I can't help but think about how many difficult lines this book managed to walk perfectly. Think about this.
- Kira's story. As was just noted, it's a perfect ending, unless it isn't an ending. Either way: golden.
- Mix of new and old characters. I remember myself being really disappointed by how many people had moved off DS9, not imagining wanting to follow Ro and an all-new cast. But check it out: Nog, O'Brien, Odo... even Sisko has a chance of staying in the DS9 series. We've got all kinds of people back and kicking around.
- Galactic politics vs. DS9-centric storylines. In the end, they ALL came together and were important to the climax - everything from Bacco and Kamemor's relationship all the way on down to Vaughn's drawn out death. It ALL contributed.
- My favorite: DS9 always walked a really fine line between fate and individual responsibility, and this book NAILED it. The stuff with the Prophets just PERFECTLY paralleled all of the Prophets material in the TV show; things fated to happen, but arising because of individual characters' strengths and weaknesses anyway. It felt exactly like Sacrifice Of Angels or any of Ben's religious experiences. Flawless.
This is goddamn Kung Fu is what this is. Solving a Rubik's cube while blindfolded. Dancing on the head of a pin and laughing at you. I literally thought it was not possible for me to be this happy with a DS9 novel, at this point, before this happened.