After suffering no ill effects of having the novel touch Goodman's "Federation" book (unless repeatedly doing so opens me up to some sort of quantum level cellular damage that needs Dr. Phlox to help treat) I finished the book his morning.
Overall thoughts: enjoyed the book, and was happy to see these characters again. Compared to the... more complicated DTI novels (which are great, but "heady"), I found it by comparison a bit of an easier read, in that I couldn't put it down. I started this morning and finished! A lazy Sunday morning can afford me that, but I just didn't want to put it down.
While I can say that the novel stands alone, it does have the job of setting up the players and settings (or ships) and setting the stage for more to come. So even while most of the characters are old friends to readers, it's the "pilot episode", so to speak.
Reed's subplot in the book didn't seem to tie into any of the main events, whereas Archer, T'Pol's and Shumar's storylines converged (or will, in the case of the Saurian mission). However, we got a nice little call back to Star Trek IV and some "seek out new life" exploration out of his adventure.
The Orion presence does evoke my good feelings about the Vanguard series, so I welcome the further fleshing out of the syndicate.
I'm sure I'll have more to say about it, but look forward to hearing other's thoughts on the novel as well. It always takes me time to learn names and warm up to new characters.
But for now: I enjoyed the book and recommend it's purchase. I eagerly await the next, I hope the cover for the next incorporates the new uniform look and perhaps the Endeavor. The Photoshopped "Giant Head" look for Trek covers is not becoming, especially for what the lure of this book is all about!