I felt like this was very clinical. The setting meant little, the characters meant little. I DID enjoy getting a love story out of basically Uhura falling in love with Spock. It was plausible and it even made me a bit happy. The last 20 pages basically RUINED the love story, however.
It is important to note that about 200 pages of this book (i.e., most of it) is a scientific expedition. That's about as sexy as any anthropology expedition would be.
Over all, this book left me lukewarm and wanting something that was straight up Star Trek, rather than pretending not to be.