*3 Stars* (close to being 2.5)
What makes this book Star Trek, the philosophy surrounding the plot, is really good. The idea, the historical examples used, and the arguments given by many of the characters are thought provoking and really quite good. It's the rest of the plot that...doesn't.
Kirk and Spock are both really put through some hard times on this one. Kirk's role in this book is that of Job, offered up by Starfleet as the ultimate spokesperson for individuality and freedom. He's forced to face a trial, a mental tug of war between two groups claiming Mankind's next evolutionary step is Oneness-a collective consciousness that subsumes all thoughts of individuality, pride, curiosity, love, etc. Spock watches his friend's mental and physical health deteriorate in front of him as he tries to keep Kirk from falling into a pit from which there is no return. McCoy hovers around the fringes but delivers a couple wonderful dialogues concerning the idea of the book. The book characters range from plot made flesh to some kinda developed people. More about that later.
While not anything to write home about, the plot is not bad. It's the usual cliche of 1) ship in danger, 2) Kirk and/or Spock emotional or mentally compromised, 3) seems no way for our intrepid heroes to escape and...oh, look at that, everything turns out pretty fine and dandy. Yeah. The only good part is the whole discussion (held over burning lava no less) of oneness(individuality) and Oneness (collective consciousness). Basically, capitalism versus totalitarianism, etc. While done (and done and done and done and done...) in the series and the novels before, the threat is wearing a new mask and offers some very intriguing arguments. I like the book and it has three stars for the idea and the discussions about it, not the story or the characters.
Not bad. The pacing was good, and the book never really got boring. I was bored during scenes but that was because of the character talked about below. The author did have a good handle on her characters and clearly knew the series characters well.
Ok, here we need to talk about the character that nearly has more 'screen' time than Kirk or Spock. Sola Than is intricately woven in the story and is completely a Mary Sue. For those that don't know the phrase, a 'Mary Sue' is a character made up in fan fiction who has amazing or even superhuman powers, is essential to the plot, and who becomes extremely important or romantically involved with key fan favorite characters. Than fits all of these characteristics to a tee. Rather than be a character in her own right, she seems to serve little purpose than to fulfill the writer or a fan's dreams. It's made even worse by the fact that she had not one but two main characters "magically destined" to be with her. Not good, author. Not good.
Weak. Revolves way too much around the above character to really be that interesting.
I would say, if you like Star Trek, read it once. The discussions are good and the character development between Kirk and Spock is really neat. Just don't expect too much