Star Trek Deep Space Nine: Soul Key by Olivia Woods was one of the bigger disappointments for me in a long time. Not only did I get suckered in by beautiful artwork that failed to be matched with beautiful writing, I found myself wondering if the author even knew Star Trek the way she should have.
I’m one of those horrible people who will pick up books based in a huge part due to cover artwork. What can I say, if it’s a well designed, attractive cover, I’m going to pick it up and see what the back says? I won’t pick up books solely on the artwork. I do have to be very interested in the book itself. I will be honest my gut was iffy on Soul Key. I picked it up a few different times but would put it back on the shelf for one reason or another.
I was surprised to see that this book picks up the strands from Warpath. For a change, I’m reading things in order. Woot! Well mini woot. It would have been more exciting if the book was better written.
I’m a DS9 junkie. It’s my favorite Trek by far. I got started on TNG (The Next Generation) but DS9 is what I fell in love and will cosplay. I love the depth of the characters. So I am tough on writers who do DS9 books. Don’t mess around with my favorite Trek.
I will have to say Olivia Woods had some great ideas and I loved how she pulled from the fact the Intendant was controlling Jem’Hadar from Warpath and used the Iliana Ghemor character introduced in the episode “Second Skin”. Plus I love how she used Ezri Dax for the most part. Not sure if Ezri would say easy-peasey so much but it was good character growth to see her captain with confidence and actually announce that she was thinking about relocating off of DS9.
Then the book quickly goes downhill. The Mirror Universe is tricky. Even trickier, using a fake Kira to replace the Intednant (Mirror Kira). The Intendant is a piece of work. She’s equal parts power hungry, selfish, bisexual, and manipulative. Not easy to replace and pretend to be without raising suspicions. Yet somehow the Iliana/Kira somehow does without raising suspicions despite acting nothing like the Intendant. Then having Smiley cry and give up Terok Nor when the impersonator calls his bluff had me crying out in disgust. It was just unbelievable. Yes Smiley has a heart but he wouldn’t give up the station or cry when he had his own weapons aimed at Ashalla; Terok Nor is too important of a property for the Rebellion.
But another big problem with the book was that it rushed things and overemphasized other things. I don’t’ think Sisko was manipulative at all for using Vaughn and Mirror Ghemor the way he did. There needed to be an Emissary that wasn’t Iliana. But the bigger picture though to me was the whole crossing of the universes. It was done messily. Especially when the Defiant showed up at just the right moment and same thing goes with the Mirror Defiant with a fleet of war ships. So very convenient to get rid of those pesky Klingons.
For as much as I hated the book and threw it around in disgust, I will have to say all is not lost on it. The ending wasn’t as bad as the middle of the book. Plus there is some starts to philosophical debates (which were done too in far too shallow of waters) and the growth of Ezri.
But this may have been one of my least favorite Trek books in a long time. This is one of the books that reminds me why I got picky with Trek writers. Cause when the mark gets missed, it gets missed in big ways.