In Web of the Titan the teen crew of the Galahad was faced off with an obstacle no one had thought to take into account: an alien presence. Though it was eventually ruled that what the “Cassini” (as the alien intelligence was dubbed) had been causing to happen–the heightened intelligence and physical prowess in Bon, the fluctuation in the Galahad‘s engine–were unintentional side effects of them trying to help fix what they viewed as problems, lingering questions remained.
Questions that bite the poor Council in the butt this time around.
Previously the problems the Council faced were of the “outside” nature. Though the rest of the crew had voiced various problems, seven months into the journey the crew seemed to be working well together. And then Merit starts his speechifying. Merit is kind of like a Glenn Beck; he has valid concerns and questions to the higher authorities, but he prefers to criticize and draw upon basic human fears to keep an audience’s attention.
I kind of understood where Merit was coming from; rumors being what they will, the Cassini sound like the heaven-sent miracle everyone was waiting for. As Merit said “…as we know [it], they’re in the business of fixing things.” Why wouldn’t they want to fix Bhaktul’s Disease if they had the power to? The rest of his actions, and insinuations however, rankled. He was like a vulture, or the snake in the Garden of Eden. He twisted everything around until no one trusted anyone.
Meanwhile unexplainable malfunctions in the heating system have been causing Gap endless frustrations as he tries everything under the (proverbial) sun to get it working again. Then, too, his feelings have begun to somersault again. He’s three months into a relationship with Hannah, but he can’t help but still feel the stirrings of something for Triana. When a major piece of machinery suddenly goes dead, Gap is left reeling and insecure.
Lita faces her first major medical undertaking since they boarded the ship seven months ago, and Bon has to face his own problems, both with what the Cassini did to him and what he’s going to do about Triana. Triana had many of the same problems she’s had in the last two books–uncertainty about her future with Bon and insecurities about her role as leader. To be truthful I’m a little tired of Triana constantly questioning herself, getting a pep talk in the form of a pre-recorded video from Dr. Zimmerman, and then realizing she can do this. Triana is a great leader, but if every time a crisis happens she begins to severely doubt herself, a time is going to come when she doesn’t find the solution. That time was almost this crisis with Merit.
The discussion about the Cassini was probably the most interesting to me. After a second encounter with them, the Council contemplates the exact nature of the Cassini’s help. And their belief about the solar system.
This book felt a lot more jam-packed than either of the two previous volumes. Between the discussion about the Cassini, Merit’s campaign, relationship dramas and the external threat of the Kuiper Belt, Testa seemed to be crowding the storyline a bit. The resolution to Merit was quick and mostly based on a bluff, and guesswork. Gap’s internal struggles reach an uncomfortable level, and he makes a decision I feel he is going to regret (several, actually); meanwhile Triana worries over Bon liking the connection to the Cassini too much (though I’m not certain where she came by this conclusion), and another crew member becomes special thanks to the Cassini’s involvement.
I feel rather bad for Galahad–on the one hand, Merit’s right, not even a year out and they’ve had three major crisis that nearly killed them all. On the other, these kids were not fully prepared, at all, for anything. Super smart? Yes. More mature than most teens they’re age? Without a doubt. Truly prepared for this mission? I’m starting to have my doubts.