I will try not to spend too much time on this book here since I’m rather pissed right now. When “Warpath”, which was released in March 2006, ended it was quite clear in what direction the next book would go: the mirror universe and the whole story behind Iliana Ghemor. This book does at least the later, but leaves the first one open to the next books … and that’s my problem with “Fearful Symmetry” by Olivia Woods. The book doesn’t really progress the story. It answers basically all questions you could have had about Illiah, but the actual timeline progression is veeery minimal. I guess I couldn’t even spoil anything here even if I tried.
The book is split into two parts starting on each side of the paperback. One for events in the life of Kira Nerys and one for the history behind the character of Iliana Ghemor. The first side of the book (137 pages) tells some stories from Kira’s time during the Occupation that are relevant for the second part of the book, but, beyond that, doesn’t progress the timeline at all.
The other part about Iliana Ghemor describes how she became an agent of the Obsidian Order and tells the story of her life up to the end of the Dominion War, which also puts her into a rather special relationship with Skrain Dukat. So, if you’ve read “Warpath”, you will notice that there is still a whole between the end of this second part of the events taking place in “Warpath”.
My main grief with this book is that it doesn’t really progress the storyline, but just fills in some holes. This wouldn’t be a problem if it had been part of the Mirror Universe miniseries as it probably was first intended to be (based on some earlier cover-shots), but at least according to the final cover it isn’t. Some characters appearing to be a little bit out of … character doesn’t improve my impression of the book either. Here I especially mean Kira but also Vaughn and I’m not all that sure about Ro, either.
That said, the story itself isn’t boring and the writing style itself isn’t bad at all. On the other hand, the plot is just in basically all parts completely predictable (except for 2 events).
If you’re dying to get to know the Iliana Ghemor character and find out all about her motivation (or at least a big chunk of it), this book is definitely for you. This background info will probably come in handy in the books to come, but as Jeff Ayers over at trekweb.com wrote …
While Iliana Ghemor’s story is interesting and vital to what I predict is coming next, her story has bad timing. If we didn’t have two years between tales, it would have carried more resonance.
After two years, I expected to see a lot of focus on the mainline of the story, especially after the release of the first two books of the “Mirror Universe” mini-series. On this front I was heavily disappointed with the first side offering not all the much important (apart from about 3 paragraphs).
The next book, “The Soul Key” is again by Olivia Woods and I guess will continue the events of this book. I really hope the focus gets closer to the mainline, otherwise I’m quite sure that I will be disappointed again :-(