Top critical review
Good, but not great
on June 30, 2000
Captain James T. Kirk has been a role model to me all my life. There are few characters that are as brave, noble, and human as he. When Kirk was killed off in ST: Generations, it was if a piece of me died as well. There is no reason, in my mind at least, that Kirk should have ever been killed. Kirk's final mission should have been left up to our own imaginations. And even if it was neccesary to kill him off on screen, why not do it in a more dramatic, meaningful way. Anyway, I am thankful that Bill Shatner has resurrected the character or Jim Kirk in The Return. I don't ever want him to permanently die in my mind, and this book brings him back to life. However, as a piece of literature, this work leaves much to be desired. There are quite a few plot problems with this book, but those can be forgiven. To me, the biggest problem in The Return is the character writing. Shatner knows Kirk, and Spock pretty well, but I feel that Picard, Data, and ESPECIALLY Riker get treated poorly. Also, much of the borg premise is unbelievable even for Star Trek. And my final critique deals with the writing itself. In a book about many defined characters, I think that more dialog would have been in order. Instead, there are long, and often cumbersome descriptions.
However, this is not, nor is it meant to be a candidate for best literature of the 20th century. What Mr. Shatner does succeed in doing is creating one of the most enjoyable Star Trek experiences that has been written in a long time. While certainly a little corny, and even over-the-top at some points, the book remains entertaining, and filled with suspense. Star Trek fans, and especially TOS fans will probably love this book, while non-trekkers won't get lured into the trek universe by this work.
In summation, I really enjoyed reading this book, despite a lot of problems with the plot and writing style. If you want amazing literature, read Hamlet, but if you want Star Trek the way it was meant to be, read this, or any of Mr. Shatner's other books. For the Star Trek fan, its 300+ pages of fun and nostalgia.