String Theory: EvolutionBy Jacqueline Bundy
Posted at April 18, 2006 - 4:06 PM GMT
Title: Star Trek: Voyager: String Theory Book Three, Evolution
Author: Heather Jarman
Release Date: March 2006
Format: Mass-Market Paperback
After helping the Monorhans escape to the Nacenes' Exosia, Kathryn Janeway lies near death in Voyager's sickbay and Harry Kim, Tom Paris and the Doctor are missing. These are just some of the plot lines that Heather Jarman inherits, and must ultimately resolve, in Evolution, the third and final novel of the Star Trek: Voyager trilogy String Theory.
When the String Theory trilogy began with Cohesion by Jeffrey Lang (July 2005) there were more questions than answers. By the end of the second novel Fusion, by Kirsten Beyer (November 2005) many of those questions had been answered but there was still plenty to be resolved. Evolution does bring the story to a satisfactory conclusion but getting there requires patience.
By this point in the story we know that the anomaly that is Monorhan space is a result of the actions of the Nacene, a.k.a. the Caretaker race. The Doctor has been pulled into Exosia, and Tom and Harry have been whisked away to the Continuum by Q. Each, in their own way, is trying to rectifying the consequences of Voyager's recent actions.
Meanwhile Chakotay is in command on Voyager, where the exhausted and demoralized crew is frantically trying to locate their missing crewmates. As you read about the ancient power struggle raging between the two factions of Nacene, those who tend the strings in Exosia and the Exiles, more detail gradually begins to emerge and the Ocampan connection finally becomes clear.
Jarman's knowledge of Voyager's characters and their history is obvious as you read Evolution and she tries hard to make the events unfolding provide a backdrop for the series last three seasons. For the most part she succeeds but at times the attempt is a bit of a stretch, particularly the effort to explain Janeway's sometimes erratic behavior in those final seasons.
There is so much exposition required to clarify exactly what's happening that the story bogs down at times. Jarman's verbose style, usually well suited to the story she is telling, is a bit much for such a complicated story moving toward its final climax. The story soon begins to feel a bit disjointed before coming back into focus again in the final pages. Ultimately Evolution suffers from trying to do too much.
Jacqueline Bundy reviews Star Trek books for the Trek Nation, writes monthly columns for the TrekWeb newsletter and the Star Trek Galactic News, and hosts the Yahoo Star Trek Books Group weekly chat.