Book Review: ‘Star Trek: Coda: Moments Asunder’ by Dayton Ward

October 5, 2021 at 6:07 am | Posted in Books, Reviews, Sci-Fi, Star Trek | Leave a comment

Star Trek: Coda: Moments Asunder is the first book in the Coda series, written by Dayton Ward and was released in September of 2021.

For 20 years, the Star Trek post-Nemesis universe was filled with hundreds of novels, each following an ever expanding continuity featuring characters and ships from Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and more! Many fans (myself included) latched onto these novels and if you asked them about Star Trek they would direct you first to the books, then to the television series. When Star Trek Picard was announced and released, many fans wondered what the state of the books would be. Would they simply reset everything and call it a day on the literary-verse as it was or would the show somehow fit the books? It turns out a third option was open where the books can now have their own chance where they will fit into the new continuity.

Enter: Dayton Ward, James Swallow, David Mack and the rest of the team at Gallery Books!

I must start out by applauding the whole team for including the “Previously” portion on the first few pages. I felt years of reading come back and I felt kind of nostalgic. It also refreshed my memory and actually informed me on a few of the books I hadn’t read yet. The information on this previously page will give you everything you need to know if you’re somewhat new to the franchise. This was a brilliant move to put this front and center in the book.

This book definitely starts out a big trilogy…but it opens somewhat small. Rather than jump back and forth with rapid fire scenes like David Mack’s Destiny trilogy or with the new Star Wars High Republic epic Light of the Jedi, Ward mainly focuses this book on the Enterprise crew. The crews and ships from Titan, Aventine, and more show up, but this really is a Enterprise-E book. There is also an inclusion of a long missed character which made me really excited.

There are definitely some parallels to the opening of the literary-verse with some of the characters included in this book. From what I understand, the big opening to the Nemesis universe came with the A Time to series in 2004 and this book REALLY references a subplot from those books (when you read the book, you’ll know what I mean). This not only serves as good connective tissue, but it means that the whole lit-verse kind of bookends itself.

It’s kind of hard to get into the characters and plot without discussing spoilers, but I’ll do my best. Picard, as always, was written great, and I felt that both he and Crusher had the best writing of the book. Their relationship is handled really well and he had some tough decisions in this book that I admired. At the same time, some of the Enterprise-E crew, who aren’t from the movies or shows, got some time to shine. T’ryssa Chen and Taurik were standouts for me. There were even more that I enjoyed reading, and Dayton Ward struck the nice balance that he needed to.

I had a feeling this would happen in this series, but you should know going in that no characters are safe. And if no characters are safe in this book, imagine how unsafe characters will be when David Mack takes the reins!

This still feels like a Dayton Ward novel. I’ve read about five of his novels now, and the word choice, the pacing, the action, the characters’ dialogue all felt like Dayton’s other novels. That’s not a surprise given that authors will have natural styles in all of their books. That being said, Ward’s style has always been a little bland to me. It seems to me that Ward is one of the authors who has written so many books simply because he has such a history and an understanding of the franchise that no one else really does. That is helpful in the continuity side of things. However, where James Swallow deals with intrigue, David Mack deals with deep moral themes, John Jackson Miller deals with broad themes, and Una McCormack deals with political themes, I can’t say that Ward deals with anything comparable. However, as mentioned earlier, Ward’s familiarity with the franchise and his mastery of the characters and feel of the story is why he is an invaluable resource to the Simon and Scheuster (Gallery) team. I think his recent job working on the continuity of Star Trek is one of the smartest moves that the Star Trek team could make.

There were many things I would have done differently with this book. Part of that stems from how I would handle the series as a whole, but some of it deals directly with Wards’ writing choices. However, this is still a very interesting book with a fantastic hook for the next book and with just the right references, tie-ins, and connections to not only the literary universe, but to the television episodes as well.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It was a fun read and I cannot wait for the next one. I give this book an 8.5 out of 10! Excellent work Dayton Ward (and team)!

Reviewed By: Jonathan Koan for Roqoo Depot.

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