1st in a series


A stand-alone fantasy book but technically first in the Ile-Rien series.

Publication year: 1993, revised 2006
Format: print
Page count: 314
Publisher: Tor

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed Wells’ Murderbot novellas but this was her first book and so quite different in style. I bought it years ago.

This is a tale of betrayal, treason, and death. It’s set in a city reminiscent of 1600s France, rather than the usual Middle-Ages. But it has lots of magic. It also has very complex court with lots of people. It’s a lot of take in. The book has some echoes of the Three Musketeers but has a grimmer atmosphere. It also doesn’t have much humor.

Captain Thomas Boniface is the leader of the Queen’s Guard. Technically, his guard protects the current young Queen Falaise but in reality they’re in the service of the Dowager Queen Ravenna. Thomas is also Ravenna’s long-time ally and lover. Ravenna’s son Roland is the King and he’s in his early twenties. Roland’s dad was a terrible man and a weak King who terrorized his two children. As the result Roland hates his mom and trusts only one man: his cousin Denzil who is a cruel and ruthless manipulator.

The story starts with Thomas leading a group of his men to rescue Dr. Dubell, an elderly sorcerer. He and his group manage to break in and stumble through the magical traps and get Dubell away.

At the same time, a theater troupe gets a new member: Kade who is King Roland’s half-fae elder sister who has always resented her father’s treatment of her. Now, she’s sneaking to the palace. But during the troupe’s act, a golem attacks the court and Kade helps Thomas defeat the creature.

Clearly, the golem is the work of a powerful enemy. Unfortunately, the kingdom of Ile-Rien has lots of them. However, Thomas’ suspicions turn to Urbain Grandier, a rogue sorcerer. But Grandier is mostly likely working with someone or several people inside the court and Thomas has no idea whom he can trust.

Thomas is a solid main character. He clearly loves and trust Ravenna and vice versa. They’re old friends and despite the difference in their ranks, both can be truthful with each other. Neither trusts anyone else. He has served her for twenty years, so he’s older than is usual for most fantasy books, which was great. He clearly knows the court and it’s intrigues and is used to navigating them.

The other major POV character is Kade. When she was a child, Ravenna sent her away from court to a nunnery but she escaped quickly. Kade’s mother is fae and Kade has some fae powers from her. Kade has also studied a bit of human sorcery so she can use both. She’s also very angry woman. Angry at her father for his treatment of her and angry at Ravenna for not helping her. She makes a halfhearted effort to mend her relationship with Roland who clearly loaths her for leaving him alone with their father. She’s a wild card element; the other characters don’t know what to think of her.

Kade is also our window to Queen Falaise who is a timid woman, trying to please the people around her rather than having any power of her own.

Ravenna is really the star of the book: she’s the real leader of the country and has to work around all the male egos around her. In previous years, when Ile-Rien had to go to war, she was the one who led the war and her King stayed at home. We also got a couple of hints that she taught the servants and gentlewomen around her to be smart, ruthless, and survivors. Her biggest flaw seems to be that she can’t trust. Because if she had trusted the new Queen Falaise and taught her, they would’ve been unstoppable.

The fae come to the book pretty late but I really liked them.

However, I didn’t really connect with any of the characters and the romance didn’t work for me. This isn’t a quick read: there are so many characters and relationships that you really need to concentrate to read it.

The first book in the fantasy series Long Price Quartet.

Publication year: 2006
Format: Print
Page count: 331
Publisher: TOR

This is book is centered on political scheming. It doesn’t have adventure or fight scenes. Instead, it focuses on characters.

The story starts with a prologue which is set in a cold and cruel school for young boys. It’s also very necessary in order to understand some of the characters and the magic system.

Amat Kyaan is the senior overseer, an accountant of sorts, for one of the large trading houses in the city of Saraykeht. She’s an elderly woman who has dedicated her whole life to her career. When she realizes that her employer is going behind her back with one deal, she makes sure she knows what’s going on. That turns her life upside down.

Liat is Amat’s young apprentice. She’s just seventeen but has ambitions of rising to Amat’s position. Her lover Itani is a common laborer and Liat is worried that his low station will reflect poorly on her. So, when Amat gives Itani a chance to do a small favor for her (and Liat’s) employer, Liat makes sure Itani takes it.

Itani is, indeed, a laborer. He has also a secret and isn’t interested in rising to higher position in life, but wants to please Liat whom he loves.

