I realized reading Star by Star that with all of Denning's novels, he has really good parts in them, but I feel like he also has a lot of bad stuff in them too, so ultimately none of his novels stand out to me as being great.
I think Star by Star is partially victimized by its placement in the chronology of the New Jedi Order, particularly when it is read consecutively. I feel that Vector Prime, Onslaught, Ruin, Jedi Eclipse, and Hero's Trial flow pretty well, and starting with Balance Point, the flow is disrupted by two novels that are smaller in scale. The series length storyline of the Yuuzhan Vong War pauses as the Yuuzhan Vong haven't done anything since the Battle of Fondor, and after taking Duro, cease their invasion altogether under the pretense of a truce in exchange for Jedi.
What transpires in Balance Point, Conquest, and Rebirth are mostly character moments with little series plot development, apart from the first insinuations of redeeming the Yuuzhan Vong via the bottom of their caste system, the Shamed Ones.
Star by Star does have the fall of Coruscant, but I feel as though the Mission to Myrkr, as Wookieepedia calls it, really has the same lack of significance to the overall series that the prior three books do. Yes, Anakin Solo dies on it, but the Voxyn are only a threat in that single book. The overall significance of that mission in the grand scheme of the series, apart from the fact that Anakin dies on it, is really not significant, and yet a whole lot of time is spent on it.
I think way too much time is spent on it and it really feels like it drags on. I found it unbelievable in the context of the series that Anakin Solo is placed in charge of the team, with the contrivance that Ganner Rhysode is the "decoy leader," especially when the prior two books have just established that Anakin is an absolute loose cannon that, in the prior novel, absolutely drove Corran Horn nuts because he disobeyed pretty much every single thing Corran told him to do.
And yeah, I thought the characterizations in this novel were off! Especially Jacen. It seems like Denning went out of his way to make Jacen extremely obnoxious and contrarian. I found Anakin Solo was also extremely annoying and hypocritical. Denning also put a lot of sexual innuendo in this novel that stands out in contrast with the prior novels.
I think that the New Jedi Order series, as a whole, started off on the right track with the first five novels, but then the next five novels (Balance Point, Edge of Victory, Star by Star, Dark Journey) are kind of the down point in the series. I suspect that part of it has to do with the fact that originally after Balance Point, the Knightfall trilogy was planned but cancelled, and they had to improvise with the series plotline.
"Trust not the words of a poet, as he is born to seduce. Yet for poetry to seize the heart, it must ring with the chimes of truth.”
“The world is understood through metaphors. Language is a metaphor-system. Mathematics is a metaphor-system. All real-world schools of magic and religion revolve around the understanding of vast metaphor-systems, symbols as they relate to concepts."
"See, the thing is, everything everyone tells you is a lie. The truth is always bigger than the words we use to describe it."