Keith R.A. DeCandido was born and raised in New York City to a family of librarians. He has written over two dozen novels, as well as short stories, nonfiction, eBooks, and comic books, most of them in various media universes, among them Star Trek, World of Warcraft, Starcraft, Marvel Comics, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Serenity, Resident Evil, Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda, Farscape, Xena, and Doctor Who. His original novel Dragon Precinct was published in 2004, and he's also edited several anthologies, among them the award-nominated Imaginings and two Star Trek anthologies. Keith is also a musician, having played percussion for the bands the Don't Quit Your Day Job Players, the Boogie Knights, and the Randy Bandits, as well as several solo acts. In what he laughingly calls his spare time, Keith follows the New York Yankees and practices kenshikai karate. He still lives in New York City with his girlfriend and two insane cats.
'A Singular Destiny', as mentioned in other reviews and the general description, is the follow-up to last year's 'Destiny' trilogy. The focus of the novel is on the Bacco administration on Earth and how the Federation (at large) is coping with the Borg invasion from the previous years' novels. The large scope of the novel - featuring characters from various series as well as new ones introduced in this novel, is its main weakness. After such a huge plot last year, I, as a reader, expected this novel to have more of a punch and impact. Yet, this novel felt slow-paced in some parts and as if too much was packed into one novel.
We're presented with the character of Sonek Pran whom I felt suffered from the same flaw as many of the new characters introduced in the novels who are mixing and interacting with established characters - he's written to be more 'common' and human, coming off as a bit annoying and obnoxious in an attempt to make him more relatable and contrasting in comparison to characters we're familiar with. We get a lot of his life story, and character development, in this novel. Frankly, there's so much on him and his mission that the rest of the novel suffers and feels disjointed and haphazardly pieced together. The Aventine and Captain Dax also are in the spotlight. Unlike their appearance in the 'Destiny' novels, they seem a bit flat and dull in this novel. Without much setup, it feels forced that the author (and powers that be) attempt to make the readers care and feel emotionally invested in the Aventine crew and Pran without much setup.
What keeps this novel afloat is the mystery that doesn't come together and get fleshed out until the final pages of the novel. While the path to this big revelation is pretty sedate and slow, the final conclusion is worth reading the novel. It's the consequences of the the 'Destiny' trilogy realized and revealed; and it definitely setups a change in the 'Star Trek' universe that makes future novels potentially very exciting and different.
In all, the novel as a whole was just average. I felt that DeCandido has written better novels and too much of the novel felt like filler and fluff rather than true substance until the final pages. I found my mind wondering and attention adrift until things began to piece together and be revealed in the last 70 or so pages.
I'm not a fan of Keith R.A. Decandido. There are many other Trek writers that I find much more enjoyable. If he had written the Destiny trilogy, I would have cut my losses and been done with the new written Trek universe. When I found out the first post-Destiny book was written by KRAD, I knew it would be a book that would irritate me with its badly-written dialogue and that he would pick some sort of character quirk and drive it into the ground by the end of the book, such as Rebecca Greenblatt's chin scratching and Nan Bacco's headaches.
What I didn't realize when I bought a Trek book was how little of the Trek world I knew or had an interest in would be involved. How many ships and crews do we know from TNG, Voyager and DS9? Not to mention the characters created in TNG and DS9's post-series relaunch novels, the new series of Titan books, the Klingon Empire IKS books? I get that the point of the first post-Destiny book had to get through to the reader the broad range and depth of the Federation-wide devastation and lay out the new political landscape, but this could have been done far more effectively with more well-known characters, in addition to the lesser-known ebook SCE characters and the Federation president and staff.
Maybe I'm not a very good fan because I can't make myself care about the Core of Engineers, or an aging banjo-playing Mary Sue professor from Mars.
The wrong road, to get to the right point.2009/2/8
After the over the top Borg/Destiny trilogy, I was half looking forwards to and half dreading the "galaxy altering" situation which I expected to even top a near omnipotent race even more powerful than the Borg. I was half anticipating because I wanted to see what they could dream up. I was half dreading because ST books can be quite, well, stupid sometimes.
The storyline is pretty simple. Former adviser is called back into service of the President of the Federation. As he goes about his mission, he notices a number of events that lead him to a unexpected discovery, which will affect both the Federation and the Klingons. Although anticlimatic (due to my expectations), I was also pleased because it was a more realistic scenario for the Star Trek universe.
The reason I wrote "The wrong road" in the review title is that I strongly disliked the Borg story arc. To me, this book and it's final revelations could have been released without it. There was no need to kill off Janeway, to write about supercubes which could absorb starships, or to have 7000 cubes destroy worlds. That was simply too far out and unnecessary.
The galaxy is a big place. There are so many unexplored worlds and powers that they could have achieved a similar situation without the Borg. In fact, they already did, with the Dominion War. And the end result in this book would have been just as relevant.
In any case, we are now at a point where the we can get back to normal....maybe. Only time will tell.
One of the worst Star Trek books ever, boring and disjointed2010/2/18
I don't often write reviews, but had to on this one. I'm not a major Trekkie, but there are a few series I like to read, and this book follows in those. I've liked those other series, this book however is incredibly disappointing.
The book is incredibly disjointed trying to tell every single story that happens, with over 100 characters. That might be okay, if the stories told were interesting or well written... they are not. The author is horrible, can't paint a picture with words, and takes themes which might be interesting and just makes them boring.
This book is not worth it, and the author should be ashamed he even wrote this into the Star Trek series.
Following the Destiny Trilogy2009/1/24
Star Trek: A Singular Destiny follows the fallout from the events in the Star Trek: Destiny trilogy. The devastation from the Borg attacks encompasses the entire Federation and its allies. And as the Federation and Klingon Empire are stretched to their limits with refugee aide efforts, some are joining forces to take advantage. Professor Sonek Pran is asked to become an attaché for the Federation President, after years of being ignored. While on assignment aboard the Aventine, Pran begins to unravel a plot of sabotage and subterfuge that could mean disaster for the Federation.
While a vast majority of the novel is political dealings and conversations, A Singular Destiny is extremely fascinating. And while there isn't a lot of action, the story is never slow.
Sonek Pran is an absorbing character, with a diverse background. As the central character in the story, he is the one to discover the great mystery and is integral in several negotiations. He is complex and is by far the most enjoyable new character to the Trek universe that I've read in a while.
Be sure to have read the Destiny trilogy before picking this one up. But make to pick this one up as well, since A Singular Destiny will be paving the way for big things to come in the Star Trek universe. I, for one, am extremely excited to see where it leads.