I will say that the reveal of the identities of the aliens at the end did bring a smile to my face. I can't help but think this is DRGIII throwing a bone to those who are truly unhappy with the way Pocket has handled certain aspects of the Novelverse since the editorial shakeup. Maybe nothing comes of it, but it's nice to think it was on purpose.
OK, that has me intrigued. I'm currently about a third of the way through, and I find I'm enjoying it. I see that a number of others didn't like Kirk's story arc in this, but I feel his introspection, particularly at this point in the mission, seems natural enough. Who knows, I may feel differently by the time I finish reading it.