Trek Culture Book Review: "Avatar" Book One And Two
The hardest and most rewarding thing about Deep Space 9 is that it is not episodic in nature. The stories often do not bear their full weight without being experienced in series and, like that, Avatar bears no weight without the entirety of the television run behind it. In other words, if you haven’t watched Deep Space 9 all the way to the end, this isn’t the book you’re looking for.
While excavating B’hala, the Bajoran holy city rediscovered with the help of Captain Sisko, prylar Istani Reyla discovers a long forgotten book of prophecy. The final prophecy in the book concerns the birth of the Avatar. All signs point to the major players in that prophecy being Kasidy Yates’ unborn child and Jake Sisko. Rayla brings the prophecy to DS9, but is murdered before she is able to show Kasidy.
Meanwhile, the Jem’Hadar have just attacked DS9, destroying the USS Aldebaran which was assigned to DS9 while it went through a major refit, and crippling the station itself.
Tensions mount externally with the threat of renewed war and internally when the book of prophecy that Istani Reyla had found is declared dangerous heresy, but not before it has been translated and shown to Kasidy Yates and transmitted over the Bajoran communications network to the entire planet.
The big picture plot is interesting and I would recommend the book on that alone, but the magic of Avatar is in the side-plots and character development.
Shar felt his chest constrict with unhappiness, and he did what he could to forget all of it, his family, home, what was expected of him. If he could not enjoy his work, there was not point to all of his struggling.
(Avatar: Book 2 Location 1404)
The introduction of Shar, an Andorian science officer, satisfies my desire to learn more about the different aliens in Star Trek.
"Why don’t you grow up," she retorted, "and try to see past yourself? I’m a joined Trill, and that’s not going to change, ever. Why can’t you see that all of me is Ezri, that I’m a whole being? That I don’t have to limit myself to some species-specific concept of individuality?”
(Avatar: Book One location 2709)
Ezri is still exploring what it means to be joined and has a moment with Julian that nearly crashes their relationship. For the record, I’m on Ezri’s side, Julian was over-reacting.
All I wanted was to come home…
And the agonizing truth was still that, unless she meant to run off and find another war, she had nowhere else to go.
(Avatar: Book One Location 2924)
Ro Laren shows us what being former-Maquis really means when she doesn’t have the advantage of being a bazillion lightyears from home with no choice but for everyone to find a way to get along.
These side-plots aren’t just B-plots, they’re fleshed out and as satisfying as the over-arching plot. …and the ones I’ve mentioned here are just a few. Colonel Kira Nerys, Nog, Jake, a Jem’Hadar, a stuffy old career Starfleet dude, and Quark all have great things going.
Before giving my verdict, I will mention the one little problem with this book that won’t leave me alone: The epilogue of Avatar Part 2 is one big “To Be Continued…” except that the next 6 episodes aren’t the followup. It teases the last remaining loose plot thread, which isn’t resolved until the book Rising Son (also by S.D. Perry). That loose thread is pretty big and I am annoyed that Rising Son isn’t Avatar Part 3, because this isn’t the complete story without it.
Should you read this book?
Yes, both books, back to back, and especially if you enjoy Bajoran religion and politics because they are center stage in the story.