S. J.'s Reviews > Black Fire

Black Fire by Sonni Cooper
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Feb 22, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: sci-fi, mystery, star-trek-novels, whoops-i-got-you-again, media-tie-in
Recommended for: Star Trek fans, Spock fans, Romulan fans
Read from February 20 to 22, 2012 , read count: 1 (will read again)

*3.5 Stars*

*The Gush*
The first half of the book was...ehhhh. The second half was...AHHHHHH! That sums it up nicely. This book is a rather love/hate relationship for me, as you will see.

Characters: First let me make this clear, Spock is out of character because the plot forces him to be. However, within this OOC portrayal, the character is still very much the same. His reasons, though completely bizarre to the reader and his friends on the Enterprise, are always logical and often the only choice he can make in the circumstance. Kirk, while taking a back seat to his next two senior officers, spends most of the story looking at his relations with the ship and how they are not right with anyone but Scotty and, for longer, Spock by his side. Scotty, who has yet to truly stand out in any story I have read, is wonderfully complete in this. His whole character is here: technological miracle worker, hard-drinking Scot, able to get along with almost anybody, and a complete loyalty to any of the main Enterprise crew. McCoy gives as good as he gets and is really needed as we navigate the minefield that has become Spock and Kirk's friendship during the course of the story.

Plot: As stated before, the first half the book did not really grab me...at all. You get such promise, the book opens with the bridge of the Enterprise exploding, nearly killing Kirk and severely injuring several others. Spock and Scotty quickly realize it had to be sabotage and attempt to get Starfleet but no one seems to pay attention to them. The only logical thing for Spock to do is chase down the clues himself if no one else will. Taking Scotty with him, they head out into danger and disgrace. The story never really stops in the first half, indeed one could barely catch their breathe if not for the fact that so much is happening...that nothing really happens. This seems weird if you have never read a book like this but sometimes things can happen so fast and often that the reader cannot yet understand that the reader can become bored with it all. In fact, it is not until Spock and Scotty are returned to Federation space to face their disgrace-when the book finally takes a breather, that it becomes interesting. The unthinkable happens to Spock and he sets out on his own journey of logic and danger in ways the reader could not in their wildest dreams imagine. I won't spoil it but it is most...fascinating.

Writing:I have a deep love for any author that can write their way out of a corner without the use of deus ex machinas or 'hey there's this thing that I never mentioned before but...it all works out!' The worse the corner and the better the great escape by writing, the better I like the author. That being said, this came close to being nearly a deus ex or plot contrivance. A true fan of the original Series will probably catch on fairly quickly to the escape plan-which comes basically right from one particular episode. And perhaps that is what bothered me the most. Rather than writing themselves out of the admittedly rather hard box they put themselves in, they simply reused something from the same source. It's good, it works, and while nearly hidden so well as to be nonexistent, the clues are there for the reader in hindsight. That is why I've labeled it a mystery though it would take a Holmes or Poirot to find the clues. That why I gave this book 3.5, the writers came close but they choice didn't give them the extra half point.

*The Negative*
A lot of my problems with this book are touched on above. The pacing is kinda bad, particularly at first and the ending is discussed right above this. I guess the big problem I have is that for all the build up of the 'exciting' first half and the way more truly exciting second half just did not pay out for me. You can't help but feel let down if the pay off does not live up to the build up.

*Summary*
Read. It's worth a once over. If you love the character of Spock, you will want to read this. If you like to read about the Romulans a lot, this is one for you. Definitely not the worse in the course of Star Trek novels, but not the best either.
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