Review by C.J. Bunce
The biggest question you may ask while reading the new Star Trek Deep Space Nine novel Revenant is: Why now? As the world of Star Trek novels is making a new shift (see our reviews of the 2021 Star Trek Coda trilogy here), Revenant is a true one-off–a tangent, lost episode of sorts from the middle of the run of Deep Space Nine, featuring Jadzia Dax, a beloved character the series writers never seemed to know what to do with, only to kill her off in the sixth season. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen a Deep Space Nine novel, and longer yet since we’ve heard about Jadzia Dax.
Revenant could have been a story about Jadzia struggling with eight personalities, M. Night Shyamalan Split style, but it’s not. The story follows the framework of many of two-part episodes from the franchise as we meet a friend from Jadzia’s past, whose grandfather taps Jadzia to help bring the woman–and fellow Trill–back into the fold. Writer Alex White’s previous ventures into horror come through, as readers get to understand the process and life of being a Trill, visualizing that hosting another life form is just as terrifying and horrific as it sounds. Other Deep Space Nine regulars come along for the ride, including Kira Nerys, Doctor Bashir, Commander Worf, and brief appearances by Captain Sisko and Jake. But this is more of a Jadzia story in the same vein we saw returns of Kira going home in the Deep Space Nine episode “Progress,” and in Star Trek: The Next Generation Ro Laren confronting her past in “Preemptive Strike,” and Worf doing the same in so many stories, including “Birthright,” “Redemption,” and “Sins of the Father.”
Jadzia almost seems to understand little at all about the depths of life as a Trill as she makes her journey to the heart of the darkest depths of Trill politics. You won’t be able to figure out who is behind what on your own, as late-breaking characters are key to unraveling what’s behind Jadzia’s lost friend. How much of the happenings are normal and how much are because a current dark force is manipulating the very process that defines this society?
Readers will see first glimpses of Jadzia’s romantic attraction to Worf, that franchise’s answer to James Bond with all his chemistry-lacking romances over the years (except with K’Ehleyr!). Bashir is penned familiarly as the poor puppy eager to assist anyone with anything at any time. Kira actually seems more amiable than usual–this feels like the same Kira and Dax off on an adventure as found in The Way of the Warrior. And although Ezri Dax is never discussed (she doesn’t arrive until much later), readers will begin to understand why Jadzia and Ezri may have one day become one and the same, yet were really so different–and why Worf would come to that conclusion, too.
Truly like watching a lost episode of season four of Deep Space Nine, Revenant is 100% Jadzia and 100% the inner-workings of Trill society. If you’re a fan of one or both, get ready to be immersed in that world 25 years after you first encountered it in Star Trek Deep Space Nine: Revenant, available now with a nice Juan Ortiz-inspired cover by Cliff Nielsen, in paperback here at Amazon.