Deep Space 9 is my favorite Star Trek series, and yet while I do occasionally read a Star Trek book I had never read any of the Deep Space 9 books. This is because the series actually had an ending which ended things, but while it might be a bit hard to imagine there are books written about Deep Space 9 after the series ended. They do this by keeping the characters who were on the station and adding a few more in then moving on. And that it works is a remarkable example of how much depth the show had because most of the main characters left.
The books that start the new era of Deep Space 9 are Avatar part 1 and 2. And since they take place after the Deep Space 9 series finale there are spoilers just in explaining the basics of what is happening. That said, the returning character you would know from the show are Kira, Dr. Bashir, Dax (not the good one), Nog, Quark and Kasidy Yates, Jake Sisko and Morn(because when Morn goes home it’s all over). You may also recognize the name Ro Laren who has taken over as security chief. On top of this they add a new first officer and a Jem’Hadar who was sent by Odo to learn about other cultures.
Even though many of your favorite characters aren’t here everyone does begin to take on new roles (except Bashir who is still a doctor). Kira is in command, Nog is chief engineer, Ezri is considering going in to command, Kasidy is giving birth to a religious icon, Jake is following bajorin prophecies and Quark is, well Quark is the same, but he has some new things to do which at the least are interesting.
Avatar as a book had a lot to accomplish before it got to the story at all and it suffered a bit for that. The difficulty was that the characters who were left didn’t have a lot to do. The major threats had been dealt with and half of them weren’t really main characters. It also had to explain why Ro was on the station, who the new first officer and other crew members were. It also includes the Enterprise crew and while they didn’t have a lot to do you couldn’t really ignore Ro’s connection and betrayal of Picard. Overall though it felt as if it dealt with this reasonably well.
On the other hand the story felt a bit like one you might find in a pilot. Not bad, but also not great. There was one good surprise that showed a lot of thought on the part of someone in which they let you assume something about a new character and subverted that. But beyond that most everything was setting up characters and trying to understand them a bit better without as much focus as one might like.
I have often said that I’d rather watch bad Star Trek than most stuff on TV and this isn’t bad. It’s just not great either. Still, it does capture the feeling of Deep Space 9 and lets you check in on what has happened after the war. So, if you loved Deep Space 9 and aren’t quite ready to let it go this is a reasonable substitute with plenty of Quark humor and hints at bigger stories that are coming. Still, it feels more like a pilot for a spin off show than actually being Deep Space 9.