I gave it a below average, it could've even been poor.
I get that it was the last one in the series and ward had to conclude plot lines started by other authors ... But man this book is a deflating whimper. I expected the series to end with a bang especially after the two prevous great books. It was a struggle to read. It just plods along and then stops to recant some trivia about the past. Sometimes its good to give perspective background info, but for every trivial thing? All the time ... All the time ... All the time ... Yeah for me that's what it felt like reading the book. At that point it felt like ward was short on his word count and just filling in his quota.
Not one bit of the book was interesting to read. The new characters introduced are dull and flat. The plot was Luke warm, but reasonably sound tying it together yet I could tell he struggled through it because as a reader it felt like I was wading through water.
I don't know if wards hands were tied by the editors or what but I felt like the ending book could've done something more. There was an obvious theme throughout they couldve played on that more. Maybe have a divide between the hawkish war types and the peaceable types. Show it escalating within starfleet, the council and the politicians running for president. It reaches a point where the federation is starting to crack, maybe people expect a civil war, then somehow Picard brings it back ... Something grand, epic, an ending worthy of a five novel series.
... And that ishan reveal/surprise felt like a cheap cop out.