In my opinion, the negative reviews this book is getting are based solely on the fact that it didn't give people what they wanted. They expected Fearful Symmetry to continue the action of Warpath, to provide confrontation and lots of plot twists. I can see why they're disappointed, but I also think there's a ton of great stuff going on with this book. Keep an open mind, and you'll enjoy it.
Where Warpath was all about action and drama, Fearful Symmetry slows down and really lets the characters shine. Sisko's scene at the beginning of side 1 gives the purpose in a nutshell: to look at the possibilities and paths things might take. All of the characters get their screen time, even the minor ones. Olivia Woods has them all down pat, and does an excellent job of making you want to know what happens to them next. I'm sad that I have to wait another year for The Soul Key and The Never Ending Sacrifice (August and September 2009), but now I want to read them more than ever.
As for Iliana's story, yes, it's brutal. But it's not graphic...Woods doesn't get into detail for the brutal parts. What she does achieve, however, is to make Iliana Ghemor into a deep, sympathetic villain. I almost find myself rooting for her after reading her story. And the way the two sides of the flipbook intersect is brilliant. Just make sure you read side 1 first.
I would give the book five stars if it were longer. If Pocketbooks were serious about keeping these stories going, they should get them out more often. Otherwise, they're going to lose readers who are tired of waiting.