I'm about halfway through the novel. I'm a fan of Articles of Federation so I was very much looking forward to this. I'm enjoying the various looks around the Quadrant and the Aventine. I kinda like that Bowers is coming like a bit of an ass-- it's very human. The crew of the Aventine continues to be developed though truthfully I have trouble keeping track of characters even after the Destiny trilogy. The developments with the Romulans are particularly fascinating. That's saying something since I've never really cared for them. I wasn't sold on Donatra, but this has certainly changed my mind. On the hand, I have to admit that I'm not a fan Sonek Pran. I hate to say this, but I find his character entirely too contrived. He's almost a Mary Sue. Almost. The multiracial (multispecie?) aspect of his character, the folk band background, and his diplomatic brilliance masked by a quick wit and modesty are just a little too much. Personally, I found him a bit too implausible and too clever. I liked much of KRAD's rather sardonic dialogue in Articles (I recognized it as a bit of homage to West Wing), but Pran comes off as annoyingly smug. In fact I felt that a lot of random character shared Pran's predilection as being clever and witty all the time. Anyways, I still have the last half of the book to read and will reserve my final judgement. I'm enjoying the book overall, but having trouble with Pran.