Book Review: ‘Revenant’ by Alex White

December 29, 2021 at 6:21 am | Posted in Books, Reviews, Sci-Fi, Star Trek | Leave a comment
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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Revenant is a standalone novel by Alex White that takes place during the fourth season of DS9 and was released by Gallery Books in December of 2021.

My short review can be summed up in one sentence: If you like Jadzia Dax, or even just the character of Dax in general, then you’ll LOVE this book.

This was my first foray into a specifically Deep Space Nine book, and I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed it. I was afraid about breaking into books from this series, as DS9 is my least favorite of the Berman series and as a whole didn’t hold my attention. I picked up this book as part of my goal to read every new Star Trek novel and because it was a standalone DS9 story, which seemed like a better place to start than anything in the post-Nemesis continuity.

This book seemingly begins with a few chapters that appear to be run-of-the-mill for a tie-in book. Luckily, the blandness ends there, as Alex White takes the story and makes it completely into his own. 

One of the strengths of this book is the worldbuilding. A significant portion of this book takes place on Trill and deals with the Trills themselves. I’ve never been overly fond of Dax or the concept of Symbionts, and have only grudgingly accepted them as part of Star Trek lore. However, White was able to make them all seem fascinating and their history and mythology blended science fiction with fantasy and made me really invested in the people of Trill…a true rarity for a tie-in book!

Another strength of this book lies in its handling of Jadzia Dax. Jadzia is obviously her own person, but as the show and this book show, she has a lot of complexity, especially regarding Dax’s previous hosts. Curzon and Emony are the ones I’ve read the most about (except for Ezri who is Jadzia’s successor), and they are present, but the Dax to take center stage in this story (or should I say, backstory) is Joran. I knew nothing about Joran, so I was fascinated by what Alex White brought to the table.

Unfortunately, so many of the best parts of this book stem from moments that would be considered spoilers, so I’ll avoid them here. Suffice it to say that there were a number of moments that I thought were well executed and made me more interested in the story. I read this in only one day, partially because of the shortness of the story, partially because I had the time, and partially because it truly was an exciting read.

My largest problem with this book comes from the writing style White employs. There are several moments, particularly in the first third of the book, which made me bristle as I was reading entire paragraphs. Some of the descriptions felt a little cheesy and dare I say goofy. White has an absolute handle on the macro side of writing, and also gets dialogue and action, but really struggles here with his description (and I don’t blame Alex White for this, description is the hardest part of writing for me!). 

A small weakness I’ll give the book is its use of characters. The book is all about Jadzia, and rightfully so, but several other DS9 characters show up as well. Kira has a presence in the first half of the book while Worf and Bashir show up in the later half. I don’t know whether this was a directive or not, but I believe that Kira should have been the companion for the entirety of the book, and Bashir and Worf should not have been included. It feels like they were only included because the powers at be wanted to include more DS9 characters to give it more of a grounding towards casual fans. This is ironic coming from me, as Worf and Bashir are the two characters from DS9 that I really like! 

Despite those objections, I still think this book was very well done and tells a standalone story that needed to be told and truly adds a ton of weight to the series and to the genre. This book was created with a specific purpose in mind, and Alex White absolutely nailed it. I was fully prepared to not enjoy the book going in, and I was thoroughly wrong. 

If I can add one more praise to the book, Alex White paced this book perfectly. I’m usually saying that tie-in books need to be longer because they need more time to breathe. This book is only 300 pages, but White uses the economy of words well and no chapter in this book is without meaning and importance. There is no filler, resulting in a fast paced and intimate adventure. 

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. If a standalone DS9 book can have this kind of meaning, I am interested in how I’ll like reading the post-Nemesis DS9 books next year. Until then, this book gets a 4.5 out of 5. Great job Alex White!

Reviewed By: Jonathan Koan for Roqoo Depot.

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