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3.7 out of 5 stars
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on July 29, 2002
Star Trek: The Next Generation, Nightshade by Laurell K. Hamilton is a book where Worf and Troi shine and Captain Picard is more in the background as the Enterprise is called away on another mission.
I found the book to be captivating and mildly fascinating as a planetary war on Oriana, which has gone on for two hundred years, has finally come to a negotiation for a settlement. After the planet's biosphere has been devastated and the people are dying. Picard, Worf, and Troi are beamed down to Oriana, but soon find that the Enterprise is called away leaving them all alone to settle the conflict. After this set up, the book takes off and Picard is accused of murder and Worf is left in charge of the negotiations. Throughout the book we see the Worf/Troi relationship begin to flower bringing them closer to one another, but the overlying problem of planetary war looms and to avert a planet-wide disaster, Worf has to negotiae the peace between the two warring factions.
Worf has Troi to fall back on, but together they unravel the truth. This is a well told story with a narrative that flows and the character development between Worf and Troi is excellent. I enjoyed this story as the main thrust of the story fell on someone else other than Captain Picard; and the Enterprise was away on another mission, which left the characters to their own resources to solve this potential disaster.
If you like Worf and Troi this is the book for you as both characters begin to explore a relationship and problem solving together.
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on June 12, 2001
This book was interesting, but mostly a long, drawn-out cliché. You could basically just see what was going to happen before it did. I didn't really get a sense of the aliens' culture or themselves as people. Also, I found that the characterization of Talanne kept changing, which was rather odd. The captain was relegated to the background and didn't seem like himself either. What was good, though, was the way Worf and Troi had to work together to solve the mystery. I also enjoyed the way Troi felt emotions. That was descriptive and interesting. Another thing - the book was a bit on the dark side, what with torture, deformities, and death, but it really hit home in several parts - especially the nursery scene. And the numerous small errors got annoying - especially where two short sentences would read much smoother as one sentence or one long sentence would work much better as two. And the subplot? Well, you didn't even see how it tied in until the end, and even then it was contrived. Oh yeah, and why wouldn't Picard let Troi negotiate instead of Worf? That would have made much more sense, but not much of a story. Anyways, I never felt the sense of complete involvement in the story like I do with a great book. Only read this one if you want to see Worf and Troi working together and see what a story's like through their points of view.
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on May 13, 2004
If the reader is not familiar with Ms. Hamilton's "Anita Blake" series, and goes into this book expecting simply another Star Trek book by a random author, he or she will doubtless be at least mostly satisfied. The plot is above average for the genre, and if it does have a fairly common theme for Star Trek (and particularly Next Generation) novels (inhabitants of unenlightened planet are in danger of destroying their planet's ecosystem) it is a storyline that is handled fairly well here; the plot moves, and the characters seem recognizable. The writing is a bit sloppy, with a few too many commas where there should be either semicolons or periods, but not to a truly distracting extent, and the occasional misuse of a word ("breath" used as a verb, instead of "breathe", as in "give me room to breath"; "suppose" used instead of "supposed" as in "what were the powers suppose to be able to do?"; "use" instead of "used" as in "It's what our world use to be") is annoying, but again, not so frequent as to be a really terrible problem.
The real problem is that, if the reader is familiar with Ms. Hamilton's "Anita Blake" series, he or she comes to this book expecting something truly exceptional, and that isn't at all what he or she gets. This book was published only a year before "Guilty Pleasures", the first in the "Anita" series, but the quality here is decades behind the quality in that book. Some of the problem, admittedly, is that we are working with established characters here, none of which is Anita Blake, and much of the delight to be found in that series comes from the portrayal of that very delightful character. Perhaps Ms. Hamilton would do better if she wrote a novel set in the period before Tasha Yar died, and wrote from Lt. Yar's perspective, as she does from Anita's. The characters are similar enough that she might truly be able to bring Tasha to life. But in this story, none of the characters, established or new, has a tenth of the spark that one finds in Anita Blake. It's unsettling to think that someone who could create such a dynamic character is a one-trick pony. Hopefully, she's grown as a writer in the last 12 years.
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on September 21, 2003
"Nightshade" is one of the better early Star Trek The Next Generation novels! It is too bad that this author hasn't revisited the Star Trek genre since writing this particular novel. I found her writing to be quite fluid and with a great sense of style in her plot setup and execution. One of the more interesting aspects of this early STNG novel is the fact that she explored the personal dynamics between Worf and Troi, long before the actual series did.
The cover art for this particular novel is pretty much the standard fare for the earlier STNG novels in which a picture of the two primary characters for the novel are plastered on the cover.
The premise:
The planet Oriana has suffered through two hundred years of civil war and is now dying because of it. Finally realizing what they have wrought for themselves, the two warring factions seek peace at the negotiation tables and the Federation is asked to mediate. In comes Captain Picard and the Enterprise. Captain Picard, Lieutenant Worf and Counselor Troi beam down to the planet to begin the negotiations.
Just as Captain Picard and his team begin negotiations the Enterprise is called away on another urgent mission. Now alone on the planet, Captain Picard and his team must continue their negotiations for peace between the two warring factions but he is then accused of murder and Lieutenant Worf must continue the negotiations.
Worf and Troi now have to find a way of stopping the violence between the two warring factions to include those who do not wish for the negotiations to succeed and find a way of vindicating Captain Picard.
What follows from there is, as stated above, one of the better early STNG novels that I'd highly recommend adding to your Star Trek library. It would be nice to see this author make a revisit to this genre. {ssintrepid}
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on April 15, 1998
This book has preactically become the Bible for Worf/Troi fans! Some of us even underline special parts of it! This book has no mention at all of the Imzadi relationship, which I really appreciate, and it was published before the episodes that develop W/T were aired, so just think of what this writer could have done after the seventh season!
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on December 26, 1999
Worf and or Trai fans will like this novel that features both characters. Fairly typical STTNG premise and storyline.
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on March 22, 2004
I love Hamilton's Anita Blake series and rather like her Princess Meredith series. Both of these feature a smart, decisive, ruthless, round-heeled female protagonist, well-drawn (not to mention well-dressed) characters, slam-bang action, and tough moral choices, leavened with the protagonist's wry, self-deprecating humor. I bought Nightshade hoping that Hamilton would bring the same strengths to a Star Trek: The Next Generation novel; specifically, I expected Deanna would be a typical Hamilton heroine - protecting friends, threatening (or just killing) enemies, sizing up Worf with a gleam in her eye, spending way too much ink on describing clothes...
Silly me. Nightshade is a standard-issue Star Trek. Worf growls. Deanna senses stuff. Geordi/Beverly fix machines/creatures. Picard makes one uncharacteristically idiotic decision and then goes offstage. (You're Picard, Federation Ambassador charged with negotiating a peace treaty between warring factions on a dying planet. You've just been arrested and need to appoint a standin negotiator. Do you pick Deanna Troi (strengths: good at talking to people, can tell if someone is lying) or Worf (strengths: security, growling, hurting people)? Worf spends the rest of the book whining about what a rotten Ambassador he is. I can only agree.)
In sum... skip this one.
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