Maati is a young man who has just come to the city. He’s the apprentice of the poet (the equivalent of magician in this world) and he has spent most of his life in a male-only school learning as much as he can. The court and the politics are all new to him.

Eventually, we also get the POV of Amat’s employer, Marchat Wilsin. Marchat isn’t a native of Saraykeht but a barbarian from the North. His superiors are forcing him to a scheme that makes him loose sleep at night.

All the characters are very deep and I found them interesting, especially Amat because there aren’t many older women in fantasy books and even fewer as POV characters. The culture where the story is set has been inspired by Asian cultures rather than the usual Western Middle-Ages. It’s also a culture based on indentured servitude and downright slavery.

The magic system is unique and can’t really be summed up quickly. Briefly, a poet (the magician) forces an artistic idea to a human form. Then the poet controls the resulting creature and does magic through it. This isn’t easy and many prospective poets fail (and die). The creature, called an andat, develops human feelings and thoughts.

The writing is beautiful, full of great images. It also explores ideas. However, the pacing is pretty slow at times.

The world-building was very interesting and I didn’t mind the slow plot too badly. But I really didn’t care for the love triangle or some of the other stuff that happened later. I guess it’s just too depressing to read right now.

Abraham is half of the writing team of James S. A. Corey who write the Expanse SF series. However, that style is a very different from this book.

The first book in the contemporary cozy mystery series Whispering Pines.

Publication year: 2017
Format: ebook
Page count at GoodReads: 284
Publisher: Brown Bag Books

This series is set in a very small and quirky town of Whispering Pines in Wisconsin.

Jayne O’Shea is twenty-six and a former homicide detective. She and her West Highland White Terrier Meeka have come to Whispering Pines because her grandmother passed away recently and she needs to make her Gran’s house ready because her parents want to sell it. However, she’s also looking for some peace and quiet after she quit the job she loved because of traumatic events and broke up with her fiance.

But when she arrives to her Gran’s huge house, it has been vandalized. Also, Meeka finds a dead body in the backyard. It’s the body of a young woman whom Jayne doesn’t know. She calls the local sheriff.

Jayne doesn’t want to get involved; she wants to relax and find a new direction for her life. But when the sheriff doesn’t seem at all interested in investigating the murder of the tourist, Jayne investigates with Meeka. The local people are a very strange set. Many of them loved Jayne’s Gran and are also welcoming to her, at least to her face. But many are also suspicious of outsiders because Whispering Pines is a very insular community. Many are practicing Wiccans who face ridicule and prejudices outside the town. Most are misfits who don’t fit any anywhere else.

Sheriff Brighton is slow to investigate an outsider’s death and his deputy Reed, who is also the sheriff’s nephew, is hostile to Jayne from the start. One man claims that he can see when death is approaching a person. Then there’s the local witch shoppe’s owner who seems to be the only person who really welcomes Jayne.

And then there’s Tripp, a young man who arrived to town a short while ago. He likes it there, but nobody wants to hire him. Jayne needs someone to clear out her Gran’s house and she enjoys his company, so she considers hiring him.

I enjoyed the writing style which is in the first person. Jayne makes short observations of every person she meets which was a good way to introduce them. The book has a large cast of characters but many of them felt distinct for me. I especially enjoyed the budding friendship between Jayne and Morgan, the witch shop owner.

Meeka is a former cadaver and drug dog but she has been trained to assist Jayne’s emotional problems. They go almost everywhere together. Jayne herself has a lot of problems. She feels that she can’t trust herself because of past decisions which turned out badly. Her mother is a business woman who disapproved of Jayne’s career and now is trying to control her.

The mystery is a twisty one. The ending was a bit abrupt and I couldn’t really buy the murderer’s motives. However, otherwise I thoroughly enjoyed the book and the quirky characters so I will continue with the series. While the murder is solved, the rest of the mysteries remain unresolved.

The first book in the Stan Lee’s Alliances superhero series.

Publication year: 2019
Format: Audio
Running time:11 hours 47 minutes
Narrator: Yara Shahidi

Nia is the loneliest girl in the world. She lives with her father in the middle of nowhere. Her father is the only person she’s ever seen. He schools her in a room where holograms can create anything. Nia wants to go out, to meet other people, and see other places. But he insists that the world outside is too dangerous and keeps her inside all the time. However, he allows her to have an internet connection and she has lots of internet friends on her social media accounts. But she doesn’t feel any real connection with them. So, she plans to escape.

