Just finished listening to your discussion about Avatar
. I definitely agree that it is thanks to this series, and to Pocket's bravery in taking this direction, that we have had the wonderful, complex and interwoven novelverse we have enjoyed for the last decade plus. And I think as the "show-runner" of that series, Marco Palmieri deserves a lot of the credit. It was a great shame when Pocket let him go. Not to say that the other editors haven't done excellent work too, but I feel like Marco was something special.
As for the book itself, I remember coming across it purely by chance in an airport bookstore. I had no idea they were going to do this, so it was a nice surprise, and I was instantly hooked. I think it's probably clear from all the adapting work I've done on them that the DS9 books are my favourite, and that all started here.
I have to say I disagree with what you were saying about the Dax/Bashir relationship. I certainly do agree that they both acted rather childishly, and that's not a particularly admirable quality in a character, but I don't see it as being out of character especially, nor an unrealistic way to write a relationship. I can definitely see why their relationship would be a rocky one, because look at these two people - Bashir the man who thinks he's always right because he has the genetic engineering to back it up, and Dax the woman who always thinks she's right because she had nine lifetimes and 300 years of experience to back it up. Two egos like that are always going to clash, regardless of how much they love each other. The petulance in Ezri is not out of nowhere - see how she acted with Worf in "Penumbra", for example. And Bashir knowing intellectually how Trills work is quite different to facing it when you're in a romantic relationship with one, which he has never been before now. So I don't really have a problem with that.
Likewise with Jake, I don't know that I agree with your assertion that he had come to believe he played a role in Bajoran religion, either. I took it to be more like how you described Vaughn and Ro - accepting that the Prophets are out there and might know things other people don't, but that's a long way from thinking of them as gods or actually following the religion in the way that Kira does. Anything more than that I think would be Jake trying to convince himself of his foretold role in rescuing his father, which was what was really important to him.
One last thing - I know I always nitpick, but it's an OCD thing. You pronounced the characters' names wrong. It's Elias Vaughn (el-EYE-as), not Ellis. And Prynn Tenmei (ten-MAY), not Tenemi.