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Summary

An all-original novel based upon the explosive new series on CBS All Access!

Aboard the Starship Shenzhou, Lieutenant Michael Burnham, a human woman raised and educated among Vulcans, is promoted to acting first officer. But if she wants to keep the job, she must prove to Captain Philippa Georgiou that she deserves to have it.

She gets her chance when the Shenzhou must protect a Federation colony that is under attack by an ancient alien vessel that has surfaced from the deepest fathoms of the planet's dark, uncharted sea.

As the menace from this mysterious vessel grows stronger, Starfleet declares the colony expendable in the name of halting the threat. To save thousands of innocent lives, Burnham must infiltrate the alien ship. But to do so, she needs to face the truth of her troubled past, and seek the aid of a man she has tried to avoid her entire life - until now.

©2017 David Mack (P)2017 Simon and Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved.

What listeners say about Star Trek: Discovery: Desperate Hours

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

essential prequel to the new series

Desperate Hours main story arc is a traditional Trek story that would fit in to any of the series that have come before. It's an enjoyable alien story which also fills out some interesting background in to Starfleet and the Federation at the time of Discovery.

However the main reason to read this book is for the backstory it unlocks for Burnham and Saru. This helps us to understand the motivations of the characters on screen in a way that the main show will never have time to explore.

Essential reading/listening for anyone who is enjoying Star Trek Discovery. Well done David Mack.

4 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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3 minute story told in forever...

I like star trek but this was tedious.
it went on and on and on, oh and on and on well I'm sure you get the general idea.

5 people found this helpful

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Dissatisfied and disappointed

This was a difficult book for me to listen too. In part to the very stoic reading of the narrator but mostly down to the story. This is the first David Mack story I've listened to and it will likely be my last. I feel that he did not capture the true essence of the characters as depicted by the television series. There was too much questioning and second guessing of authority on both ships. Pike and Georgiou came across as petulant children rather than the strong characters shown in TV. The rest of the cast seemed to whinge and moan. I did not feel the truth of characters like Burnham, Spock or Saru. I also felt like I was having a lot of things explained in a condescending manner, usually through the questioning of authority alluded to earlier. If this had been the first mission and everyone was green I could perhaps forgive it but that wasn't the case. Characters should have been allowed to do their jobs without having to show the two captains their working out, it made it feel as if neither captain trusted their crew. Then the seemingly endless puzzles and hoops and the cheat on the end puzzle, I felt that it should have been done without the psychic element. Their relationship, Spock and Burnham, also did not seem genuine and I really struggled to believe it. The timed trap also seemed like the writer was trying too hard. The really good plot element of a colony breaking away from the Federation and the politics and conflict there would have been excellent and probably would stand up on its own merit but sadly it just seemed like the author forgot about them and again I felt cheated with their ending.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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the story struggles

the story struggles with too many inconsistencies with the characters portrayed in the show, CPT Pike is largely unrecognisable. it's obvious that the writer was handed a mash of ideas and told to put them into some sort of order.
the performance is very one note. very little inflection with the different character. perfect for leaving on to go to sleep to, but unengaging for the majority.
the ending though is mostly ok, the A plot wraps up nicely, the b plot suddenly ends without much fanfare.
too many ideas, poorly executed. it's not the writers fault, I suspect he was told what he had to feature in the book.

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Save your credits, there’s better out there

First off let me start by saying David Mack is not a bad writer but, yep you knew there would be one, Star Trek: Discovery: Desperate Hours is flailing car crash of a story. From characterisations that seem completely out of whack to the characters we have grown to know through the show to an over reliance on contrived plot elements all topped off with narration that sounds more akin to a bad 90’s infomercial voiceover.

I appreciate that this was the first Discovery original novel but it really does feel like nobody provided the author with even the briefest of character bios to work from and the whole thing feels disjointed because of it. Save your credits and your time and just move on to other books in the series, this one unfortunately will leave you very much wanting.

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Twisted canon, but great tale

If you're a Discovery fan, there are a number of breaches from canon, but hey past that you have a great Starfleet tale - the honour, the rights, the Adventure!

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not the best

this had potential but took too long to come to any thing that gripped my attention

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Discovery comes to life in print.

A really enjoyable story by David Mack. The balance between character development and action is well written.

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predictable response to an impossible problem

How to connect discovery to the original series? You can't adequately. The fast and loose approach to tech and other features like how mind melds work mean that the twain should never meet. But David Mack has been tasked to do it and he sorta did. The story is rather uninteresting... and the following could be considered a spoiler if there were much to spoil....can Spock and Burnham solve puzzles to save the day... can you guess? can you? What's that? You can guess? Yeah me too.

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A good start

Enjoyed it, it felt like an extended episode of the series. Nothing fantastic but the plot rattles along.


