This book should be held to the same standard as any other novel. In comparison, it was a vastly incomplete book. It lacked a major plot. It lacked character arcs on any of the major characters. It contained way too much "telling" rather than "showing."
Keev's story was the only one with a complete plot and a complete story arc.
But that's what I'm getting at right there: it seems contradictory to say that the novel lacks a major plot and to then say that the story which took up half the novel was the only one with a complete plot and a complete story arc. I think taking up half the book qualifies the Keev story as a major plot.
Look, I'm not saying that the book was perfect. I could've done with more story focused on the station. But at the same time, I also wouldn't have wanted to sacrifice any of the threads that we got. The novel continuity, and DS9 specifically, has about a gazillion stories going on right now, and I was happy to see them all advance.
The other choice would've been to slim down the Keev narrative. Maybe DRGIII should've done that. I did think that some of the early chapters in the Keev story could've been trimmed. (I would not
have wanted the retelling of "Emissary" to have been cut. That part was important, at least, to me.) But I think he was very deliberate in keeping that story in in its entirety. As I said in my post, there are several things I think that story is supposed to explain, both directly and indirectly, and those things were important.
And if he had slimmed down the Keev narrative, then we would've argued that there were no
plots at all. Really, with all the stories that DRGIII inherited for this volume, he would've had to outright ignore
half-a-dozen stories to focus on one or two. And, frankly, that would've sucked.
As for the book not being what was marketed... I feel that's what we get for most Trek novels these days. It's not a precise analogue, but notice how we always see actors from the shows on the covers, even if they're no more than bit characters. It's how they attract new readers. Same thing with those descriptions. Unless we want stories that are "safe" from a marketing perspective (ie. doing what they know works– read: stuff that's already been done), we shouldn't expect the descriptions to be 100% accurate.