Monday, August 27, 2012

Review: Spartacus, by TL Mancour

Spartacus (Star Trek: The Next Generation #20)Spartacus by T.L. Mancour
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I was a huge ST:TNG fan as a kid and teen, and I still love the series. I haven't read one of the novels in years, but I found this one for 50 cents at a thrift store and thought to give it a whirl. I can't recall if I read this one in high school or not, but I didn't remember it, if I did.

In this one, Picard and the crew, having just come through a long, rough storm, comes across a ship in need of repairs. The ship and its crew declares itself as a refugee ship, so all aide is rendered. The situation is made more complex when the strange crew's secrets are revealed, and a force comes in pursuit of the refugees. The destruction they were fleeing is revealed to be not as simple as they presented it.

If you are familiar with the series, you'll guess that this book has a lot of the same themes from the show, including the meaning of compassion and humanity, and the practical applications of the Prime Directive, and various humanistic ethics and positions. These things are pretty standard in any TNG piece. This one also has some interesting exploration of the meaning of freedom, and allusions to earth myth and history (which is also common to TNG). It also has relevance for discussions we hold today over the pros and cons of excessive leisure, entertainment and electronic conveniences, which was not something I had expected. I found this last theme to be quite fruitful.

The story itself is interesting enough, though the races encountered were not as interesting as some of the species in other Star Trek books and shows. We really don't learn a great deal about the Vemlans, but I frankly wasn't all that curious about them, anyway. They seemed quite stock in nature, to be honest.

However, all the favourite characters from the show are here, with very little Troi (a big plus for me), though the Guinan bits were few and felt tacked on. Some reviewers have called this book a "Data story," but he doesn't overwhelm the book, and it's more of a Picard/Data story, which suits me very well.

The worst thing I can say about the story is that it held very few surprises, but I'm not sure that's a major problem. Naturally, most of the Enterprise's stories end up happily, or at least skillfully resolved by the crack Starfleet crew, and this novel holds little surprise for anyone who's familiar with the series. (Many of the themes, issues, and events are quite similar to materials from the show, actually.)

The writing was less enjoyable. I recall an old Elmore Leonard quote, "When it sounds like writing, I rewrite it." Well, brother, did this book sound like writing! A lot of purple going on, with an excess of big words where simpler ones would do, and so forth. It made it slightly tough going, and almost put it down to 2 stars for me. (But the editing seemed fair, and the style doesn't stop me from recommending the book to those who enjoy TNG novels, so I'm going with 3. I did like it, and I found it entertaining.)

One odd thing that did keep me from putting it above 3 stars is a strange misogynistic twinge in the book; especially near the end, where a man working under a woman was likened to slavery, and the comparison went completely unchecked. Granted the actual woman in question was insufferable, but it still bugged me. Perhaps the editors did not expect women to read Star Trek novels?

Spartacus took me a long time to read; it was my "bus book," so it stayed in my backpack for about a month, and I only took it out while on public transit. It didn't grab my attention all that well from the get-go. However, once I got into it, it kept me entertained, and I plowed through the final 3/4 or half in a weekend. I might not have stuck with it early on if I wasn't already a ST fan, though, and I think Masks (#7) remains my favourite of the ST:TNG novels.

If you're a fan of Picard and Data, and the ethical ruminations this series was best at, you might enjoy this book, warts and all.

View all my reviews

No comments:

Questions? Comments?

Questions? Comments?
Request a Review PDF!

