Finished the last few pages last night before going to sleep.
I certainly liked it a lot, going deeper into the early development of the Federation is something I've always been very curious about. As always, Chistopher's ability to take little things from Star Trek, and go so much deeper into them then we've seen sofar (the Mutes, for example) is something I've always enjoyed in his novels.
The plotline itself intrigued me a lot.
I was delighted to find out that Christopher made sure not everything was a perfectly happy UFP just yet. It wouldn't have made any sense. And not just amongst its peoplea and their diverse cultures, but also the fleets, the tech, how are we going to get that all working together. Those were the things I was looking forward to, and it worked very well.
One thing however, I found slightly lacking. Although the characters read and feel like the characters from the show, I felt they didn't really develop over the course of this novel. A promotion here and there, sure. But except for Reed, I felt that everyone was basicly still the same at the end. And I've always enjoyed how Christopher is able to not only make a journey to the stars in his novels, but a journey with the characters as well. They develop, they learn new things and insights about themselves, sometimes for the better and sometimes not. That was lacking slightly here, for me personally. However, I also realize that a part two is in the making, and perhaps like Kirsten Beyer did in her Voyager novels sofar, the development is not limited to one novel, and we will be able to see this people develop along the way.
Christopher, I hope you do not take the remark about characterization to hard. I really did love the characters in this novel. You have the uncanny ability to write the characters from the show exactly as they were, and I find that amazing. When reading Mayweather in this novel, I could really picture him in the back of my head, his little mannerisms were on the spot.
All in all, a very enjoyable read, giving us a few glimpses into one of the most important parts of Star Trek's history. I can't wait for spring 2014.