Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Triangle: Imzadi II

Star Trek: The Next Generation
Triangle: Imzadi II by Peter David
Published October 1999
Read February 6th 2019

Previous book (The Next Generation): #49: The Q Continuum, Book 3 of 3: Q-Strike
Next book (The Next Generation): Star Trek: Insurrection

Hardcover: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk

Mass-market paperback: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk
E-book (Kindle): Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk

Triangle: Imzadi II is also available as part of an omnibus, Imzadi Forever, along with the previous book, Imzadi.

Purchase: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk

Spoilers ahead for Triangle: Imzadi II

From the back cover:
lmzadi: to the people of the planet Betazed, including Counselor Deanna Troi of the Starship Enterprise it means "beloved" and denotes a special closeness that can never be truly broken. Or can it? Once William Riker was Deanna's imzadi, but now the ship's counselor has embarked on an unlikely romance with Lieutenant Commander Worf. At first glance, they cannot be more different, but over time they have discovered hidden reserves of courage and compassion within each other. Yet does Worf's future truly lie with Deanna, and whom shall Troi ultimately call "imzadi"?

My thoughts:

In the final season of Star Trek: The Next Generation, an unexpected romance took shape: the brief romantic relationship between Deanna Troi and Worf. The seeds of it had been planted much earlier; some would argue that as early as season 5, their shared responsibility for Worf's son, Alexander, put them on the path towards romance. However, while many felt that the relationship strained credibility, it seemed to have been completely ignored following the end of TNG. There is no mention of the relationship in Generations, or on Deep Space Nine after Worf joined the cast of that show at the beginning of its fourth season.

Worf and Troi's relationship, which developed at the end of TNG, is explored in this novel.

In this novel, Peter David chronicles the events that led to the end of that relationship. In many ways, Triangle is quite clever in how it fills in the gaps following the end of TNG going into Generations and beyond. The novel offers plausible reasons why the relationship ended and even adds more to the reasoning behind Worf's decision to hang out with the monks on Boreth following the destruction of the Enterprise-D before taking the assignment on Deep Space Nine. Peter David shows his usual deep knowledge of Star Trek canon and history with how well everything fits together.

That said, I did have a number of issues with this novel. There are many examples of Peter David's typical humor throughout the story, and most of them work quite well. However, there were a few instances where it seemed a little too "over the top" and took me out of the narrative somewhat. One of the reasons I enjoy Peter David's New Frontier series so much is because that set of characters lends itself better to that particular brand of humor. The TNG crew, however, are usually a little more "serious" than New Frontier, and at times the humor felt jarring.

Another small complaint is the use of the character of Sela. Perhaps it is because I have read too many novels with Sela as the villain, but I feel like her constantly having her plans thwarted would mean that she would fall out of favor in the Romulan Empire, but she keeps popping up, trying one more crazy plot to bring down the Federation or elevate the Romulans, and they never seem to work out. Her plan in this novel, in particular, seemed so convoluted to border on ludicrousness.

This leads to the conclusion of the novel, which employs Peter David's typical "crazy third act." Usually this works quite well, such as the craziness that wraps up his previous novels Q-Squared and even Imzadi. However, in this case, it fell a bit flat for me. At one point, Will Riker's transporter double, Thomas Riker, is masquerading as Will, which is certainly something we've seen before. However, we later see Will Riker masquerading as Tom, masquerading as Will, in a plot that is just way too over the top, but at the same time didn't give me the same sense of "fun" that the conclusions to Peter David's other novels have in the past.

The ending, with Will's rebuffing of Troi, was jarring. However, it kind of makes sense given that they don't get together until much later. But why would Troi put up with his idiocy?!?

Finally, I want to talk a bit about Troi. Throughout the novel, we get a love triangle between her, Worf, and Will. We learn a lot about Worf and Riker's feelings, and see them compete for Troi's affections. However, we never really get a good insight into how Deanna feels about how things are going. It strikes me as odd that we never really get a sense of her agency, or even her perspective on the plot. Additionally, at the end of the novel, she and Worf break up, ostensibly because the bond between Will and Deanna is so great, and Will has implored her to be with him. However, once the break-up happens and Deanna goes to Will, he suddenly tells her that they should wait because she is a "raw nerve" from her breakup with Worf. I gotta tell you, if I were Deanna, I would tell Will to take a long walk off a short pier! I realize that part of this is because at this point in Trek canon, Riker and Troi can't get together because that won't happen until Insurrection, but it is such a complete about-face at this point that it strains credibility that Deanna would ever even speak to him again!

Final thoughts:

Despite my above complaints, I didn't hate Triangle: Imzadi II. Like I previously mentioned, I feel that much of the reasoning behind the end of Worf and Troi's relationship is clever in how it fits into the timeline following Generations. However, there are enough small issues with how the story turns out (and the fact that we don't get a lot of perspective from Troi and the story instead feels like a Riker/Worf outing with Troi as the prize to be fought over) that I feel like I was left wanting more. And, while some of the humor and typical Peter David "craziness" is to be expected, there were some parts that took me a little too far out of the story. A good novel that could have been a great novel, but somewhat missed the mark, unfortunately.

More about Triangle: Imzadi II:

Also by Peter David:

My next read:

Next up is my review of Death in Winter, the first novel of the TNG post-Nemesis novels by Michael Jan Friedman.

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