After six books that have somewhat felt like they have been treading water, the seventh finally pushes the various storylines along. It is not that the writing style is particularly pacier than what has been before in this nine book series, just that the characters have stopped running round in seemingly repetitive circles whilst having a lot of similar conversations. Events have actually progressed.
The Tahiri trial has stopped hovering in the background and developed. This has made her a more interesting character again (especially towards the close of the novel). Daala's situation has also become more interesting (especially with her interaction with a particular infamous character) and the Jedi have become proactive at long last.
The whole slavery subplot finally gels with the main storylines. This provides some strong roles for Han and Allana (who continues to progress intriguingly as a character that could be hugely important in later Star Wars novels). It also gives C3PO one of his more active roles in the Star Wars novels. The whole Allana storyline has breathed new life into the old characters of Han and C3PO.
The Jedi/Sith/Abeloth situation is still on-going but it does develop somewhat, suggesting something special might come out of this plot before the end of the series.
This is an enjoyable book which is probably the best of the series so far. It is a positive `omen' for the last two books.