I enjoy the Kirk books for stupid fun. I loved the Ashes of Eden. However, the Kirk books are pretty much Kirk Rulz!!! and everyone droolz mentality. In one book, Kirk pretty much out does everyone like being more Klingon than Worf and outwitting Data.
In CC, I think it is a fine ending that theme, since Kirk does it all the while being a pre-Academy kid.
Yes, indeed, to both your thoughts.
I have no problem with the 'Shatner Rulz' series, nor his CC for exactly the reasoning above...they are fun. I would like to have seen the Academy book continue just to see the completed path.