I just finished a re-read of the whole series. Once Apocalypse drew near I had to give the whole thing another whirl and I gotta say, it reads better as a series when read back to back and not two or three times a year. The complete overhaul of the Jedi Order and the balances lain out are quite difficult to unravel when considering the title and the future/past of the 9 books as a whole. Much was revealed in the final installment that gave it a new idea of direction, but when looking back at it the entire series felt disjointed until I burnt through that all at once.
Abeloth was...an interesting character to say the least. She is all at once an amazing character and an odd one that feels out of place, and indeed she was both of these things. Her creation and her escape from her world wound up being the most interesting part of the series, whereas I could have cared less about the Lost Tribe of the Sith outside of Vestara, who's character arc I have been completely in love with until I reached the end of Ascension and it kind of took a left turn there and went back to being...oddly enough, predictable. By trying to avoid the redemption story they took the super-obvious route, and to me that was a mistake.
The story-by-story revisiting of the Bantam Spectra era stories almost felt like a cleanup. They removed all of Luke's old girlfriends, acknowledged the worlds and kept people happy that they still existed, and were able to give enough background on them that newcomers wouldn't feel lost about it all. The Maw (Jedi Academy Trilogy), Dathomir (Courtship of Princess Leia), Pydyr (Black Fleet Crisis, and of course Nam Choirios (Planet of Twilight) were all brought back and afterwards they felt...cleaned up. People complain a lot about the BS era (pun intended) but it gave us memorable characters and for many of us it is where we started reading Star Wars, and even though it was full of standalone books and trilogies and far less concentration of keeping an ongoing story it worked in an odd way. This series reminds us that the history of Star Wars hasn't been forgotten (even though the Yuuzhan Vong war is largely ignored since DN, which was awful).
Characterization-wise we got several different ways of seeing it, but I have to say the newcomer (Golden) didn't hold up the the challenge as well as hoped. She handled one character well - Vestara. She wrote her first, she kept her interesting, and she clearly knows how to write about teenage romance. Sadly, this skill didn't work when writing Luke or Leia or even Han. Luke was handled best by Denning, who also revisited Caedus/Mara/Anakin Solo and made their appearances memorable and interesting. Han and Leia, by contrast, were handled best by Allston. This is all at once the best and worst part of series like this. Some authors have a better grasp on certain characters than other writers do, and while this means we get a rotating spotlight we also get an uneven feel. Remember Legacy of the Force? Remember Traviss's Mando-Man-Crush? Does anyone else feel that Denning botched Invincible? I just get the feeling that if series were handled as trilogies by one author it would be more direct, more focused, and easier to maintain consistency.
The most fun one can have in literature is politics right!? Well, even if it isn't your thing there was plenty throughout. From the intrigue of the Moffs to Daala and her Mandos, the press watched everything. This whole series did what the prequel trilogy could never figure out: it made the politics of the Star Wars EU interesting and thought-out. That's all I'll say on this.
The final two external references in the story went far forward and far back, touching on The Clone Wars television show as well as the Legacy comics, and it will be a couple years before we can truly understand whether this succeeded or failed, we will merely have to wait and see.
This series really did make up for LotF, and it helped make sense of a lot of it in several ways. The ending left ME unsatisfied and let down (only right at the end and only a little) but we still have the aftermath of this to deal with and who knows what will happen. I definitely recommend reading it all at once instead of the way it was released which will mean a couple books a year and you forgetting things or getting that disjointed feeling. Sit down, take the time, and burn through it. You'll be worn out, but you'll be happier with it.
Perfection is a lifelong pursuit requiring sacrifice. The only way to get it quicker is to sacrifice the most.