Just finished rereading Taking Wing.
I'm reading as many of the Titan books as the public library has. It was about how I remembered it. A decent book, even if I got annoyed sometimes. One of the annoyances of this book was when one of the "diverse" crew would show up and they were an alien never seen on the show. I mean, one or two were described well enough that I could imagine what they look like, but the Chief Engineer and to a lesser extent the Pacifican helm officer annoyed me because I had no idea what they looked like, and they weren't described very well. I thought for a second that the pacifican might have been one of the sentient dolphins a few of the older ST books had. Considering the reveal about her and Riker, its a good thing I was completely wrong about that
The Chief engineer I thought would be like a large version of the friendly form of the gremlins. I was also way off, but thats what the description lead me to believe for some reason. I'm usually ok with stuff like that, but usually aliens created for ST books are described better, and its usually assumed that the reader doesn't know what they look like, even if they've made other book appearances. As a general rule, if they weren't on TV and they aren't near human, I'd like a good description.
I have to disagree with you on this point. I thought they did a fine job describing the alien characters in the Titan books. The only one I ever had trouble with was Cethente, and I really think that was me and not the description itself. As for Ledrah and Lavena, I honestly don't remember Ledrah that well, but I've had a crystal clear image of Lavena pretty much from the beginning. I think the only thing I didn't really have right was her skin color, but that's pretty minor. Besides, in most of the scenes with her all you need to picture is a humanoid in an isolation suit.
Besides that, the story was decent, although some of the side characters/plots were annoying. I'm glad Keru was put into a coma, he was annoying and I got really sick of the lame stuff about him being angry at Worf or the annoying Ensign who wanted to date him. A lot of the Keru and Norellis stuff felt like a token "Oh, look, gay starfleet officers" thing. I have no problem with gay characters in books/etc, even though I'm straight, but it added nothing to the story and just ended up wasting ink. Akaar also got on my nerves at times, but not too badly.
I really don't think any of that was pointless. I thought it was some pretty good character development for Keru, who I had only encountered in a cameo in the second WODS9 book at that point. As for the whole gay thing, I really didn't see where they were treated any different than the heterosexual couples in other Trek Lit books. Just talking about two gay people being interested in each other or being a couple really isn't really drawing attention to their sexuality any more than talking about the same things with a hetero couple is drawing attention to theirs.