I'm giving this 3 1/2 stars. (is there a way to give half stars? lol)
This is a good book but I didn't walk away feeling amazed or really reveling over everything that happens like I would a truly amazing book.
I can't write a summary without major spoilers so suffice it to say that essentially humans are space traders, the Qeng Ho, or those that stick to a planet mostly. One of the fleets of Qeng Ho heads for a system that hasn't been explored and promises much fortune and contact with the first living alien species. In this universe the humans have never found a surviving and contemporary alien civilization. The major issue is that another group of humans have moved in on the prize along with the Qeng Ho, the Emergents. The Emergents made the Borg from Star Trek TNG look honest and mild IMO. As far as enemies go they are five star enemies.
I agree with other reviewers that the aliens (spiders) in the story are extremely anthropomorphic. These spiders are more humanized than humanoid aliens I've read about in other sci fi books lol. I think that it's almost impossible to create a 'truly' alien alien. One way or another an author is going to make them seem human and one of the easiest ways an author can help destroy the comfort zone with another intelligent species is to make them physically drastically different and or disgusting. Unless you have a serious spider phobia this isn't an issue. In fact I was confused at the start of the book because other than subtle hints in speech and description I thought the spiders were humans!
My main issue with the book is that I think the spiders were too forgiving.
The ending is satisfying if you prefer to have all loose ends taken care of. I will read the 'next' installment of this to see how the journey continues because I'm honestly interested in what happens to the characters that journeys on to his next quest.
The good: truly bad enemies, a sense of epic time/aging, I highlighted a few passages because they were emotionally provoking and beautiful
The bad: aliens were far too human despite beings spiders, the ending seemed too after school special.