by Tony Daniel
The USS Enterprise is assigned to Vara Nebula to discover why science outpost Zeta Gibraltar is not answering Federation hailing signals. What they find is a deserted post, no life forms, and signs that indicate a violent firefight. Impossible as it seems, it appears that the members of the science team have been kidnapped by pirates who deal in the slave trade: pirates that are supposed to have been completely dispersed decades ago. The Enterprise immediately goes off in pursuit.. and find not only the pirates and their kidnapped scientists... but Mr. President George Washington as well. This is only the beginning of a strange, twisting adventure that brings Captain Kirk and his intrepid crew face-to-face with some of the heroes and villains from their past.
Savage Trade is one of the few Trek books to really surprise me: constantly moving, with plot twist after plot twist, it's one of the most fun of the books and definitely one of the closest to the feel of the original series. Daniel has done his research on the characters well and if the final act is a little less-than-original and if there are a few unnecessary scenes here and there, the book more than compensates in its cheer, pacing, and sheer reading enjoyment. Highly recommended.
Kirk, Sulu, and Chekov: A+
Spock, McCoy, and Scott: B+
Uhura: too little seen to judge
Book 3 in the Seasons of Love series, by Liwen Ho.
Librarian Chloe McAlister has almost gotten used to life with a cochlear implant, thanks to her best friend Dill Thomas, when life hands her another unforeseen twist: her longtime crush announces his engagement to someone else. On a whim, she signs up for a speed dating session and convinces Dill to go along with her, only to discover that Dill might actually be the man of her dreams after all. But he's met someone else. Is it too late for happily ever after?
Liwen Ho writes short, fun stories that are easily read during your lunch hour and she has the happy knack of writing characters that you like from line one. Chloe and Dill are a likeable pair who are so natural on page that you'd swear you know them in real life. Chloe's struggles with self-image after her cochlear implant feel realistic and it's refreshing to see a rom-com character deal with something so life-altering in a fun, positive way.
This is book three in the Seasons of Love series, and while each book is stand-alone, characters from previous books do crop up in in this one. Highly recommended.
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