Cameron Ackerson wants to be a YouTube star but his account has only 16 followers. So, he’s taking his boat right into the heart of a storm. But inside the storm, a lighting hits him. He survives and in the hospital he realizes that he has strange powers: he can connect with any computer without touching it.

Now, he’s famous as the lighting bolt survivor. He can also beat any game without really trying. But one day, he meets Nia, a girl who is just as good with computers as he is. Nia captivates him and he wants to spend more and more time with her.

Cameron’s father was a software engineer but he vanished years ago.

Juaquo is Cameron’s best friend. His mom died recently and he hasn’t been the same. When Cameron’s dad disappeared, Juaquo was there for Cameron, but Cameron hasn’t been able to do that same to Juaquo. Cameron feels guilty about it.

The story is told through multiple POV characters, mostly Nia and Cameron but also others. It’s told in present tense. The last third is much more action packed than the rest of the story.

I’m a Marvel fan so I was eager to get my hands on Stan Lee’s last creation. Unfortunately, it didn’t live up to my expectations. However, it was mostly an entertaining adventure but people who like YA romance would probably like it more.

This is a story of loneliness and trying to connect with others. It’s also about how internet supposedly brings us together but also divides us. The main characters are teenagers who are having their first crush and that takes over about half of the book. The bad guys include a mysterious government organization and an alien from another planet who takes over a human body.

I really enjoyed the narration. It fit the story very well. The audiobook has also music in the beginning of chapters and also to highlight the more dramatic moments.

A reprint of the first three Modesty Blaise comic strips.

Publisher: Titan
Original publication years: 1963-1964
Titan publication year: 2004

I’ve been reading Modesty Blaise since I was a teenager but I’ve never read the strips in publication order, just in the haphazard way I go them in Finnish editions. Here, most were published in the Agentti X9 comic book which had one MB comic and three others, usually Rip Kirby, Corrigan, and other secret agents. Eventually, Modesty got her own albums but even in them, the stories weren’t in chronological order. I also don’t have all of them, but I have some albums and a stack of Agentti X9 comics. Also, I still have a couple of full adventures which I cut out from Finnish newspapers.

The Titan album has the first three strips: “La Machine,” “The Long Lever”, and “Gabriel Set-Up”. It also seems to have the short “In the Beginning” strip which tells Modesty’s tragic backstory as an orphan refugee struggling to survive to adulthood and then her rise to leading the criminal organization the Network and then retiring.

Even the first comic has all the ingredients that I love: a terrible enemy who seems almost impossible to defeat, clever schemes from Modesty and Willie, and really high stakes. What is missing is the occasional whimsical humor which made some of the later comics really memorable for me. But from the start, Modesty’s moral code is clear: she hates it when people are used, she especially hates drugs and prostitution and even took down those criminal organizations when she was a crime boss. She’s fiercely loyal to her people and defends them with her life, if needs be. Willie’s her right hand man.

MB is a newspaper comic strip, which makes the form very restricted. It’s black and white, in three panels. O’Donnell, who created Modesty and wrote all her stories, was already an experienced strip writer when he came up with Modesty and it shows. The panels are clear (at least when the printing is of good quality) and no panel is wasted.

“La Machine” is an introduction to Modesty and her world. Sir Gerald Tarrant, who is the head of British intelligence, comes to Modesty asking for a favor: to take down a French-based ruthless and efficient murder ring called la Machine. Tarrant has information that he could’ve used to blackmail Modesty but instead he destroyed the evidence. Modesty always pays her debts. So, she and Willie cook up a scheme to put Willie as a target for la Machine. They stage a public fight and Modesty puts a murder contract out on Willie.

This was a very good beginning. It showcases all the things Modesty and Willie are known for: they’re extraordinary loyalty to and faith in each other, their cool heads when in danger, and their fighting skills, especially with martial arts and Willie’s extraordinary skill with knives.

In the “Long Lever” Tarrant has a job for Willie but Willie won’t take it unless Modesty agrees. When she finds out what it’s about, she wants in. Dr. Kossuth is a former Hungarian citizen who was put in a horrible refugee camp. He managed to escape and flee to US. Now, he’s been kidnapped presumably to take him back to Hungary. The CIA has a lead: he might be on a yacht owned by a millionaire who needs money. Modesty and Willie are pretending to be a shipwrecked couple and search the ship. If they find Kossuth, they’ll try to free him.

