Book Review: ‘Avatar’ by S.D. Perry

March 15, 2022 at 5:46 am | Posted in Reviews, Sci-Fi, Star Trek | Leave a comment
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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Avatar, is a two part book series written by S.D. Perry and was released in May of 2001 by Pocket Books at Simon and Schuster. Because of the relatively short nature of the books, and given the fact of how tied-together they are, I am writing my review of both parts jointly. 

After the Season 7 finale of DS9, the tv show is over, and Pocket Books at Simon and Schuster has the perfect opportunity to take the characters and the story and run wild. They decided to choose S. D. Perry to lead off with this two parter series, and so far it is very good…but not stellar.

Book 1

What works in this book is the DS9 characters and plotlines. S.D. Perry absolutely nails Kira Nerys, Ro Laren, Bashir, Ezri Dax, Jake Sisko, and Quark. There is a reason she wrote several Star Trek novels, the majority of them for DS9, and this book shows why. Everything fits just right within the DS9 storyline. In fact, this truly does feel like the beginning of DS9 Season 8…just in book format. 

The weak aspect of this book is the Enterprise plotline. This stems mainly from the fact that Perry was tasked with introducing the character of Elias Vaughn into the universe. While Vaughn is a unique and interesting character, the Enterprise-E feels unnecessary in this book. Since this is a DS9 story and not considered a crossover, DS9 should have had the sole focus, whereas the Next Gen crew takes up roughly 1/3 of the book. I should state that this is not an inherently bad decision, just one I disagree with and wouldn’t have included.

The strength of S. D. Perry’s writing comes in her exploration of religion in the role of culture. She asks several questions about atheism vs organized religion and pure belief vs sight belief. Much of this is more vague and discussed abstractly in the book, but it has some great applications to real life. Just the right deeper themes that are needed in tie-in books.

There is a timeline that takes up nearly ten pages in the beginning of the book. If you know me, you know I love when books have timelines. As someone who watched the DS9 tv show only sporadically and not fully, this was helpful in filling in the gaps in my memory and knowledge. However, I think it could have been trimmed down a little bit, as it felt like I was reading a history book at times.

Perry does an excellent job of laying groundwork that pays off in future books. Ezri Dax takes command during a situation and she realizes her leadership abilities. This is MASSIVELY important later down the line, and I squealed when I read that part of the book. 

Book 2

S.D. Perry finishes this two-parter with some mixed emotions from the reader. Some of the character arcs and plotlines are well tied up and paid off, while others leave a bit more to be desired. Overall, it serves as a decent story in Star Trek literature.

Certain characters stand out in this installment, particularly Colonel Kira Nerys and Commander Elias Vaughn, both of whom have separate spiritual journeys that lead them together. The discourse surrounding faith, religion, and politics is certainly one of S.D. Perry’s best qualities, and it makes the book all the better for it. 

What was set up as Jake Sisko’s journey is largely abandoned in this book, as he shows up in the prologue and epilogue only. Perry and the whole team at Pocket Books was obviously looking ahead and thinking about the future of publishing, but they failed to properly handle this book’s ending.

This book is substantially shorter than its predecessor, and it shows. This book could have had roughly 50 pages more, devoted to more character development and to the Jake Sisko story, and this would have become a really good book and made the duology stronger. However, this book, while having some excellent moments, brings down the power of the duology as a whole.

The climax in this book pays off all of the major promises from book one (except Jake Sisko’s), which at least means that Perry did her job from a story structure. It wasn’t particularly thrilling, but rather felt like a par-for-the-course entry in the Star Trek literature.

By the way, the Ro Laren-Quark dynamic is hilarious and endlessly fascinating. I’ll leave it at that…

Overall, I thought that part one was a really well done book with lots of promises and well written character stories. I thought that part two was a decent attempt to pay off the major plotlines, but it left a little to be desired. Still, the duology works together and builds excitement and anticipation for future Deep Space Nine stories. Overall, I give this duology a 3.5 out of 5. Well done, but not fantastic.

Reviewed By: Jonathan Koan for Roqoo Depot.

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