Audio narration was good

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  • Rick
  • 13-11-17

Could Have Been Great

This book gives some great back-story for the characters in Star Trek: Discovery, but could have benefitted from some prodigious editing. The beginning and end are fast paced and interesting, but the book really bogs down in the middle. The author also seems to forget that we know that the characters in mortal danger cannot die, since this is a prequel, and spends too much time focused on their peril. There is also a sub-plot involving the planetary governor that could have been totally excised without harming the story at all. The performance by Susan Eisenberg is adequate, but she brings no life to the characters, unlike most other readers I've heard. She simply reads the book. If this were either not a Star Trek story, or at the least not a prequel, it would have held up better, but as it is if you are a fan of Discovery, and want to know more about Burnham, I recommend this. If not, skip it.

13 people found this helpful

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  • Chris
  • 16-10-17

A new chapter for Trek books

I like that there is a bit more variety in modern Trek audiobooks now. Overall, the novel does a good job at exploring more of the backstory of the characters leading up to the new series. There's no real spoilers here, but some of the material are covered in the episodes that have been released so far. David Mack has done a good job as always and this novel gives us insight into the characters and how the show fits into the overall Canon.

12 people found this helpful

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  • ArgyleTrekkie
  • 29-09-17

Awesome Character Background Info!

After watching the first two episodes of Star Trek: Discovery I really wanted to have more information on the lead character Michael Burnham. This book exceeded all expectations on offering just that.

Now I am looking forward to the third episode of Star Trek: Discovery with a much better understanding of who Michael Burnham is. Also, I would be remiss if I didn't mention that you get a lot more character understanding the rest of the Walker Class starship crew commanded by Captain Philippa Georgiou as well. In addition, another Federation starship joins in on this mission, which adds a nice depth of additional characters, some you may be already pretty intimate with if you have watched The Original Series or read/listened to any of the TOS novels.

I thought the book had lots of character depth, great pacing and a wonderful action packed sci fi story.

As for the audio version: I enjoyed listening to Susan Eiseberg perform this novel. The first chapter I had to adjust to her voice (the more recent Trek books have been done by a different male pretty consistently) and after that, I was sold. She did a lovely job with her performance of this lovely Trek story.

7 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • John Lilly
  • 14-10-17

Good book

Good book. Well written. Explains a decent amount of the apparent retcons and contradictions. Also gives a reasonable amount of character background for the show.

It lacks the new Star Wars production quality as an audio book. The book is clearly read in a pleasant tone and easy to understand. But it’s just a person reading the book. Very little goes into interpreting the emotion and quality of each character.

6 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Markus Zimmerman
  • 22-11-17

Feels like it was read by a Vulcan

I couldn't believe the lack of emotion in the narration. Intense interactions felt blown over and it seemed like the narrator didn't even care to put anything into it.

The story itself was OK, but not great. It definitely didn't feel Star Trek. More a generic sci-fi with a Trek skin.

I haven't seen Discovery nor do I have an opinion on the show, but the book is definitely a miss.

5 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 11-01-18

Had to force my way through it

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

The story was not nearly as engaging as I had hoped. Could be an age factor. I grew up on sci fi and fantasy, but this just couldn't hold my interest. I listened to half of it on a trip, and it was a while before I forced myself to finish it during commutes to/from work.

What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

The narrator really had a tough time it seemed with the male voices. This is the first audio book I've listened to where I am familiar with the characters and actors' voices outside of the book itself. I found her reading of Spock and other male voices to be a distraction. Had to imaging the voices of the actors whenever she did them. I probably would not have cared so much if I had no predisposition to how the voices should sound.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Boredom.

4 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Brendan
  • 19-11-17

Writing solid, but details could be better

As a long time trek fan I have a high standard for details. There are a few times in the story where procedural items left me feeling a bit let down. Overall the dialog is exceptional and the story is strong. These two positives compensated for any loose ends.

4 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Carlita Withers
  • 13-02-18

passable

if you are itching for more Discovery Era Star Trek then this book will give it to you.
it wasn't particularly good, but it definitely wasn't bad.
I do think the story could have been better outside the Trek universe and restrictions.

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Connie
  • 19-10-17

Great way to understand Discovery

Released at the same time as the new series "Star Trek: Discovery", this novel takes place a year before the events in the pilot episode and after Captain Pike of the USS Enterprise has visited Talos IV. If you're an Original Series fan you'll better understand where "Discovery" falls in the Star Trek timeline with this reference to Talos IV. We have the Enterprise and Pike in this novel which means, of course, we have Science Office Mr. Spock. The relationship between Michael Burnham (the female heroine In Discover--don't assume names are gender specific) and Spock will make every minute you spend reading this book utterly satisfying. When reading a book based on an existing series I usually assume the known ships we encounter look as they do on the series. With the amazing set and special effects now available on ST:D in 2017 that were not available on ST:TOS in 1966 I suggest picturing the JJ Abrams version of the Enterprise.

9 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Darren H Smith
  • 15-11-17

Far far better plot wise than I expected.

Definitely concentrated on plot development and intrique instead of the usual mindless homage to all things Trek. Great development of secondary characters plotlines. I was VERY pleasantly surprised. Ohhhh...and great narration to.

2 people found this helpful