Review: John Jackson Miller’s ‘Star Trek: Picard: Rogue Elements’

I have not read a Star Trek book since Star Trek: Enterprise was still on the air. It has been a minute and I cannot think of a better book to reacquaint myself with a universe than John Jackson Miller’s Rogue Elements, the third book in the Picard tie-in series. Not only is it about Cristóbal Rios, who ended up becoming my favorite character in Picard, but it is an absolute delight to read. It is filled with humor, character development, and an extremely fun cons-and-capers plot that leads to Rios being held at gunpoint an astonishingly high number of times.

Star Trek: Picard: Rogue Elements

Star Trek: Picard: Rogue Elements
Rogue Elements is a prequel, set many years before he crosses paths with Jean-Luc Picard, that gives much-needed context to who Rios is when we meet him in Picard. Miller takes readers through the acquisition of La Sirena, and the perils and pitfalls that came with it, which occupies the majority of the plot thanks to the Prohibition-era Earth-obsessed Iotians that he acquired the ship from.

While the novel does not reveal the top-secret particulars of what led to Rios’ departure from Starfleet, it does delve into his emotional state including drinking till he blacks out, hapless carousing, and poor decision making. And of course, his long-time friend Raffi keeps tabs on him to ensure he doesn’t get himself into too much trouble. The best part, in my opinion, is the explanation and hilarity surrounding how his Emergency Hologram system came to be programmed to look just like him. Yes, Emil, Emmet, and Encho make an appearance.

One aspect that I was surprised by was the inclusion of Kivas Fajo, the Zibalian trader who appeared in Star Trek: The Next Generation. It was exciting to see familiar, but not major, characters make an appearance in Rios’ various exploits. Of course, the Iotians are also familiar adversaries, for fans of Star Trek: The Original Series. Their 1920s-obsessed colloquialisms are fun and not at all overdone throughout the novel.

Miller’s author's note at the back of the book discusses how he intended to write a completely fun book, to help readers unwind after a taxing year in quarantine, and he succeeded. If you are looking for a good time, stop what you’re doing and pick up Rogue Elements and join Cristóbal Rios on an epic odyssey filled with outlaws, fortune seekers, relic hunters, and so much more.

John Jackson Miller's Star Trek: Picard: Rogue Elements hits shelves on August 17th, 2021. Pre-order it today!

Star Trek: Picard: Rogue Elements


A brilliantly fun odyssey


Maggie Lovitt is a writer at Wealth of Geeks where she covers her favorite topics: Star Wars and pop culture nerdery.

In her free time, she is also a novelist, screenwriter, actor, and member of the Screen Actors Guild.