Finished: Star Trek Vanguard: Summon the Thunder [SPOILERS]

It was pretty good. It had a bit more action in it than I remember Harbinger having, which wasn't a slouch itself. Quinn and Pennington weren't as annoying as they were in the first book, mostly because the latter didn't spend the entire book whining about his dead girlfriend. That's not to say that Harbinger was in any way an inferior book. David Mack had the difficult task of setting the stage, establishing characters, etc. for the rest of the series (with help from Dayton Ward and Kevin Dilmore, no doubt) while staging within a certain page length, so it stands to reason that he couldn't add as much action and space battles as Ward and Dilmore did in Summon the Thunder.

Plot-wise, Summon the Thunder focused on Starfleet's continuing efforts to unravel the Meta-Genome while also investigating the alien ruins uncovered at the end of Harbinger. Added to the mix are the Romulans in the form of a bird-of-prey, Bloodied Talon, commanded by Sarith. I liked the Romulan chapters because the running of a cloaked BoP reminded me of all those submarine movies and books, especially whenever the Bloodied Talon was in danger of being detected and the crew went into a "silent running" mode. On the flip side, I didn't like how their story ended, with Sarith destroying her ship after losing warp drive and on the verge of being detected by a Klingon battlecruiser. The impression I got from their final chapter was that the Bloodied Talon was going to go down in a blaze of glory, launching a surprise attack on the Klingon ship, but the epilogue and a quick check on Memory Beta proved me wrong. I actually imagined them disabling the enemy ship, then boarding it and stealing all of its anti-matter and warp drive components.

The Shedai Wanderer, the mysterious alien that's responsible for so much of the death and destruction in Summon the Thunder is so, so intriguing, especially their as of yet unexplained connection to the Tholians. This being not only kills Captain Zhao of the Endeavour (along with a number of other Starfleet personnel, including one very, very, very unfortunate Denobulan) and clearly destroys the ship, it also blows up an entire goddamn planet! You could also add the crew of the Bloodied Talon to that list, since the destruction of Palgrenax caused the Romulans to lose their warp drive. It even tried to add a second planet, Erilon, to the list only to be foiled by Starfleet Corps of Engineers.

Overall, I'd give the book a solid 9.

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