Kotani and Roberts' Island Worlds series doesn't pretend to be any more than it is - straightforward light SF adventure. On that promise it delivers, though this fourth installment is beginning to show some of the seams. A fair amount of what happens is decidedly unlikely, but taken for what it is, the story is a fun, easy read. Where the authors go slightly wrong is in providing far too pat an ending to what should have been complex and interesting situation.
Some characters from previous books turn up, namely Derek Kuroda (on the fringes), and Sieglinde Kornfeld-Taggart, who once again is the lone genius above ordinary humans. This time, though, she's a lot more annoying and less fun; there are only so many times you can use the gumpy-genius-saves-all thing in one series.
As far as I know, this book was the end of the series, and that's probably a good thing. What was a nice adventure was starting to wear thin. Better to end on this slightly off note than keep playing.
If you want some easy SF adventure, I definitely recommend the series. It's quick reading and you'll enjoy it. This particular book does stand alone, but it's more rewarding as part of the chain than on its own.