Occasionally, it happens that someone who is otherwise a perfectly decent and talented writer just can’t nail down that Star Trek vibe. We’ve seen it before. For someone who only wrote one Star Trek novel, Laurence Yep has exceptional pedigree: he’s won a Newbery Medal and the Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal, among other accolades, and he’s written a ton of highly praised books and series for children that are steeped in Chinese lore. But that doesn’t necessarily guarantee adequate characterizations and interesting stories in other universes.
I’m going to level with you: I’m not very good at crime procedurals. Ask my wife. We can be sitting watching an episode of Law & Order: SVU or what have you and she’ll have the killer figured out before the theme song. I’m not nearly as sharp as she is, so I sort of let events wash over me, and then at the big reveal I’m usually just like, “Oh, okay.” So the fact that I solved the central mystery of The Vulcan Academy Murders with nearly 200 pages still left to read does not reflect well upon it.