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.
There are some episodes of Star Trek where Kirk rekindles a relationship with an old flame. There are other episodes where the crew meets a once-respected hero or mentor figure, only to realize that person has gone completely cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs. And there are still other episodes where they’re burdened with a civilian who snoops around and asks too many questions and throws their weight around and is totally overwhelming and annoying and in the way all the time.
The Entropy Effect contains all of those tropes, plus time travel.