01 JanTitan: Synthesis 52

Star Trek: Titan: SynthesisWhile the last Star Trek: Titan disappointed me, I wanted to remain optimistic that the next book would be better. That said, when Star Trek: Titan: Synthesis by James Swallow came up in my TBR pile, I was a little apprehensive.

Trying to ignore my prejudice, I dove into this book.

The Titan discovers an interesting binary star system, that has the potential to have warp faring species. Deciding to investigate, they approach the area. Unfortunately this sector of space is riddled with spatial distortions similar to sandbars in a lake – they will stop you in your tracks if you don’t know where they are. Striking one of these sandbars, the Titan discovers a very badly damage spacecraft. The captain dispatches an away team to investigate and search for survivors. What they find is a highly sentient artificial intelligence called White-Blue. Following a misunderstanding with White-Blue’s rather xenophobic species The Sentry, the Titan falls in the middle of a war.

The storyline itself was interesting. Usually it’s humanoids that are xenophobic against each other, but what happens when it’s machines who hold the prejudice? It also involves a lot of introspection on the part of the Titan crew, trying to get past their own prejudices of AIs – particularly given the recent Borg war being fresh in their minds.

My troubles with this book is again the myriad characters that the reader has to keep track of. It’s not as bad as the last Titan book where you had characters show up for two pages and then you didn’t read about them again. But the main cast is so large I started to get them mixed up. At one point the author writes “The Trill said” and it took me a few moments to figure out just who the Trill was, because I had originally thought it was a different character not present in the scene. After discussing the book with a friend of mine, it seems that too many characters is a problem with the Titan series itself than simply the two books I’ve read. It’s unfortunate, but I suppose the minds behind this series were trying to make things more dynamic by showing not only the senior staff, but the everyday crew who do smaller tasks that are important to the ship.

My other problem with this book is that I often found that certain passages just droned on longer than I cared for. I want to say that it’s due to too much description, but I’m not entirely certain that’s too blame. I think it was more that things were mentioned that really could have been left out and the story could have been affective. I’m not somebody who likes to speed read or glance at certain passages, but I found myself willingly doing this while reading this book – I grew impatient with it at times.

Alternatively, there were also times when the storyline kept going forward that I just didn’t want to put the book down. But that said I would be reading through a great section, and then all of a sudden it was like my mind stepped in a tar puddle and the story came to a screeching halt.

I give this book three stars.

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