Q-in-Law (Star Trek: The Next Generation #18) by Peter David
Published by Pocket Books
Released October 1991
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There’s one side character in the Star Trek universe who I’m always excited to see: Lwaxana Troi. She’s delightfully difficult, frivolous yet wise, and brings a rogue joy to any episode or story she’s involved in. Some of my favorite Deep Space Nine episodes are the ones where Lwaxana makes an appearance. I’ve always wanted more Lwaxana, and seeing as the actress who played her, Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry’s spouse, Majel Barrett, died in 2008, there’s a limited amount of her stories to enjoy.
Not too long ago I had traded in some books at my local used bookstore and walked over to their large section of Star Trek paperback novels. I already own a bunch, so I always limit myself to one per trip. I nearly jumped for joy when I noticed Peter David’s Q-in-Law, featuring a trio of wonderful characters on the cover: Captain Jean-Luc Picard, Q, and Lwaxana Troi. I didn’t need to read the synopsis to know this was the book I’d be buying.
Like most of the Star Trek novels that I’ve read, the story reads like a single episode. In Q-in-Law, two rival families of an alien race called the Tizarin are gathering aboard the USS Enterprise for the wedding of two young lovers. It’s a great opportunity for Star Fleet to extend diplomacy, get to know a new species, and act as a neutral ground for two families that have been fighting for generations, even though they don’t completely remember why.
As Betazoid’s ambassador, it’s only fitting that Lwaxana Troi would show up, much to the chagrin of the captain. However, no one is expecting the omnipotent being known only as Q to show up, and the crew of the Enterprise is understandably distressed at his arrival. Lwaxana, however, is incredibly intrigued and drawn to Q, and pursues a romantic relationship with him, even as her daughter, Counselor Deanna Troi, does everything in her power to stop her mother from committing what she sees as a devastating mistake.
Q-in-Law was definitely an enjoyable story and one that would have been fun to watch on screen. Unfortunately, my expectations may have been set too high, and I was overall disappointed by the story.
Author Peter David did a wonderful job of capturing the personality and charm of all of the characters we’re familiar with and creating new intriguing characters in the members of the Tizarin. As I had expected, Lwaxana was easily my favorite part of the story, and she exhibited a feisty-ness not even rivaled by her character’s televised stories.
My biggest disappointment in the novel was the entire side story involving Wesley Crusher, who is one of only two Star Trek: The Next Generation characters who I could easily do without (the other being Tasha Yar and every other character she played). I was so annoyed by Wesley’s side story about receiving what was essentially a sex slave to please him that it definitely took away a great deal of my enjoyment.
Am I happy that I read it? Absolutely. Getting even a little bit more Lwaxana was worth dealing with a far too drawn out Wesley story. Will I read it again? Probably not.