Labels

:p (2) #samplesunday (25) 12 Flavours (15) 1K a Day (3) 1NS (1) 1Place for Romance (1) 2010 in Review (2) A Christmas Carol (1) A Funny Thing Happened... (7) About Me (3) Academics (1) Ads (1) Advice (2) After Life (2) All I Want (13) All Romance Ebooks (2) Alphamales (1) Amanda Wood (3) Amazon (6) American History (1) Andre Jute (1) Andy Rane (1) Angst (1) Anniversaries (3) Announcements (50) Anthologies (9) Aretha Smith (1) Artists (1) Ashley Rae (1) Ashlynn Monroe (9) Author Blogs (2) Author Portrait (1) Authors (5) Authors Behaving Well (1) Autumn (1) Awards (2) b4e (1) Bats (2) Behind the Books (2) Betareaders (3) BethAnn Buehler (5) Birthdays (1) BL Morticia (2) Blair McDowell (1) Blog Hop (14) Blog Novel (1) blog stuff (45) Blog Tours (3) BlogTalkRadio (2) Blurbs (4) Bob Mayer (1) Book Recommendation (7) Book Reviews (11) Book Spotlights (1) Bookmarks (2) Books (5) Britain (1) Bubbly (15) Business (21) Busy (2) call for submissions (1) Canada (6) Canadian Writers (4) Carl J Franklin (1) Carla Caruso (1) Categories (1) Cerise DeLand (1) Change (1) Changeling Press (1) Character Interviews (2) Characters (1) Charity (11) Chats (6) Childhood (1) Children (1) Christmas (13) Christopher Craven (2) Clare Dargin (2) Classics (2) Coffee (1) Coffee Breaks (33) Coffee Corner Forum (1) Coffee Time Romance (4) Cold War (1) Comments Please (3) Computers (2) Contact Me (11) Contemporary (8) Contests (31) Conventions (1) CoolMain Press (3) Copyright (2) Coral Moore (2) Cormack's Luck (5) Cover Artists (2) Cover Contests (2) Covers (18) Craft (1) Creepy Tales (1) CTR (1) Current Affairs (1) Current Work (18) Dakota Franklin (1) Dana Michelle Burnett (1) Dana Taylor (1) Dark (1) Dark Fantasy Romance (1) Dark Romance (1) Dating (1) Deanna Wadsworth (2) Death (1) Debbie Macomber (2) Debra Webb (1) Decadent Publishing (21) Declan Conner (1) Desi Moon (1) Ebooks (6) Editing (13) editors (2) Education (3) End of an Era (1) Epic Fantasy (1) epublishers (11) ereaders (2) Erotic (29) Erotic Romance (3) erotica (3) Events (12) Excerpt Sundays (43) Excerpts (56) Experiment (2) FaceBook (6) Fade to Black (1) Fall 2010 Project (26) Family (2) Fan Sites (1) fanfiction (2) Fantasy (6) Features (7) Feedback Needed (5) Fill the Shelves (1) First Dates (1) Folklore and Mythology (2) Food (2) Forums (3) Free Fridays (38) Free Reads (2) Free Stuff (5) Freebies (1) Freelancing (1) friends (5) Fruitcake (1) Fun Facts (1) FYI (2) Gary Vanucci (1) Geek Hero (1) Gemma Coole (1) Genre (9) George Berger (1) Giveaways (12) Global (1) Goals (7) Good causes (4) Good for the Goose (29) Good Ideas (2) Good Times (3) GoodReads (10) Gracen Miller (1) Grammar (1) Great Ideas (1) Greetings (1) GTKY (8) Guest Blog (2) Guest Blogging (1) Guest Blogs (5) Guest Excerpts (6) Guest Posts (22) Guest Recipes (1) Guest Spots (6) Halloween (10) Harry Potter (1) HEA (2) Hiatus (8) Historical Romance (2) History (5) Holiday (26) holiday romance (22) Holiday Shorts (52) Holiday Showcase (1) Holidays (22) Hope (1) How Tos (4) HQ (2) Humour (3) In Flanders Fields (1) In the News (1) Indie (4) Ingrid Weaver (1) Innovation (1) inspirational romance (2) Internet (4) Interviews (61) Invitations (8) Invites (6) Ireland (2) Issues (1) Jackie M Smith (3) Jasmine Aherne (4) Jean Brashear (2) Jennifer Wilck (1) JERR (1) Jessica Coulter Smith (3) Jessica Subject (1) JL Oiler (4) Joanne Troppello (7) John Howard Griffin (1) John McCrae (1) Joyfully Reviewed (3) Just for Fun (1) Juvenile Fiction (2) Kathleen Ann Gallagher (2) KB Authors (1) Keep in Touch (2) Kidding Around (1) Kids (1) Kiki Howell (1) Kindle (3) Kindlegraph (1) Krista Ball (2) Labour Day (2) Laments (1) Lanie Barnes (1) LaVerne Thompson (1) Leanne Dyck (3) Leanore Elliott (3) Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy (3) Legal Issues (1) Legos (1) Lending (1) Leslie Soule (1) LGTBQI (4) Life (5) Like Magic (18) Lila Munro (5) Lindsay Marene Ordone (1) Links (20) Liquid Heat (2) Lisa Day (1) Lisa de Nikolits (1) Lists (1) Literacy (1) litfic (1) Love (1) m/m (1) magazine work (1) Mahalia Levey (1) Marketing (16) Marriage of Convenience (1) Maureen Betita (1) Meatless Mondays (18) Megaposts (1) Melissa Keir (2) Memberships (1) Memes (2) Memoir (1) Memories (3) Mentions (2) Merfolk (1) Michel Prince (2) Milestones (3) mission statement (2) Monetizing (1) Motherhood (7) Motivation (12) Movie Reviews (2) Movies (4) Muses (1) Music (1) Musings (1) Must Love Books (3) Mysteries (1) Nancy LaPonzina (1) NaNo 2011 (1) NaNo2011 (6) NaNo2012 (2) NaNoWriMo (30) NASCAR (1) Nathalie LeBlanc (1) Nathan Morissey (1) Nature (3) Nerd Power (1) New Releases (6) New to Me Authors (1) New Years (3) News (2) Newsletter (6) Nominations (1) Non Fiction (1) Non-Fiction (3) Non-Romance (10) Nova Scotia (1) Observations (7) Off Topic (2) Open Thursdays (12) Opinion (7) Paperback (10) Paranormal (22) Parenting (10) Patrica Yager Delagrange (1) Personal Saturdays (11) Pet Peeves (1) Pictures (5) Pink Petal Books (5) Piracy (2) Pirates (1) PK Morris (1) Plagiarism (1) PNR (3) Poetry (2) Politics (1) POV (1) PR (14) Press Releases (1) Print (1) Process (1) Profession (1) Progress (14) promo ops (1) Promos (31) Promotions (35) PSAs (1) publishers (2) Publishing (2) Questionable Decisions (1) Questions (11) Quotes (1) Random Thoughts (7) Rants (6) Rawiya (2) Reading (2) Real Life (30) Realm of Ashenclaw (1) Rebel Ink (43) Recipes (18) Recommended Blogs (1) Reflections (2) Release Celebration (34) Remembrance Day (2) Reminder (1) Reminders (3) Research (4) Resolutions (1) Retrospectives (1) Reviews (10) Rhiannon Ellis (1) RIP (1) Romance (8) Romance Fiction (2) Romantic Comedy (2) Romantic Literature (1) Romantic Suspense (1) RomFan Reviews (1) Ruth Madison (3) RWA (1) Sales (8) Samples (1) Sara York (1) Savings (1) Sci-fi (3) Seasonal (1) Secret Project (2) Self-Publishing (4) Series (3) Shadonna Richards (1) Sherlock Holmes (1) Shifters (2) Short Pieces (23) Show Cases (1) Show Me The Money (1) Sickness (2) Siobhan Kinkade (2) Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1) Six Sentence Sunday (6) Sizzling Hot Book Reviews (1) Sizzling PR (15) Social Justice (2) Social Media (1) Social Science (1) Speculative Fiction (1) SQUEE (3) Stacey Thompson Geer (4) Star Trek (2) Stephanie Draven (1) Stephanie Queen (1) storytelling (1) Strings Attached (32) Stuart Aken (1) Submissions (5) Summer 2011 Project (1) SuperRomance (1) Suzzana C Ryan (2) Swag (2) Taglines (1) TBR (1) Teachers (5) Teaching (4) Television (1) Textbook Romance (21) Thanksgiving (4) The Onion (1) The Romance Reviews (1) Thinking Out Loud (2) Thrillers (1) Thursday 13 (6) Titles (2) Topaz (1) Topical Tuesdays (20) Tot (1) Toys (1) Traditionals (1) Trailer (11) Translation (1) Tributes (1) TRR (3) TRS (2) Twitter (1) Twitter Pals (1) Tyhada's Bookshelf (1) University (2) Unwrapping Scrooge (40) Upcoming (28) Updates (10) Urgent (1) V-Day (18) Valentines Day (8) Vampires (2) Vera Jane Cook (1) Victorian Piece (2) Victoriana (2) Video (1) Vincent Price (1) Votes request (1) Waiting (1) Waking Kara (14) War (1) WB Yeats (1) Weather (2) Websites (3) welcome (1) Wellness (2) Wendy Smith (4) Western Romance (1) WHP (21) Wicked Nights (14) Winners (2) Winter 2011 Project (2) WIP (27) Women's Fiction (1) Wordless Wednesday (6) Words (1) Worthy Cause (1) Wounded Hero (1) Writing (19) Writing Tips (18) Writing Wednesdays (23) WWI (1) YA Paranormal (1) You Gotta Read (2) You Never Know (1) YouTube (3) Yule Be Mine (6) Zombies (1)