Overall I enjoyed this book, but it felt a bit unfinished - which is okay, given that it's apparently the first in a trilogy from what I understand.
* the Doctor: Hm, another "The Swarm"-like situation looming ahead by trying to avoid a "Latent Image"-problem? I can't reread Zimmerman's letter right now, but was the Doctor aware of all ramifications (I mean the planned ones right now: his love for Seven fading into the background) or did he just ask for a quick fix? And I felt Seven's observation of the Doctor's behaviour being reminiscent of... was it Equinox, part 2? ... well, in any way, of the time where his moral subroutines were damaged quite disastrous. So I'm really looking forward to learning more.
* Cambridge/Seven/Axum: I always wanted to know what happened to Axum after Unimatrix Zero - so I was glad to see that realized. I found the behaviour of SF Medical very disturbing when they dealt with (= got rid off) the Doctor and how they perceived Axum as nothing but an enemy combatant and therefore a test subject (or rather object) without any rights. What Seven felt through their connection (and the epilogue) only confirmed that unease.
Janeway's attitude, though, bothered me the most. Her point of view that SFM knows what they are doing and her belief that Axum will be handled correctly appeared very naive and even disinterested - especially considering the fact that a former Borg/enemy and a technology much more sophisticated than the Federation's are involved. She should have pushed for more information here. But back to Seven, or rather Cambridge: This guy is a counselor? Granted, the relationship between Seven and Axum was never really resolved, so it's okay for him to feel a bit insecure, but the way he practically ended the relationship (not yet overtly but at least internally) screamed immaturity and insecurity even towards his own feelings for Seven because she certainly didn't give him any reason to doubt her. Just the fact that she wants to meet Axum doesn't endanger her relationship with Cambridge - even further, I'd say it shows her level of maturity to want to confront and resolve a past relationship.
* the Ark-planet-plot: I really liked the idea of VOY and Demeter for once not having to fight for their lives - and I enjoyed having them teach the proctors how to save the planet. And I love O'Donnell - to see Chakotay very slowly come to terms with how things work on Demeter was quite fun to read. *g* I'm looking forward to seeing where the Confederacy business is heading.
* Paris: I think Julia's way out of line, grieving or not. I understand where Beyer's coming from, but honestly, shouldn't Miral's welfare be the main focus? And what kind of court should react to a contention of the parents' fitness just because the grandmother was lied to - where is the relevance to the child's welfare? And even the suggestion that every further child would be taken away as well - what kind of legal system/interpretation is that?!? Of course, Tom and B'Elanna didn't handle the whole matter correctly. They acted out of panic, and of course have to face the consequences of lying and falsifying records. But grief is one thing, trying to take away a child quite a different thing. And I hope this whole (legal) process will resolve quickly - because if not, I'd have to doubt the Federation's legal system. Doubting Tom's character starting with his stint in the NZL-penal colony up to now is one thing, and I'd not have any problems with legal charges against him - but Miral's not a part of this, neither are any following children. If he's unfit to be a parent because of his past, then how many people are? And shouldn't measures have been taken back in that colony to make sure he wouldn't father children? Or are people allowed to grow up? That's the question the future books will have to face.
On another note, I could have done without B'Elanna's nesting habits, though. I realize that she didn't have much to contribute to the overall plot but her attempts at renovating seemed a bit over the top.
* Janeway: I have never been a fan of hers and I really hope that she won't take over the book series as she did with the TV-series especially given the way the other characters finally had air to breathe again. I liked her conversation with Picard, her dealings with her mother and that Vulcan secretary. *g* But her breakdown and change of heart came a bit too sudden - and left me with a stale taste in my mouth. As said above her belief in the system, when she herself manipulated and sometimes ignored it whenever *she* felt necessary, annoyed me - be it Axum, be it Tom and B'Elanna, be it The Doctor. I don't know if I like the person she has become after her breakdown because she seems aloof and not as involved (and placing Icheb in SFM doesn't really change that because honestly, what's a cadet going to do?). Her reaction to Chakotay's not being willing to tell her where B'Elanna is awfully reminded me of Scorpion, part I, and Janeway and Chakotay's discussion there, which is, IMO, where the TV-series descended from being about 2 crews to being a show about absolute leader!Janeway. I really hope this will work out differently this time.
I'm looking forward to part 2 in just another 4 months. 6.5/10