This is a really solid book. Not amazing, not awesome, but in no way did I find it bad.
This novel covers the colonization of Mars, from the first landing, to a couple of waves of settlers after that. The story isn't strictly linear, starting on Mars, and then flashing-back to when the team was chosen, trained, and traveled to Mars (and subsequently settled and built). There was a significant event, with the Lost colony, running off to the "south" and disappearing until the end of the novel. I was disappointed that they didn't cover the colony more, but I think it was just a set up for the sequel anyway.
I thought the Rebellion was interesting, especially how it was compared to rebellions that have taken place on Earth and how the Mars colonists thought they could gain the ends they sought, and I enjoyed the different tactics that various first 100 members used when they were involved with the Rebellion.
I did like the mix of story and technical information on Mars. I don't know why, but I've been reading a lot of novels set on Mars lately and it's been interesting to supplement the (usually pretty correct) details brought up in the books with non-fiction reading and learning.
I feel like there was a little bit of artistic license taken when Robinson found a way to make the first settlers live for a very long time so they could remain in the story over a longer period of time.
The characters were not one note, but they weren't terribly complex either. I didn't like anyone in the book, and I didn't find any of the characters engaging, either. None of the characters drew me in, even when they were engaged in realistic behaviors I find frustrating, I couldn't bring myself to care. Definitely a (slow) plot and politic driven novel vs anything character driven. The story was told through multiple viewpoints and covered everything from scientific disputes, to interpersonal relationships and politics.
So definitely a solid book. I wouldn't recommend it for someone unless they had a thing for Mars, but then again, I'm sure anyone with a thing for Mars would have gotten to this book before asking me anything.