Rise Like Lions by David Mack – review

My favourite part of the whole Star Trek television series (in its many incarnations) was the series of episodes that dealt with a “mirror universe” where up was down, good was evil and all the actors got to play different, and usually bad, versions of themselves. The original series episode that kicked it all off was interesting, but I really got engaged in it through the relevant Deep Space 9 and Enterprise episodes. This led me to read the various mirror universe novels that have been put out by the franchise in recent years, and for the most part enjoying them immensely. Rise Like Lions by David Mack is the most recent in that series.

The more recent novels have given some background regarding a “reformed” Spock and his attempts to take over of the Terran Empire and the planning he goes through to create something more like the Star Trek universe we know and love. There are (very faint) shades of Asimov’s Foundation series in the grand plan that Spock puts together to drive the old empire into the ground (including his own death) and then put events in motion to see a version of the Federation eventually arise out of the ashes (albeit over a couple of hundred years rather than the thousands of years in the Foundation universe). Rise Like Lions focuses on the end game, where all the threads come together.

From the TV series the impression is given that in this universe people are fundamentally bad – almost genetically pre-disposed towards evil instead of good. Interestingly, the books imply that that isn’t the case, but it is more a case of the cultures in the mirror universe being more martial – change the culture and you “fix” the universe. From a story writing perspective this makes sense – if everyone was intrinsically evil you wouldn’t really have anyone to feel sympathy for, which might make the narrative hard to sustain.

The book itself is solid and workman-like. There was a lot of ground being covered in a relatively short number of words and the book felt rushed as a result. Enjoyment of the novel certainly rested on the assumption that the reader had consumed some of the previous novels, especially The Sorrows of Empire (also by David Mack). There is some character development, particularly of Miles O’Brien, but not a lot. It ties a lot of threads together, and this should be the end of the mirror universe series (but it probably won’t be!).

Very enjoyable romp – add a star if you really like Star Trek.

I also reviewed this book on Goodreads. View all my reviews.

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This work by Mark Webb is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Australia License.

Author: mark

A writer of speculative fiction and all round good egg. Well, mostly good. OK, sometimes good.

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