“The Gabriel Set-up” introduces a bit more eccentric villain although not as over the top as some of the later ones: Gabriel whom even his own men fear. Gabriel has been working of a long time and has a large organization. This time, his minions have set up a health spa. However, Gabriel’s doctors use hypnosis to uncover secrets from their customers which include British government officials and very rich individuals. Even Tarrant is hesitant to engage Gabriel but Modesty goes to the spa to investigate. It’s near US border in Canada. Gabriel’s scheme isn’t easy to find out and he’s a formidable enemy.

Meanwhile, Willie has been working as a lumber jack nearby and is dating the daughter of the timber lord. Marjorie is an explosive blonde who has grown quite of Willie. When Modesty appears, Marjorie is jealous but Modesty quickly explains to her that Modesty isn’t a competitor and that Willie’s not the sort to stay with one girl. This is the first comic where we see that both Modesty and Willie have other partners and aren’t going to stay with just one person. Neither of them makes any secret of it to anyone they’re dating.

Several of the strips use characters who have ESP-type powers. Here the enemy uses hypnosis and only when the victim has been put into a receptive state.

These were all enjoyable reads even if none of them are my very favorites. They’re full of action, very James Bond type adventure except that I like Modesty and Willie (and many of the side characters) far more.

An action/adventure novella set in Toronto in 1920s. The first in a series but can be read as a stand-alone.

Publication year: 2012
Format: ebook
Page count at GoodReads: 98

Colleen Garman is an clock maker and she also makes other mechanical gadgets. That’s pretty unusual for a young woman in 1920s and her boyfriend isn’t shy about expressing his distaste for her work. However, when Colleen gets a telegram which says that her uncle Roderick has died, she drops everything and hurries to Toronto where he lived and died. There she meets Roderick’s friend Jane who tells her that apparently uncle Roderick had lost his mind before he died. However, Colleen notices strange men who follow her and want to hurt her.

This story has some steampunk elements but is light on Lovecraftian horror. This was a definite plus for me because I’m not a horror reader. Instead, the story’s almost constant action adventure with chases, fights, and shootings. Colleen isn’t a trained fighter and must hold her own in a very surprising and demanding situations. She does it admiringly. Also, she faces a couple of hard choices.

I liked the characters but they weren’t really developed. In fact, we don’t really get to know much about them, just hints of what’s to come. Colleen is a pretty straight forward heroine, an ordinary person called to do extraordinary things. I was intrigued by the idea of Bureau of Investigations reporting directly to US president. They’re a secret organization investigating the cults who are trying to resurrect the elder gods. A great twist on the origins of FBI. However, it wasn’t explored further in this novella.<br

It’s not a deep. But it’s a lot of fun and very entertaining. Currently free on Amazon.

The first in a spy/adventure series.

Publication year: 1966
Format: Print
Page count: 238
Publisher: Corgi books

Mrs. Emily Pollifax is a sixty-year old widow with two grown children. She’s been a very proper wife and mother her whole life but now she’s grown weary of her boring life. After confessing to her doctor that she almost walked of the roof of a house, he recommends that she do something which she’s always wanted. She’s always wanted to be a spy. So, she travels to Langley, Virginia, and calmly tells the young man on duty that she wants to become a spy. The man is about to send her on her way when something unexpected happens.

Carstairs is one of the big shots in the CIA and he needs someone to play tourist in Mexico City. The job shouldn’t be dangerous; it’s just picking up a microfilm from a bookstore. But the person playing the tourist must be perfect. Accidentally, Carstairs meets Mrs. Pollifax, thinking that she’s an actual agent and realizes that she’s the perfect tourist. He gives her the job. She’s a bit disappointed at how easy it is, but accepts.

The next week, Mrs. Pollifax flies to Mexico City (for the first time in her life) and plays a tourist. She’s there for three weeks and at the end of it, she’s picks up the book, with the microfilm which she doesn’t know about. However, she goes to the store a week early and likes the owner a lot. On the appointed time, she visits the store again only to be met by a different man who offers her tea. She just starts to suspect that something’s wrong when she falls down, drugged. Mrs. Pollifax and another spy have been kidnapped and they’re taken to another country.

This is a rather an exciting and charming book. Pollifax is clearly out of her depth but does her best to adapt and do what must be done. She’s also a decent and kind person, someone rather, well, unexpected as a spy. I also loved that she’s old and so very far way from the stunningly beautiful, seductive female spy role, which seem the only one that women spies get to have today.

