After A Time to Be Born I had rather low expectations for this book, and thankfully they were exceeded. The descriptions are good if not as spectacular as Vornholt can do. The characterisations are good, if slightly shallow. Kell Perim and Christina Vale not only get "face time", in this book they actually have personalities. Wesley Crusher is the major character of this book, and his sections are well done. Vornholt did a very good job integrating his abilities with the rest of the crew. They change the dynamic of how the crew operates, but they don't push the rest of the crew into the background. With that said, Colleen Cabot was overused and it was too much of a shift from her character in the first book. Also, she and Wesley basically meet, then jump in the sack. Their 'relationship' has no emotional depth to interest the reader. Finally, the beginning of the book, dealing with politics and Starfleet Command, really disturbed me. An Admiral basically orders Cabot to prepare to program Picard, and her only objection is that she likes him. Also, at the end, I was left with the impression that Command wants Picard destroyed, and their efforts will be a major subplot of the series. I wish they would drop that. Too late now, I guess.
Overall, I did enjoy this book. It is a good mystery and adventure story. It could certainly have been better, but unlike A Time to Be Born, this was actually worth reading.