In Ice Trap, Captain Kirk and his crew are dispatched to icebound Nordstral to investigate a mysterious outbreak of insanity only to quickly discover that there is much more going on than they first supposed. A team of research scientists have already disappeared - and even the otherwise friendly natives have no clue about their whereabouts. While Kirk and McCoy take on the medical mystery, Uhura and Chekov lead a team composed of Enterprise crew and untrustworthy outsiders in the frozen tundra to find the scientists. But with the planet undergoing massive instability, both teams risk never coming back alive.
LA Graf has a great sense of pacing and paints an impressive picture. The landscape is so barren and cold that I had to layer on extra sweaters just to get through some of the scenes. As it true with Star Trek books, the author (actually a pen name for two, possible three collaborators) gets most of the cast correct, but falls a little short on one. Chekov is so intense and rigidly capable in Ice Trap that he almost seems like a different character from the lovable TV version played by Walter Keonig. This is more than made up for by the attention paid to McCoy (whose childhood secret is revealed) and Uhura, who plays a meaty role in this outing.
Summary: Ice Trap is a great book filled with thrills and chills - sorry, had to do that - and feels just like one of the original Star Trek movies (by which I mean the even ones, not the odd). Highly recommended.
Character Ratings: Except for Chekov (who is an excellent character in this, but just didn't feel like the original), all As and Bs.
When a star ship disappears in the Taygeta V system, Captain Kirk enlists the help of a prominent, but tempermental musician and two Klingon warship to help him investigate the phenomenon. The anomaly may be linked to the semi aquatic creatures who live on Taygetian. But with the restless Klingons on one hand, human hunters decimating the Teygetians on the other, and an expert who may succumb to illness at any moment, Kirk might just run out of time...
This isn't the best in the Star Trek series, although the author has a good sense of the original characters, and their speech patterns are pretty spot one (see below for individual analysis). The new characters suffer from lack of depth, especially the villains, who employ every cliche short of twirling their mustaches. A bonus is that Uhura gets more screen time than usual: unfortunately, most it is spent mooning over the expert, a new character who is more irritating than fascinating.
Summary: Tears of the Singers is quick, fun, with a good pace, but rather silly with a heavy-handed moral about animal rights. Good when you need a book to fill an hour or so.
Character portrayals (author understood character, good voice, etc)
McCoy: B (Voice - B-)
(Sulu and Checkov were not in this enough for analysis)
"Moved me close to tears" is not something you would normally write about a Star Trek book, but A. C. Crispin's Yesterday's Son had me reaching for the tissues by the last page.
When Spock realizes that he left behind a son on the planet Sarpedion (see the 3rd season episode All Our Yesterdays, TOS), he uses the Guardion of Forever (see 1st season episodeThe City on the Edge of Forever, TOS ) to retrieve him. Only by the time they find the boy, Zar, he is 28, too old to be easily explained as Spock's son. As the newly-formed family struggles to bond, a Romulan attack threatens the Guardian - and the galaxy as the crew knows it.
This was A. C. Crispin's first novel and it is an impressive debut. Strong writing, good characterizations, and a heartbreaking family drama sets this short novel above the rest. Highly recommended.
Character ratings: All 'A's
Because what's the point of reading a really good book without telling everyone about it?