But with Unspoken Truth, I was expecting like a 9/10 and got a 7/10, so I was disappointed; with this, I was expecting like a 5/10 and got a 7/10, so I'm pleasantly surprised.
Yeah, same here. It doesn't hang together as a novel at all -- when I turned a page and saw the beginning of the timeline stuff I thought, that was the end of the book? But despite the fanwank and the game setup it does a lot better than it needed to do in some areas, particularly, as you mentioned, the Data and Dulmer/Lucsly sections.
Oh, and I didn't see the kind of military-bashing some people are complaining about, either. Cute touch of homophobia with the Code Pink thing, too, but Martin's not gay.