This is set during the height of Cold War with lots of spies on both sides. For most of the book, Mrs. P and the another spy are prisoners, which I didn’t expect. The writing style has a lot of humor.

Talk of communism as the enemy and of of Red China is quite dated, now, and also it doesn’t have any advanced gadgets. Both fit the book’s atmosphere very well.

The first book in the Eric Steele action/thriller series.

Publication year: 2018
Format: Audio
Running time: 9 hours 19 minutes
Narrator: R. C. Bray

Eric Steele is a former Special Forces soldier who has served US in many countries and wars. Now, he’s an Alpha – a soldier with a special mandate answerable only the US president. He usually works only with his handler, Demo. But when a nuclear missile is stolen from a military convoy, he must team up with Meg Harden, a former Army soldier and current CIA operative. Unknown to Steele, matters are very complicated at Washington: president Cole has terminal cancer and CIA’s director Robin Styles is ruthless in pursuing more power.

The book has five main POV characters: Steele, Meg, vice president Rockford who is a former soldier, Nate West who has stolen the missile, and CIA director Styles. A couple of minor characters also get a POV chapter. The first chapter is written from a minor character’s POV.

Steele is a loner, a patriot, and extremely capable. His enemies also know that he’s one of the best and try to eliminate him. Meg is also a loner but more because the men around her push her away. She’s very beautiful, very good with computers, and a fighter. She’s also attracted to Steele from the first. Rockford is very loyal to the president and is doing his best conceal Cole’s illness.

Nate West is a former Special Forces solider who has grown bitter because the government couldn’t prevent his family’s deaths. He enjoys torturing and killing people. He’s Steele’s former mentor and when Steele finds that out, he wants to take out West any way he can. Styles is also a very nasty enemy. She’s the first female CIA director so she’s under a lot of pressure. She knows how to manipulate people and is very ambitious. She even chose her girlfriend because she can manipulate her easily.

For the most part, this was a very fast-paced read with lots of action. The fight scenes are detailed and we got a lot of information about the various guns. The enemies are vicious and there are a couple of detailed torture scenes, as well.

I enjoyed most of the book but the torture scenes were a bit much for me. The narrator fit the book very well and did a great job.

The first book in a fantasy series. It’s a murder mystery but can be read as a stand-alone.

Publication year: 2019
Format: ebook
Page count at GoodReads: 306

This was a fascinating read. It’s set in a fantasy world where magic is taught and not an inborn talent. The world has also technology although it’s somewhat tied to the magic. Using magic is called cyphering. Women rule societies and men are considered too emotional and weak-willed to serve the state, even though that attitude is waning, so the world has reverse sexism. The characters aren’t human. I got the sense that they’re cat-like creatures. (I freely admit this could come from my inordinant fondness for C. J. Cherryh’s hani.) Their faces are muzzles and they have fur but also skin. But they behave mostly in human ways and have very human motivations. Otherwise, of course, it would be hard for us readers to understand them.

Jhee is a middle-aged woman who has been working as a magistrate, a justicar for years. Now, she’s been called to the capital and she’s taking her family with her. Shep is her primary husband, a former soldier, and they’ve been happily married for a long time. Just before they left, Jhee married two others, but more out of sense of duty than any passion. Both new spouses are young and she’s constantly thinking that she’ll get them better spouses, more appropriate for the youngsters’ tempers and ambitions, when they get to the capital. Mirrei’s mother was Jhee’s old friend and Jhee has some sense of duty toward her. Mirrei is a healer but her own health is fragile because she’s suffering from a disease which is becoming increasingly common. Kanto is a handsome young man and he’s interested in fashion and the arts. He’s also a musician and artist. He feels that Jhee favors the other spouses over him. Jhee is somewhat uncomfortable with this new arrangement: she tries to make time to her new spouses and not show too much fondness for Shep.

Their ship hits a coral reef and is wrecked. Fortunately, there’s an abbey nearby and the crew and Jhee’s family are welcomed there.

The abbey’s previous abbess, Saheli, died just a few days before. Apparently, she translated straight to a spiritual plane. Jhee is more distressed when she finds out that three prospectives, young male attendants, have also died: one fell during an earthquake, one died from a disease, and one apparently killed himself. Even though Jhee’s the area’s justiciar, she hasn’t heard about the deaths before. With the ship needing repairs, she starts to investigate.

