David Mack’s Star Trek: Picard – Firewall 5-Star Book Review

David Mack’s Star Trek: Picard – Firewall 5-Star Book Review

David Mack’s Star Trek: Picard – Firewall 5-Star Book Review gives a Spoiler-Free account of the new prequel in the Star Trek: Picard Series, and TFF is also simultaneously publishing an Author Interview here for the first time, as David Mack was kind enough to take the time to speak with R.J. Huneke about this brilliant novel.

At the heart of this gripping science-fiction story is identity.

What does it mean to be human? What does it mean to face rejection and prejudice because of one’s appearance?

How do we come to grips with the evolution of our personality, our self-understanding, and our self-reflection as the years roll on into adulthood?

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Not only is Star Trek: PicardFirewall a great Star Trek story, but it is a phenomenal work of fiction, in general – this is a classic.

Anyone can enjoy the venture into the thrilling world of Seven of Nine…even if you have never watched or read Star Trek.

I love the accessibility of David Mack’s Firewall, and though I am admittedly a big Star Trek fan, it is quickly apparent when reading this that anyone can enjoy the venture into the thrilling world of Seven of Nine at this tumultuous time in the character’s life, even if you have never watched or read any Star Trek.

Star Trek: Picard – Firewall is a powerful and moving queernormative coming-of-age story about Seven of Nine in the years leading up to her role in Picard (the mini-series).

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For Seven of Nine is not just searching to find her way as an independent adult, and a human, when she had her formative years taken away – along with many of her memories – by the alien cybernetic organisms known as the Borg, but she is also struggling to learn her identity as a bi-sexual woman and as a person who is prejudiced against for her appearance, in her visible remains of the Borg implants.

If you are not familiar with the TV series Star Trek: Voyager or Star Trek: Picard, Firewall brings the reader into the life of a character who was commandeered by a cyborg alien force as a child and who lost many of those years and even into early adulthood, because her mind was a part of a hive mind Collective.

Seven of Nine has had nearly all of her robotic elements – her implants – removed, but some on her face remain.

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And so many people dehumanize her, so much so that her application to join Starfleet is rejected.

Up to that point, her human identity was that of a Starfleet officer.

When this is denied, she seeks to escape earth and find a way to feel like an included member of human society, and a new way of life that suits the personality that is still forming within her.

The writing in this book is enthralling, from the world-building to the character development, and the memorable prose.

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To be human means to struggle to find a path in life, and so meanings found in Firewall’s coming-of-age storyline are very visceral and accessible.

You feel for these characters, especially Seven of Nine.

Firewall is a deeply personal and impactful book full of piercing themes.

Seven of Nine deals with PTSD, brutal anxiety and depression, and even feelings of neurodivergence.

There are keen metaphors in Firewall for the struggles of LGBTQ+ folks, especially for trans youth and trans people youth seeking identity.

Seven of Nine is an extraordinary person who deals with love and hate and creature comforts in equal measure, while striving to retain that sense of being a good person in familiar ways that we can all recognize within ourselves.

The Bookshop.org description of Star Trek: Picard – Firewall:

A thrilling prequel adventure based on the acclaimed TV series Star Trek: Picard! Two years after the USS Voyager’s return from the Delta Quadrant, Seven of Nine finds herself rejected for a position in Starfleet…and instead finds a new home with the interstellar rogue law enforcement corps known as the Fenris Rangers. The Rangers seem like an ideal fit for Seven–but to embrace this new destiny, she must leave behind all she’s ever known, and risk losing the most important thing in her life: her friendship with Admiral Kathryn Janeway. [bookshop.org]

Firewall debuted on February 27, 2024, so get your copies, Fictioneers!

The Forgotten Fiction Grade: YEA (read it!) I gave it 5/5 Stars!


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“David Mack’s Star Trek: Picard – Firewall 5-Star Book Review” Was Written By R.J. Huneke.

