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Star Trek: Picard — Firewall Review: The Renaissance of Seven of Nine

Star Trek: Picard — Firewall Review: The Renaissance of Seven of Nine

Review: Star Trek: Picard – Firewall

Seven of Nine, a heroine who has resurged in popularity thanks to Jeri Ryan’s return to the franchise in Star Trek: Picard, is now the subject of a much-deserved character spotlight from veteran Star Trek author David Mack. Mack’s bibliography includes the end of the Star Trek literary universe as we know it, the landmark Star Trek: Destiny trilogy, and dozens of other Star Trek publications. Considering Firewall’s author and its complex protagonist, fans should be happy to know Mack delivers a worthy tie-in to Picard, capably filling in Seven’s story between the end of Star Trek: Voyager and the beginning of Picard.

Firewall begins two years after Voyager returns from its harrowing journey on the other side of the galaxy, and Seven is at an inflection point in her life. She’s a stranger in a strange land, and the people of Earth, who are terrified of the Borg, don’t let her forget it. Members of Voyager’s crew – indeed, Seven’s adopted family – have gone their separate ways. Seven is alone, save for a precious but tenuous mother-daughter relationship with now-Admiral Kathryn Janeway. But even this relationship doesn’t stop Seven from wanting to forge her path in the stars since her track doesn’t lie within Starfleet thanks to the organization’s xenophobic resistance to bringing an ex-Borg into their ranks.

"Star Trek: Picard: Firewall" cover art
“Star Trek: Picard – Firewall” cover art | Credit: Pocket Books

Seven’s journey brings her first to a supposed member of the Federation Security Agency, who tasks her with infiltrating the extrajudicial Fenris Rangers. But this ragtag group of law keepers ends up being a place of supreme significance to Seven’s personal and professional life – so much so that she ends up eschewing a place in Starfleet to stay in their ranks.

Yes, Firewall is Seven’s origin story as it relates to Picard. While we received a few details in the show about her journey to the law-keeping but legally dubious security agency, it wasn’t a stretch to assume her story would one day be expanded. Mack has crafted a tale that shows Seven finally allowing people into her inner shell, much, in the same way, a computer firewall allows programs it deems safe. These people include love interests, mentors, and new friends; indeed, two of the standout characters in this book are Ellory Kayd, a fellow Ranger with whom Seven strikes up a passionate romance, and Keon Harper, an older Ranger who becomes the Obi-Wan to Seven’s Luke. While we obviously won’t spoil the state of these relationships by the end of the book, suffice to say we were fascinated at how Seven explored the torrent of emotions she experiences traversing the Qiris Sector, and how they helped transform her from the ex-Borg we knew on Voyager to the hardened do-gooder in Picard.

Mack knows the Star Trek universe, so it’s no surprise he’s able to rope in plenty of familiar elements to help the book’s worldbuilding – including, most excitingly, a familiar ship and crew from Star Trek: Prodigy. But we were surprised at how much Mack’s tapestry of Seven’s journey matched Picard’s tone, which is of course completely appropriate for such a tie-in book. Many of the places Seven visits, such as the burnt-to-a-crisp Soroya IV, the metropolis Star Wars-esque Otroya II, and the lawless Qiris sector, are all places perfectly at home in Picard’s culture. Likewise, villains in this book, such as the warlord Kohgish and the sneaky Arastoo Mardani, are some of the most memorable antagonists we’ve read in recent Star Trek books; they both cast a peculiar shade of darkness across the proceedings, and its no wonder Seven is so hardened by the time we see her in Picard.

Jeri Ryan as Seven of Nine
Jeri Ryan as Seven of Nine | Credit: Paramount+

Of course, it wouldn’t be a Star Trek book without a heart of light, and readers can look forward to a sentimental message at the core of Mack’s novel: found family can be everything. Indeed, it might be fair to say Seven’s new friends and loved ones help her more in Firewall than any single member of Voyager’s crew during the ex-Borg’s time on that ship. Seven’s journey in Firewall directly sets her on the path to important character development we see in her in Picard, such as emotional intelligence, vigilante altruism, and, ultimately, major leadership responsibility. Rest assured, fans of Jeri Ryan’s character will find a lot to like in this book.

We appreciate Firewall because it offers valuable context for Star Trek: Picard fans. How and why Seven came to be the reborn hero we know and love is a vital part of the character’s happy ending on the bridge of the Enterprise-G, and Firewall fills in the context Picard didn’t care, or have time, to show. Finally, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention Firewall ends on a chilling note regarding a particularly tragic aspect of Seven’s story in season one of Picard — so you can look forward to that.

You can buy Star Trek: Picard: Firewall on Amazon now.

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Written By

Kyle Hadyniak has been a lifelong Star Trek fan, and isn't ashamed to admit that Star Trek V: The Final Frontier and Star Trek: Nemesis are his favorite Star Trek movies. You can follow Kyle on Twitter @khady93.

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