I finished this book a week ago (just in time to get Win Tie or Wrangle from the library), and I meant to write a review immediately after. But then I forgot. Woopsie!
Here are the basics: the USS Enterprise D, while exploring a really boring area of space in the outer reaches of the galaxy, gets pulled (sucked?) into the Mirror Universe. If you're unfamiliar with the Mirror Universe at all, it would behoove you to do some reading before continuing on with this review.
To be honest, if you want to enjoy this book, be prepared to do a lot of waiting. The beginning of the book takes a long time to get going, talking about nigh-uncomprehensible things like "hyperstrings" and some dolphin-like alien which makes very little sense whatsoever. Seriously, Diane Duane, why not pick an alien species we're more familiar with? All I could picture from the descriptions was a super-happy dolphin floating around in a space suit with robotic arms. The scenes without him were much better.
Once we get into the meat of the story - which, to me, is when Picard beams over to the Mirror!Enterprise and help LaForge and Troi with their mission (which is to get them out of the mirror universe). Once we get to this point, the plot moves around at a very good pace and the action is fun. And then, where the novel should have ended, we get a chapter of the crew enjoying some sort of opera on the holodeck. Uh...maybe that would work as a coda in the TV show, but it is utterly boring here (and I skipped it outright).
I only have two main beefs with this book.
1) The characterization seems a little off. They talk completely different from how they would in the TV series. This brought me out of the story a couple of times.*
2) The Mirror Universe is the same as we saw in the TOS episode Mirror, Mirror. This is a beef for me, because the extrapolation of the MU's history seen in the Deep Space Nine episode Crossover is much more believable than what we get here.**
Other than that, I felt that the characters' actions were much more realistic than what we see on the TV show. It feels like they're actually military officers (sorry, explorers) operating aboard a very complex starship. I don't know how to describe it, but I guess it doesn't really feel like these guys are on the bridge 100% of the time. Don't you find it odd in the TV show that we see the same bridge crew every episode?***
Anyway, it was an interesting enough read. Three out of Five stars. ALSO! This ties in directly to a new creative project I'm working on. Head over to http://tngxmen.tumblr.com/ for more details!
* - Granted, their personalities were almost bang-on for all the characters. They just didn't talk properly.
** - I will grant that perhaps the mirror universe we see in this novel is a branch of the mirror universe we've seen on TV - where in this particular universe, Spock's efforts to bring civility to humans doesn't work and they remain as they were. I think I'll take that explanation over the fact that they're the same universe as on TV.
*** - I think both TNG and Voyager have attempted to address this; the only episode that comes in mind is Data's Day and I think there's one episode on Voyager that puts Ensign Kim in command of the night watch or something.