Just wanted to chime in here as a new guy and add my voice to the chorus of appreciation for this book. I just finished it myself after devowering all the Titan books (and really all the Relaunch books) in order over the past 2 years and I have to say I agree with most of the comments here (though forgive me for not having read the entire
thread) - including the 'hard sci-fi' stuff (love the whole world that was built) and the laid-back post-Destiny pace at the beginning.
I also did at first feel that the Ree story came out of left-field but I grew to love it and it was totally made great by the Tuvok moment outside the hospital. I love the character of Tuvok and I've been saddened (in a good way) by his emotional meltdown over the past novels, and this felt so redeeming and so awesomely Vulcan in its stoic acceptance of even being emotionally damaged... I've read Christopher say he's been in therapy and it definitely shows with his courage and insight to have this character come to terms with this part of himself. Bravo, and really so much deeper than I could hope for in a Star Trek novel. Well done.
And I also enjoyed the echos of Tezwa in Riker's once again being put through the ringer on Droplet, as well as the struggles that Lavena had to go through to find her own maturity.
I loved Orion's Hounds, too ("what's with us an jelly creatures?" - great nod) also for really touching that sense of wonder and mystery in the exploration of new life and new civilisations. As much as I love good space politics and space war, impending doom, etc., its this strong streak of serious mysterious and aliennes that keeps me connected to the Star Trek experience.