I'm going to start off with the bad: I have big issues with the writing of this novel. Basically, every time I came to non-dialogue I was very nearly...moreI'm going to start off with the bad: I have big issues with the writing of this novel. Basically, every time I came to non-dialogue I was very nearly overcome with the desire to get a red pen out and edit the hell out this baby. Maybe it's more apparent listening to it than reading it, but Alan Dean Foster's writing felt over-explanatory, repetitious or just plain old "using fifty words where one would do". Not to mention the sheer amount of unnecessary exposition that just drags the story down (do we really need a monologue about voice control systems from a character that dies in the first minute of the film when it bears no relation to the main plot?) I found much of the prose irritating and maddening and if I had been reading a paperback, I might have just rage quit in the early chapters. Or succumbed to my red pen urges.
Too often, I felt I was counting down to the end of the novel because I don't need to have every little detail of a story I already know explained to me again in such a pedantic way.
The okay: I liked being able to see a little more of the world of Star Trek rebooted, I liked getting more of the stories and the characters. This included the expansion/rewriting of some scenes, insertion of new scenes, and catching details that weren't abundantly clear or merely subtext in the film. But it doesn't really add anything new or big to the story, especially if you've seen the deleted scenes.
The thing that I felt was most insightful to the story was Kirk's disciplinary hearing over the Kobayashi Maru, particularly the confrontation between Kirk and Spock. This seemed to be one of the scenes that was rewritten the most and it seems obvious that Spock was in the right and Kirk in the wrong. Though it begs the question: does the academy just throw cadets into stimulators/tests without explaining what they're being tested on? Surely, if the point of the Kobayashi Maru is to see how cadets react to a "no win scenario", then you should make it clear that the objective isn't to have a successful mission? But it seems it's framed as a pass/fail test on the basis of whether you save the crew of the Kobayashi Maru without hacking the test. I don't get it.
The best: Zachary Quinto's narration. As you'd expect from any decent actor, Quinto makes the story and characters come alive, giving each character their own unique voice. His take on Chekov isn't quite as adorable as Anton Yelchin's, but that's the worst offence he commits. Frankly, his narration is the only redeemable feature of the book.
But, unfortunately, it's not enough to keep me listening. Usually, I'm not too big on audiobooks and only really listen to them a long car journey. But I dread listening to more of this. I can't stand to put myself through more of that pedantic and tedious writing – especially when I can go and watch the movie, which is over in two hours, not eight, and has the fun visuals and pretty actors, even if they are obscured by too much lens flare.(less)
Despite this being an adventure story, I found it hard to get into and sometimes a little boring and slow. And, ugh, the casual racism was such a turn...moreDespite this being an adventure story, I found it hard to get into and sometimes a little boring and slow. And, ugh, the casual racism was such a turn-off. Despite all of that, I eventually got into it and managed to finish it, but I won't be picking up any more of Conan Doyle's books. (less)