Okay, it's not the exciting revelation that Full Circle was. But then, how could it be? Full Circle restarted the Voyager line that had so far greatly disappointed me and made me care again; it put characters through a once-in-a-lifetime kind of emotional wringer; it surprised me by making what I used to think was a dumb reset button idea -- sending Voyager back to the Delta Quadrant -- work.
Unworthy, then, had to deal with higher expectations, and it had to do so without the kind of fireworks Full Circle had. It is, really, the first book in the new direction of the series. It had to finish getting all its pieces into place, answer some outstanding questions from Full Circle, and set up some business for future books in the series. And it did that, generally very well (a little predictably in a few cases), by doing a solid Star Trek exploration story and letting all the character stuff come into play in and around that story.
Were there bits I didn't like? Well, I wasn't crazy about the Chakotay/Seven/Icheb scene in Seven's mind early on; a little too woowoo for me, though I seem to recall it was reasonably consistent with some actual televised woowoo. And I think some of the pieces came together a little too easily by the end of the story, but at least the Tom and Harry storyline and the blaming Chakotay storyline reflected the fact that it shouldn't be easy for everyone to move past some of the events of the last few years.
Overall, though, if I'm not quite as blown away as I was by Full Circle, I am nonetheless quite happy with Unworthy. We get to see how the fleet works together. We learn more about newer characters like Eden, Batiste, and Cambridge; the latter in particular still comes across as way too much like Hugh Laurie as House for comfort, but damn if it doesn't work. I wonder whether future books will follow up on the possibility of a Cambridge/Seven relationship.
Seven is only one of the familiar faces to get a lot of development here. She's dealing with the post-Caeliar letdown and trying to work out who she is and what her place is, and she resolves those here. Chakotay, B'Elanna, and Tom also all find their places for the foreseeable future, and though the idea that they're all back off into the Delta Quadrant together again does seem like a bit of a reset button, the stories that lead them back there all make sense for the characters.
The alien culture that features in the story is an interesting one as well: symbiotic aliens who hope to be found worthy of joining the Borg, but who weren't really worth assimilating, because from the Borg perspective, they just don't have anything to offer. However, the Voyager gang seem to vacillate a bit on whether they're bad guys or just good guys who have been misled and too bad about all the death and destruction they've caused in neighbouring systems. They don't seem to need The Eight to do some heinous things, and I'm not convinced that The Eight are a problem in need of revisiting any time soon. Disembodied consciousnesses that can take over bodies have been done a few too many times in Trek.
Janeway, by the way, is still dead, but she's often in characters' thoughts. Tuvok is mentioned a couple of times as well.
The title, Unworthy, comes into play in a number of ways: the aliens are unworthy of being assimilated. Seven thinks she was found unworthy of joining the Caeliar. and there are a couple of story threads that involve people deciding other people found them unworthy of being trusted. Hell, even Reg Barclay feels unworthy; he's interested in a woman but can't imagine she'd reciprocate his feelings.
So, overall, an enjoyable book that tells a story complete in itself while also moving various series arc elements forward, a book I enjoyed and that has me looking forward to the next book in the series and (if they're not the same thing) Beyer's next Trek book, whenever it may come.