I've read the book, and I've read the reviews, and I felt compelled to write a review.
I give the book four stars out of five based on the fact that it's a pulp sci-fi book, and not intended to be a great work of fiction. If you want great fiction, look elsewhere, but like I've said in other reviews, if you're wanting a good time to imagine somewhere else...this series is a good bit of fun.
That being said, it's also worth noting I've been a fan of the Battletech/Mechwarrior universe since the 1980's. While I sympathize with some of the reviewers here, I respectfully disagree. Having a long series one exciting battle after another is fun, but if you want a series of books to last beyond five or ten books, you sometimes have to build more background, which isn't always going to be done in the most exciting manner.
As one reviewer noted, members of the clans are almost alien. While much attention has been given to their reasons for fighting and their skill at doing just that, why they think and do things differently than other humans just hasn't really been well developed. This book aims to change that, by taking one individual clan member, and showing us his upbringing, his thoughts, his struggles. In fact, by showing us the "heretic," it gives us a much better view of the psyche of a clanner. One of the chief themes of the book is a universal one, "what is my role in the universe." It's one of those things that almost everyone goes through at some point, but the point of this book is that those in the clans rarely if ever doubt their role. The book not only tells us this, but shows us why by exploring the childhood of those in the clans and interactions between adult members.
In fact, looking at the series as a whole, it's surprising that there are children at all in the Battletech/Mechwarrior universe, as they are so rarely seen.
Why four stars? Well, the book was enjoyable and well written (but with the editorial errors as noted, so minus one star), but more importantly it's given me more insight into the entire universe, so after this book I'll enjoy seeing clans more, and Nova Cats in particular. As a member of the military in real life, knowing why people fight is important to me. It will be fun when they go back to their epic battles, but now I'll care just a little bit more since I have a better appreciation for why. That difference is worth four stars any day.