 

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An Unkindness of Magicians By Kat Howard Stands Apart

An Unkindness of Magicians By Kat Howard Stands Apart

An Unkindness of Magicians by Kat Howard stands apart, as the first book in The Unseen World series this thrilling journey to the shadowy heart of magic and the magicians who wield such powers in New York City is unparalleled.

The realm of the Unseen World reveals Manhattan’s dark, magical secrets.

But casting magic comes at a price.

There is a balance of power in their world and it is shifting, as the magic itself fades. The protagonist, Sydney, enters the Unseen World, and she is hell-bent on bringing it down.

What Kat Howard has done with An Unkindness of Magicians is extraordinary!

This speculative fiction thriller is so inventive and intriguing.

Howard’s characters are well-rounded, memorable, and all too real in their visceral struggles.

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The prose is enveloping in its unique style that is moving, impactful, and poetic, at just the right moments, as in the following passage:

She breathed in. Sydney was, all at once, an entire forest. She was root and leaf, dirt and sky. Green and spring were blood in her veins, air in her lungs. She was, between one heartbeat and the next, all of magic.

The world building soars to brilliant heights off of the foundation of the prose, as a vast realm of magic courses through the veins of the great city, and places like New York’s Central Park house hidden facets of the Unseen World that are wholly new and vivid for readers.

There are so many good lines in the book, but this one wrenched on my heartstrings:

It was a terrible thing, having hope again.” [Howard, Kat, An Unkindness of Magicians, Gallery/Saga, 2017, page 163]

Mild SPOILER Warning for An Unkindness of Magicians

Every two decades, sometimes a few years less, sometimes more, there is a Turning of Fate’s wheel, and in the Turning the magical houses enter a medieval-like tournament to vie for power, to establish themselves in the Unseen World, or to settle grudges with duels to the death.

The politics, the disinheritances, the murders, the humor, the conversations over drinks, and the plotting and manipulation carried out by a bevy of memorable characters creates an enthralling atmosphere, not unlike the dramatic woven plots in George R.R. Martin’s A Game Of Thrones.

The main character, Sydney, is unknown in the magicians’ circles when she arrives in the city.

But she applies for a job, to be a champion of a potential new magical house, and as she lifts cars in the middle of the Manhattan sky with no one – even those non-magical New Yorkers, the mundanes, in their own cars – the wiser, she wins the job.

In her first duel, she wields such immense power that by forcing all of the magicians present to dance, like puppets, everyone takes immediate note.

A target is planted firmly on her back.

Sydney has been let out of the House of Shadows, a hidden magical house that secretly fuels all of the magicians so that they can cast without paying the painful physical toll that comes with the use of magic.

The reality, Sydney, reveals is that infants are sacrificed by each house and those children are raised by Shadows, who cut into their bodies and their very shadows to withdraw magic to pay the toll for the Unseen World.

Warning! You may not be able to put An Unkindness of Magicians down!

Sydney’s contract with Shadows has nearly been completed, and she wants nothing more than to ruin the House of Shadows and to somehow stop the corrupt wielding of magic.

What she has to endure in her first time in the outside world, from newfound love to seeing snow for the first time, to learning who her family is and that they sacrificed her as a baby is deeply moving.

Readers become very invested in Sydney.

It seems like almost anything is possible in this magical world, but as Sydney comes to find out, the cost could be everything she has.

A Sleight Of Shadows, Book #2 in the Unseen World series, by Kat Howard has just come out on April 25, 2023 and is available now!

The Forgotten Fiction Grade: YEA (read it!)


Want To Buy A Book From A Local bookseller? Click Here!

 

An Unkindness of Magicians by Kat Howard stands apart” Was Written By R.J. Huneke.

An Unkindness of Magicians, kat howard, a sleight of shadows, unseen world series, fantasy, thriller

 

 

An Unkindness of Magicians, kat howard, a sleight of shadows, unseen world series, fantasy, thriller