What fun! Another fun space opera series! Actually, it's hard to tell if it's going to be a series. I notice there's only one sequel and no discussion of another book after that. A girl can dream.
The absolute, hands-down, brilliant part of this book is that its core concepts are firmly part of our current times. Almost every plot device involves something that has caused a lot of social unrest in our world (eg, race relations, marriage equality). Chambers creates an environment in which humans have joined a galaxy full of other species, and, lo and behold, humans are not the best at everything. In other space operas, we always are because of our sense of fair play or our striving for new avenues. In this book, we're less equal than the rest because it's taken us a lot longer to be accepted into a future that doesn't have problems with personal space or rigid family hierarchies (vastly different among the other species). Granted, there's still plenty of conflict. However, it is downright refreshing to read a space opera that doesn't revolve around "humans are best" and "guys are even more the best".
Plus, the whole crew of this spacecraft like each other a ton, and when they don't like each other, they work it out. They treat each other like family - a lot like the Firefly family, but not because they are not all, you guessed it, human. Also, did I say it was humorous? It's freakin' humorous, people.