Data's return was set up in Nemesis, The temptation would be to have Data back in service onboard the Enterprise, but David Mack does a clever thing by having new Data not sure of what his role is.
Well, since this is an ongoing trilogy, the story Mack wants to tell ends with book 3 - plenty of time for Data to return to the fold... I don't expect him to stay away from the Enterprise, maybe stay on as a civilian consultant etc, but it makes no sense to "revive" him and then to keep him apart from TNG. Except of course, if TPTB plan a new series about Data and his adventures (which I'd actually pick up, contrary to the TNG-relaunch of which I've only read Destiny and now PoM and that only because of my curiousity regarding Data *g*).
Yesterday evening I finished PoM. It took me a while to read this novel because for me, especially the first half of Soong's "monologue" dragged on quite a bit. It got better, though, when Soong shifted his focus from his own needs and wants to his sons', and especially after the news of Data's death. Then he really grew a heart and soul, and became more than just a creator of extraordinary life-forms, willing to ultimately sacrifice everything his children.
So, in a sense, the monologue did its job in portraying Soong's shift in perception and motivation, but its length and the 1st-person PoV just didn't quite work for me.
On to the Enterprise-part: As said above, I haven't read any of the relaunch-novels except Destiny - and I wasn't really thrilled by the E-E-parts in that trilogy, either. Maybe because (except Picard) there're no longer any of my favourite characters on the Enterprise, maybe because I didn't know all the background of the new characters up to Destiny... I don't know. Choudhury's death didn't really affect me at all. In that situation it was obvious that she'd be the one who'd be killed because she's not a canon character where any studio/PTB etc could oppose her death for franchise-reasons. I regard any of the characters created exclusively for TrekLit as red-shirts, so, maybe that's another reason why I rarely form any attachments to those characters (the exceptions are Keru, Vaughn, and the captain of the research ship of the fleet in Children of the Storm - his name escapes me right now), come to think about it...
So, to sum it up, I was a bit underwhelmed up until the 90%-mark of the novel (read it on my Kindle). But I simply *loved* Data's return. Soong's sacrifice, the way Data didn't want him so sacrifice himself, the joy, especially Picard's and Geordi's, at seeing Data again, Data's doubts about who he now is... that was simply perfect.
Despite all his strengths, Data now is as fallible and perhaps torn as everyone else. And that offers plenty of opportunities to explore him. For example, to what lengths will he go in order to revive Lal? Will he step over the line now in order to get Vaslovik to at least spill how he revived Julianna?
So, consider me hooked at least for the remaining parts of Cold Equations.