Saturday, January 06, 2007

Book Review: Sagittarius is Bleeding

When I posted my review of The Cylons' Secret a few days ago, several people mentioned author Peter David. Now I know why. Sagittarius is Bleeding, a Peter David book based on the TV show Battlestar Galactica, is quite a bit better than it's companion book. I didn't hate The Cylons' Secret, but I might have if I had read David's book first. David seems to be well known to sci-fi fans for previously authoring several books based on the TV series Star Trek TNG. I had read some of David's other work, such as Sir Apropos of Nothing, which is a decent read. But I hadn't read any of his Star Trek books. Peter David clearly has a good sense of how to take a character from television and make them believable in a book. That, I think, is the main strength of this book. The story itself is a little more complex than the one featured in the The Cylons' Secret, though it isn't really any more complex than any story line we've seen on the show. Laura Roslin, the President of the colonies, is featured heavily in the book, though we also get a chance to read about Adama, Starbuck, Sharon Valerii (still pregnant at the time this was written), Tom Zarek, Gaius Baltar, and a new character named Boxey-- who may sound familiar to those who remember the original Battlestar Galactica. The main story centers around Laura Roslin, who is having graphic hallucinations where she sees lots of blood and keeps hearing the phrase "Sagittarius is Bleeding." Not knowing if she is going crazy or if there is some significance to her visions, Roslin tries to continue on with her duties while coping with ever increasing uncertainty about her own sanity. At the same time, Tom Zarek has decided to champion the cause of a group of religious extremists called the Midguardians, who are looking for equal status within the colonies. One of whom also decides to appoint herself as Sharon Valerii's attorney seeking "equal rights" for the pregnant cylon. David does a good job with the book. The story line is complex enough to be interesting and the dialogue is really good. I often felt that I could see the characters saying the lines and believing David's portrayal of them. I think he proves that a good author knows how to get inside the head of a character, no matter who actually created them. But my favorite part was when he wrote about Gaius Baltar. He did such a good job of portraying Baltar's disjointed conversations with people and his constant distraction with the blond cylon known as Caprica Six. Again, this is a book for fans of the series, but it's worth the read in my opinion. If you're picky about TV-series-based books, skip The Cylons' Secret, but pick this one up.

7 comments:

jedimerc said...

Yeah, David is a great author. I think I am going to have to pick this up, or see if my library has it or something...

Jean-Luc Picard said...

I never got into the new BG series, but it always looked good from the clips I've seen.

SQT said...

Jean-luc, BSG is really good IMO.

Jedimerc-- I could send you my copy, maybe you could do a review on it too--(I got it free on the condition I do a review on it. I'd like to get more books-- so I don't want to piss off the book provider)

But maybe we could do a round-robin thing for those who are interested. Send the books around to people who want to read and review them??

jedimerc said...

Nominally, that would be cool (and possibly in the future) but I am reading two books at the moment I plan to review on the blog pretty soon (nothing sci fi, alas, one political-historical non-fiction and one historical novel)

Crunchy Carpets said...

I have read the comics that PD has done and a couple of his Star Trek books and they were good.

I should check this one out.

Angela/SciFiChick said...

As much as I love Peter David's writing in everything else I've read, I'm struggling through this book. I'm getting bored, and I'm only at page 94.

SQT said...

I'm kind of surprised you're having a hard time with it. Maybe you've just read the two books too close together. It's easy to get burned out that way.