This was a terrific novel filled with wit, sharp dialogue, and an imaginative premise. Durango, Mimi, and the rest of the davos are characters, not unlike the Firefly crew, I would very much like to meet again. The queen, in particular, was delightfully, maniacally, homicidally psychotic. I enjoyed her more than any other villain I've read in quite some time.
Gill's Mars was intriguing, a unique culture that I can easily see as an extension and believable amalgamation of our own. The exploration of individual values versus established Tenets, between what's acceptable, accepted, and exceptional principles, provided a tense setup internally as Durango searched for balance in what it means to be a leader.
I appreciated the first half of the book for its crisply written, fairly straightforward, uncomplicated plot which was enhanced by a manageable and memorable cast. The second half though... suddenly exploded with subplots and flashbacks and extraneous plot devices that left me scratching my head on more than one occasion. I wondered if I had missed not only a couple of chapters but an entire prequel. Some incidents were random, like the little girl who magically appeared in the middle of a battle scene wanting to play with Jenkins. The rugrat was charming, yes, but heretofore un-introduced and never seen again thereafter. The beginning of several plot lines seemed to have been left on the cutting room floor.
The author seemed to take a bit of a scattershot perspective as he attempted the unenviable task of worldbuilding on an alien planet and establishing the foundation for sequels while sacrificing some of the momentum and background necessary for this book. Understand too that if I had to choose between an author who erred by excessively telling versus excessively showing I'd immediately pick up the former, as happened here. Without question, Gill is speaking to his audience's intelligence and not the lowest common denominator.
All told, I'd roundly recommend "Black Hole Sun" to anyone for it's explosive action and deft characterization. I enjoyed the ride so much that I'll easily forgive its flaws and eagerly anticipate the sequel.