I love Romulans. Maybe someday I’ll share all the reasons why with you. But for now, just know that I love Romulans. Unfortunately, though, Romulans are – in my opinion – under-utilized in the Star Trek series and books. So when I stumbled upon the Rihannsu series (by googling “Star Trek books about Romulans”), I had to get my hands on it. The fact that it was written by Diane Duane (who also wrote the So You Want to Be a Wizard series, which I loved when I was younger) was a huge plus, too!
After searching for a long time, my husband and I finally found most of the series at Uncle Hugo’s Science Fiction Bookstore (aka my heaven on earth – seriously, if you’re in the Twin Cities, check it out). I just finished reading book one this week, and I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it.
My Enemy, My Ally started off a little weak for me – mostly because it started off from the Romulan perspective. Now, that in itself isn’t a bad thing; it’s a pretty typical literary device to kick off a story with a short scene featuring the antagonist. My issue with this, though, was that the dialogue (and even some of the inner monologue) was in Romulan.
I don’t read Romulan; unlike Klingon, there’s not a movement to learn the fictional language. It’s not a huge deal to include a language that I don’t read – as long as it’s minimal and really easy to understand given the context. But it wasn’t. I was really confused by the first chapter, and the inclusion of so much of an unreadable language really bogged it down. I almost put the book away and started a different one.
But. I’m glad I didn’t. After that first chapter, the book got SO MUCH BETTER. Duane did a great job of giving us a believable insight into this other Trek culture that hasn’t been amply explored. I got just what I wanted – more screen-time with Romulans.
The plot was exciting and suspenseful, and I was very unsure of who to trust and who to believe. The characters from The Original Series seemed very consistent with what we’ve seen elsewhere, and while it was still fun and playful at times, the writing wasn’t too campy like some of the other Trek novels I’ve read.
Overall, I was very pleased with My Enemy, My Ally, and I’m looking forward to reading book two of the series: The Romulan Way.