not in any novels. Martin & Mangels have done a good job capturing some of the various interactions between the characters and kept the story fun and fast paced. As a final note, there is also a little surprise in the framing story that hopefully points to some interesting developments in the novels to come and therefore I am now looking forward to reading the next re-launch novels.

Challenges Book Counts Towards:
Ebook Reading Challenge (The Eclectic Bookshelf)
Ebook Reading Challenge (Workaday Reads)