Star Trek: Discovery:
The Way to the Stars
(Book #4 of Star Trek: Discovery )
By Una McCormack
Read by January LaVoy
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio (January 2019)
Runtime: 8 hours and 33 minutes
I voluntarily reviewed an advance reader’s copy of this book. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.
An original novel based on the explosive new TV series Star Trek: Discovery!
Despite being an inexperienced Starfleet cadet, Sylvia Tilly became essential to the U.S.S. Discovery finding its way back home from the Mirror Universe. But how did she find that courage? From where did she get that steel? Who nurtured that spark of brilliance? The Way to the Stars recounts for fans everywhere the untold story of Tilly’s past.
It’s not easy being sixteen, especially when everyone expects great things from Tilly. It’s even harder when her mother and father are Federation luminaries, not to mention pressing her to attend one of the best schools that the Federation has to offer. Tilly wants to achieve great things—even though she hasn’t quite worked out how to do that or what it is she wants to do. But this year, everything will change for Tilly, as she about to embark upon the adventure of a lifetime—an adventure that will take her ever closer to the stars…. https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/Star-Trek-Discovery-The-Way-to-the-Stars/Una-McCormack/Star-Trek-Discovery/9781508267751
Sylvia Tilly’s mother is a big mucky muck in the Star Fleet diplomatic corps and wants Sylvia to be a diplomat too. She pushes and pushes this highly intelligent woman, so obviously gifted in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, to become someone she is not. As much as it is a “coming of age” novel it is also a “how not to parent.” It’s weird that Tilly’s mother is such a well-regarded diplomat but does not listen to her daughter at all. One of a diplomats most important skills is listening. Tilly’s father, Iain, understands Tilly; he is a Starfleet Lieutenant specializing in Xenoarcheology, so he gets her science side. And, he is so much less self-involved and self-important than Tilly’s mom.
I really enjoyed how Tilly finds herself and her voice. She has a back bone she just needs to understand that pleasing her mother is not her primary purpose. Tilly goes through what will become known as her rebellious spirit in this book.
I am not saying that young Tilly is perfect; she is no more perfect here than she is on Discovery. But she is so very human. And she is a good friend — and returns friendship to the life of Star Fleet outcast, Commander Michael Burnham. The book starts 0ff with the friends and roommates trying to fall asleep before a n important day. Tilly explains how she got to Star Fleet when her life was supposed to take a different path.
The narration is excellent: there are so many characters and accents and LaVoy seems to get them all. The narration of Tilly was so spot on that sometimes I thought Mary Wiseman, the actor who plays Tilly in Star Trek Discovery, was narrating her part.
One thing bugged me though, and it kind of dogged everything else in the book: whe the book begins Tilly is living in Paris with her Grandmother, but she attends school in NY commuting by teleporter. Grandmother Adele gets up in the Parisian morning to send Tilly off to school in NY. But, the NY is five or six hours behind Paris, even in the 23rd century. Since the rest of her day is normal — meals and such this is hard to explain away. If there is an explanation I would welcome it.
But, throwing that aside, the rest of the novel is very lovely, with Tilly going out on her heroine’s journey, her quest. She finds so much out about the world, her family and herself. Star Trek means something to me, it has existed for about 50 years of it and I have always been a fan because of it’s positive take on the future. And, Tilly fits right in to my Star Trek universe, especially as McCormack has brought more life and background to the character.
Author’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/unamccormack