Star Trek: Discovery – The Way to the Stars (2019) – Una McCormack

When I read her Picard novel, Last Best Hope, I was completely taken in by McCormack’s writing, with her Discovery novel, The Way to the Stars, she has cemented herself as my favorite Trek author working today. Available through the Gallery Books imprint of Simon & Schuster, Star Trek doles out literary adventures, with both the Picard and Discovery novels being considered canon.

McCormack’s first Discovery novel takes us into the youth of Sylvia Tilly, who we’ve watched grow over the seasons on television, but know she’s always had some issues with her very demanding mother, who works with the diplomatic corps. Well, know we get a better look at that.

On the eve of her starting her command track training aboard the Discovery, she and Michael Burnham talk through the night, and we go along for the journey as we learn about some very formative events in Tilly’s life.

Using Mary Wiseman’s performance as her template McCormack tells an engaging tale of sixteen year old Tilly, who struggles to fit in, has no real choice in her future, her entire potential career is mapped out by her mother Siobhan, and her father, Iain, is out there somewhere, serving with Starfleet.

Her schooling takes her to the Tarsis system when she finds herself enrolled in a school for young, would-be diplomats, and while she excels in areas, she is clumsy, unsure, and too much under the thumb of her mother’s wishes.

Things keep building, the stress of everything finally breaking her, but also finally, maybe, allowing her to become the person she was always meant to be.

I read this novel after the events of the fourth season episode, All is Possible, and it made a very nice tie-in, filling in some backstory that makes the decisions of Tilly in this episode all the more meaningful and poignant.

McCormack gets you inside Tilly’s mind, and allows you to recall your own teenage angst through her eyes, and really good Trek stories, it’s about finding ourselves, recognizing who we are, where we belong, and hope for the future.

It’s a quieter story, but one that gives us a very relatable glimpse into Tilly’s younger days, and why she behaves the way she does. I love how the story builds her into the character that we begin to recognize as the young ensign we encountered in season one, and who becomes a vital part of the Discovery crew, and shaping the future of Starfleet.

I cannot wait to read another Trek book by McCormack, she easily captures my love of all Trek, her stories play out in the mind’s eye, and the way she writes the universe feels very much inline with what has gone before, and what will come after, all the time boldly going…

And that’s a good thing, because the Human Adventure is just beginning.

Next time I dig into The Enterprise Wars, which gives us a Captain Pike/Enterprise story (sweet!) but for now, check out The Way to the Stars, and the other Discovery, and Star Trek novels available from Simon & Schuster!

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