Close to getting 4 stars, but I never was rooting for any one character. Maybe that's just how Cherryh depicted every one? There's not necessarily a "hero" per se, and I did like that about the novel. Yet, all the characters seemed so cold.
At first this is a hard book to follow because Downbelow doesn't give a lot of exposition or explanation for what happens. Generally, if it seems like the story is alluding to something, then the reader can assume it is true. I don't think Cherryh was trying to trick anyone, but write subtly. In that way I understand why it may be difficult to get into the book because you have to pay attention. There's a lot happening!
The hisa were my favorite. Even though they seemed like hairy carebears and sappy sweet, they got to me. I wish more of the book was told through their pov.
I was surprised by how focused the whole story was mainly on the station, the planet secondary. It was interesting to have a sci-fi space oriented novel have everything occur in a small area. Usually everyone is shooting all over the place.
I think Cherryh did well depicting the military and social issues of war. There isn't always a clear decision and it is impossible have things be fair for everyone. I think the characters acted true to their personalities. No one had over the top deus ex machina parts.