Star Trek: Section 31: Cloak
Author: S.D. Perry
Published: July 2001
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars
They are the self-appointed protectors of the Federation. Amoral, shrouded in secrecy, answerable to no one, Section 31 is the mysterious covert operations division of Starfleet, a rogue shadow group committed to safeguarding the Federation at any cost. Once, in order to preserve the galaxy’s fragile balance of power, Captain James T. Kirk carried out a dangerous mission to capture a cloaking device from the Romulan Star Empire. Months later, while investigating a mysterious disaster aboard a Federation starship, Kirk discovers that the same technology he obtained for the sake of peace is being put to sinister purposes. What the crew of the “Starship Enterprise(TM)” uncovers will send shock waves through the quadrant, as Section 31 sets in motion a plan that could bring the major powers of the galaxy to their knees.
NO STOPPING THEM.
I actually had not heard of Section 31 until I watched Discovery. It’s really an interesting concept that Starfleet would have such an agency. Since Star Trek is all about ideals, it was definitely jarring and this series just added to the mystery. Cloak is the first book in the series and it’s a great introduction! Section 31 is barely mentioned, but Kirk taking the initiative and searching out questionable activity within the galaxy is pretty par for the course. The one thing that stuck out to me was small, considering the scope of the story, but I still liked that sometimes it’s the little things. Kirk gave Uhura an encrypted chip to try to translate and she got so frustrated by the encryption and the possibility of failure … I just loved her for it! She was that constant in the series that seemed to ground everybody and I liked seeing her human side.
Overall, this was an interesting book and a good introduction to the series. There’s definitely prep work to be done before reading it though. I went back and re-watched The Enterprise Incident and then the book made a lot more sense!
Today Kim brings you a Sunday Series Review of Star Trek: The Mirror Universe Trilogy by William Shatner.
Books in the Series:
Published: April 1, 1999
Retired and happily married, Kirk believes his adventuring days are over. But as he returns to Earth for the first time since his apparent death upon the Enterprise-B, events elsewhere in the galaxy set in motion a mystery that may provide Kirk with his greatest challenge yet.
Published: April 1, 2000
James T. Kirk returns to the mirror universe that was first seen in the original televised Star Trek, to engage in a battle with the cleverest and most dangerous foe he has ever encountered, his mirror universe duplicate.
Published: April 1, 2001
In the Mirror Universe the tyrannical Emperor Tiberius, once captain of the ISS Enterprise, had great success turning captured alien weaponry to his advantage. Until, that is, his failure to seize the tantalising advances of the ancient First Federation. Now, in the more peaceful universe of the United Federation of Planets, Tiberius sees his second chance. And a new ally will help him take it – his alter ego for whom he has nothing but contempt – Starfleet Captain James T. Kirk. Honorable, idealistic and decent, James T. Kirk is many things Tiberius is not. But he is also a man deeply in love with his wife – and Teilani is dying. To save her life, Kirk is prepared to compromise his ideals and enter into his most dangerous alliance yet.
Battling Captain Jean-Luc Picard and a new generation of Starfleet heroes, Kirk must guide Tiberius to a long-abandoned First Federation base which conceals a power so great it will enable Tiberius to conquer the mirror universe – and his own. But on that journey Kirk uncovers long-hidden secrets that raise the stakes far beyond the mere survival of family and friends. At the heart of their quest, something else is waiting: an object from a civilisation whose technology is far more advanced than any Kirk or Tiberius could hope to acquire, placed there for Kirk’s eyes only by mysterious aliens who appear to have influenced life within the galaxy over eons of time – a message from the Preservers…
Kim’s Rating of the Series: 3.5 stars
Kim’s Thoughts on the The Mirror Universe Trilogy:
I did write a separate review for Book 1, Spectre. This review is for the series as a whole. I won’t rehash what I’ve already said, I love Spectre so much. I was so excited to continue on with the series. My review for Spectre is here.
Unfortunately, Books 2 and 3 do not live up to the awesomeness of Book 1. I felt like we switched from Shatner to his ghost writers. Book 2, Dark Victory, felt like nothing more than a placeholder. It existed just to give details so we would get what was happening in Book 3. Teilani turned into a completely different person and Kirk went from maverick to unhinged. I was also completely out of my league with the science. Normally, I can keep up in Star Trek. I get the basics and pick up things as I go. I know that a cloaked vessel emits tachyon particles and that’s the best way to detect it … but I can’t really tell you why it does or what tachyon particles are. Dark Victory went to a more advanced level that I knew I’d never be able to reach. It felt like a struggle just to understand what was going on half the time.
Book 3, Preserver, got better, but I was still disappointed. The story line that was developing in Spectre was what I wanted to read. But by the end of Preserver, we were in a completely different quadrant and I’m still not sure how we got there. Preserver dealt more with history than with science so I felt a little better on my own turf, but I really didn’t like how it made me question literally everything I had seen and learned from Star Trek up to that point. And the ending just felt incomplete, like Kirk lost who he was along the way.
Overall, I was just dissatisfied. I wanted to enjoy it, and I did enjoy parts, but Shatner let me down and I mourn what this series could have been!!
Something a little different today: You guys know Kim has been reading lot of Star Trek lately, and in her review for Star Trek Discovery she went into not liking the new Star Trek movies by J.J. Abrams. Today, she explains her emotive thoughts on the new movies here.
Be prepared: She gets very passionate on her opinions: This video is over 25 minutes long!
**More Star Trek book reviews will be coming soon!