Myriad Universes: "Echoes and Refractions" is different from the first volume, "Infinity's Prism". While the first may have had a rather light, typical-Trek vibe with somewhat happy endings, "Echoes and Refractions" is far more complex, deeper and outright dark. But as a reader and avid Trek fan, I appreciated this darker-outlook on the Trek universe. The whole concept of this series is to show what Trek and the characters, plots, shows, situations *could* have been, not what they are and what we're used to. I couldn't put the book down and thought as a whole it was far more ambitious and exciting than the first volume.
'The Chimes at Midnight' is an alternate take on the Original Series movie era. Yes, it's darker, but there are some awesome plot twist. I thought it started off a bit weak; reading like a simple rewriting of Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. Then it really picks up and goes in a direction that completely turns the Trek universe, the characters we're used to, on their heads. David Marcus, Saavik and the Andorian named Thelin (from the Animated series) take center stage. There were parts so intense and shocking that I found myself gripping the book and having to look away. The final pages left me breathless, making me wish the actual movies and producers had taken the chances Geoff Trowbridge took with this story.
'A Gutted World' was, by far, the best book of the entire "Myriad Universes" saga. It features cameos by a dozen or more characters across not just one series but all shows. The plot is basically a different take on the Dominion War and really had the emotion, creativity and spark to be a full-length novel. No, as you may think from the title, this isn't a dull story about Bajor and Kira - the story is so much more than that and saying more about the plot would spoil it. If you wanted to see Picard and the Enterprise have a more active role in the whole Dominion War situation, this is your story. If you wanted to see what Janeway would be doing had Voyager not ended up in the Delta Quadrant, buy this book just for this story. What made this story so exciting and nearly flawless was that it not only showed an alternate take on the Dominion War and how it impacted the Alpha Quadrant, but it managed to be one of the best crossover stories yet.
'Brave New World' was, in my opinion, the weakest story after the first two action-packed, thought provoking stories. It was okay, but it seemed even far fetched for this series. It's more of a 'The Next Generation' story featuring Data and Lore and another surprise guest or two. I felt not enough setup was given to this dramatically different universe and Enterprise we're reading about. Worse yet, I didn't buy the story at the end. Everything is far too easily solved, there's no depth to the characters, the conflict was weak. Picard seems very off, always smiling and chuckling as is Ro Laren. The end is overly cheesy and had me rolling my eyes. It was by far a let down after a majority of the book was so exciting and had a similar theme.
Check out this book. You will not be disappointed, I can almost assure you of that. These are, for the most part, some great stories that accomplish what this series was supposed to - showing a different take on the Star Trek universe and sparking our imagination with all the possible universes and plots that could have been but weren't. It's depressing at parts, yes, but it's compelling, breathtaking writing that's been absent from Trek in a long while. Get this book!