Knowing how much I enjoy a good backstory, the Vulcan’s Soul series in the Star Trek universe was recommended to me. Exiles is the second book in the series and picks up pretty much right after Vulcan’s Soul: Exodus.
It’s the end of the Dominion War and the Federation is still reeling and recovering from those events. Enter the Watraii, a mysterious race that claims the Romulan Homeworld was once theirs and intends to take back their rightful planet.
The Federation has secretly sent help in the form of a specialized task force led by Captain Saavik and her husband, Ambassador Spock along with other familiar faces from both the original Star Trek series and the Next Generation. Together with the Klingons and Romulans, they intend to try and negotiate terms with the Watraii.
The Watraii are having none of it, though. They have kidnapped Admiral Chekov, and the task force traces them to their base in an attempt to rescue as well as make contact for negotiations. Also on the table is a mysterious relic, stolen from the Romulans, which they are desperate to have returned.
Between all of this, the book cuts back to the original history of the exodus of a group of Vulcans from their homeworld. It was a time of wars on the planet, and a group that touted peace found themselves looking for another planet they could live on. Unfortunately, that took much longer than expected, and cost a good many lives.
I picked up pretty quickly that this was the time the Romulans split off from the Vulcans with their common ancestor. How these supposedly peace-loving Vulcans became the Romulans we know today isn’t quite filled in, but there are a lot of pieces of the puzzle here. At times this part felt like it was dragging and I found I was pushing myself to get through to get to the “current” moments. There’s only so much that can happen when people are on a long and somewhat boring space journey, and there’s some political intrigue and space pirates to deal with, but this wasn’t the best part of the story.
The story in the current time also plodded along, but there was enough intrigue and furthering of events to make it more compelling. The interaction between Spock and Saavik is good as is the team that goes to the Watraii base to try to extract Chekov and the relic. It’s nice to see Uhura, Scotty, Chekov, and Spock working together again, plus the android Data is there.
Exiles is starting to bring these two stories together. The third novel is where everything will wrap up, so Exiles suffers a bit from being the middle book in the series. The characters are good and interesting, it’s just that the story has to get to a certain place and save enough for the third book. I think this is more what leads to the feeling of the story plodding at times.
Still, I think reading Exiles and the Vulcan’s Soul series is worth it for good history on the Vulcans and Romulans as well as some fun with series’ characters working together that we haven’t seen working together before. I’m looking forward to the last book in the series because I think it will be better paced and more compelling.
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