Finished the book and really liked it. Not a huge fan of the Pike era (too few of my favorite TOS-era characters there), but I was looking forward to it due to general appreciation of the DSC novels (haven't had a chance to watch the show yet for various reasons, so the books allow me to get in on it) and the author. @JJMiller has been one of my favorite Star Wars tie-in writers (Kenobi remains my favorite novel of that series to date) and he did not disappoint. Really like the story unfolded with a lot of different viewpoints and different challenges for the characters. The various Easter eggs, like the battle bridge bit, were a lot of fun an well-integrated into the narrative (as much as I like the Reeves-Stevens novels, they so overload their stuff with blatant Easter eggs it can be distracting). Also really appreciated the bits intended to "fix" discrepancies within DSC TV show/books and the larger franchise. Irregardless of how in/out of continuity the tie-ins are at the end of the day, it does really help make everything feel like it's part of the same world, which I think will be the biggest hurdle when I get to watch the show. Agree that it's the best cover in the DSC line to date; it's better composed then the "publicity shots of relevant characters" covers we've gotten before and really eye-catching. As much as my mixed feelings are on the DSC Enterprise redesign being slotted between its two appearances in "Cage" configuration (that ship had a lot of refits -- "Cage" to DSC, to "Cage" to classic TOS -- in a few years!), it is a beautiful redesign in and of itself and I liked seeing it on a piece of artwork. The novel actually reminded me of "A Taste of Armageddon" (TOS) by way of "Year of Hell" (VOY), with a bit of "Balance of Terror" (TOS) in the mix (and I mean all that as a positive; the book's version of the show's analogue ideas was well-handled and a big reason why I enjoyed it). Had actually wondered about the Delphic Expanse bit, given that the NX-01 cew kinda ended the wonky stuff about it the TV show. Course, you never specified what was so dangerous about it, so maybe it was something other then the Sphere Builders' stuff; weird space stuff isn't the only dangers an area can have.