All the regular staff in the abbey are women and many of them think men are beneath them. Saheli was the one exception so her death is starting to look increasingly suspicious to Jhee. Jhee enjoys reading, but the abbey’s archivist takes an immediate dislike to her. The current abbess, Pyrmo, is apparently a drunkard and soon Jhee suspects her of murder, too. With the locals whispering about the ghostly Mist Abbess, she has her hands full both with the investigation and trying to balance her new, and more complicated, family life.

The abbey is full of strange characters and the more we learn about them, the less spiritual they seem. Lady Bathseba is a retired vizier. She still lives in luxury in the abbey. She’s quite snobbish but seems to know a lot about what’s going on. Then there’s a poetess who pretends to be drunk so that she can snoop around. The others snub her. The abbey’s doctor is also a drunk and the others no longer trust her but go to the herbalist to get medicines. The cast of characters is large and the book would’ve benefited from a list.
Jhee is the major POV character with a couple of chapters from another character’s POVs. It’s not particularly fast-paced but has a solid mystery.

For the most part, I really enjoyed the story. Jhee and her spouses are interesting characters and I also enjoyed most of the supporting cast. The world-building was mostly good, too, without info dumps. However, the magic wasn’t explained much and sometimes I wanted more descriptions of places and people. Jhee’s spouses all have public names and private names. Shep, for example is Dawn Wolf publicly. But none of the other people, male or female, have names that mean something. So I didn’t get the name system. Also, the book could have done with another round of editing. But these are small concerns.

I loved the different culture and I’m definitely reading the next book.

The first ST:DS9 relaunch book.

Publication year: 2001
Format: Print
Page count: 284
Publisher: Pocket books

The book starts three months after the end of Star Trek: DS9’s last episode so it contains heavy spoilers for the final season. So does this review.

Three months after his father’s disappearance, Jake Sisko is down on Bajor, helping with an archaeological dig. One of the archaeologists, an elderly prylar, gives him an ancient book of prophecies which gives Jake not just hope that he’ll see his father again, but that he must go to the wormhole and bring his father back. However, he decides not to tell anyone about it in case the prophecy is wrong.

Back in DS9, Colonel Kira is in command. She sees a dream about Benjamin but is rudely awakened with the news of a murder on the station. It turns out that she knows the murder victim, an elderly prylar who took care of Kira when she was a child. The victim brought the prophecy to Jake, but the others don’t know that. The murder also died so the station security needs to find the motive for the murder and the murder’s identity.

Kira has been feeling low and this news depressed her even further. Also, the station’s newest security chief is agnostic Lieutenant Ro Laren whose abrasive manner drives almost everyone away and Kira doesn’t think Ro can solve the mystery. However, she leaves the crime to Ro and continues dealing with the everyday life on the station.

Nog and Ezri Dax are repairing the Defiant. The Dominion War left the star ship is such a bad shape that it’s still being updated to newer systems, much like the station itself. However, a Federation star ship is guarding the wormhole in case the Dominion will break the truce.

Suddenly, three Dominion warships emerge from the wormhole and attack. The warships seem to be packing more firepower than ever.

Meanwhile on the Badlands, Enterprise-E is looking for any remaining Jem’Hadar ships. Commander Elias Vaughan is advising captain Picard. Vaughan is an old soldier who is doubting the choices he’s made in his life. When the Enterprise finds an old cargo ship, something peaks Vaughan’s curiosity and he leads an away team to the ship.

This book is mostly about DS9, as is appropriate for the relaunch. Enterprise doesn’t appear until about half-way through.

Mostly, we follow the remaining DS9 people. Kira, Kasidy Yeats, Dr. Julian Bashier, Ezri Dax, Quark, and Nog, as well as few new characters, including Ro Laren. All of them are POV character. Most are handled fine. Kira is exhausted but stubbornly pushing forward while Quark is developing a crush on Ro. Perhaps not surprisingly, Ro is finding it hard to replace Odo and her past makes the Starfleet people uneasy around her, as well. Kasidy is mostly thinking about settling on Bajor and Nog is full of self-doubt and hatred toward the Dominion.

Unfortunately, I found the handling of Ezri and Julian excruciating. They’re a couple now but apparently a happy couple is too boring, so the writer (or editors?) concocted a strange rift between them. I mostly liked this but I found the book strangely introspective, which didn’t really gel with the visual TV-show.

The ending is a cliffhanger, so this is clearly the first book in a series.

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