If I could express to you in numbers of how many times I've read by of Jeri Taylor's book, "Mosaic" and "Pathways", I would. However, I've gotten the point where I can turn to which page starts one of my favorite parts of the book, so counting the times I've read them would take awhile. Knowing this, you're no doubt guessing that I'm going to give this book a good review, but I'm not just biased! Let me explain why "Pathways" is one of my favorite books of all time and not just my favorite Star Trek book.
"Pathways" is a series of wandering roads that finally lead up to one point and that point is when the crew is finally assembled on Voyager in the debut episode on TV. Looking at them all can be confusing, so Jeri is going take you on a journey with this book to explore each and every one of these wandering roads. As the co-creator of Voyager, Jeri knows these characters like she knows her own story, so she is the perfect person to write this book. The great part is that, all of this can be considered 'canon' for all those role-players out there, since most of this was made a part of the characters before the show even aired.
The beginning of the book finds the senior crewmembers of Voyager, minus Captain Kathryn Janeway, in a third-world-like camp. The crew brings their survival skills together to survive, but their hearts are heavy despite all the attempts by Chakotay keep their spirits alive. That's when Ensign Harry Kim asks Chakotay about how he ended up quitting Starfleet and joining the Maquis. Thus, starts the true nature of the book. Chakotay starts telling his life-story and it's followed by other members of the crew, including Kes' story told by Neelix.
Jeri Taylor has been involved in Star Trek long enough to know that people have their favorite characters, but I never had the impulse to skip someone's story to get to the next character. I even read Chakotay's and Neelix's story with interest. I may not like the particular characters and I may not want to watch an episode that focuses on them, but I respect them after this book.
Jeri gave them depth and meaning beyond just what I've learned about them from the show. After the huge success of "Mosaic", Jeri saw the hunger the fans had to learn more about the whole crew. She really had no choice but to write this book. And it's not just the personal backgrounds that are interesting, but the scenes in the camp made me hold my breath.
After I picked up this book and finished it the first time, I understood the characters more. The personal attachments they have to each other, what makes them respond to a situation the way they do, and why they are who they are on Voyager. The book is a rather large one, but it's never a chore to finish and I hope everyone realizes what kind of talent we had behind Star Trek with Jeri Taylor. This book accomplished telling two stories intertwined and then bringing forth a truly remarkable force behind Star Trek. The journey was well worth it.