Faith bothered me a lot in these chapters, she seemed very out of character. I understand that she wants to atone for what she did, but it almost seems like she's putting the the Council on a pedestal and is pinning all her hopes on them. Whether she wants to make up for her past mistakes or not, the Faith we know never would have willingly ignored Buffy's advice and trusted the Council over Buffy for any reason. No matter how little she trusted Buffy, she always trusted the Council less. Towards the end of the chapter, she seemed to re-evaluate her status, but it wasn't enough for me. Faith was always very 'kill first, ask questions later', but Buffy and later Angel tamed her a little and she was able to see the bigger picture - in that, there's always more to the story than what you see at first glance. I'm hoping Faith comes around to Buffy's way of thinking before too much longer.
The history lesson dumped in the middle of the chapter was not needed, in my opinion. We've said before that these novels are professional fanfic, and I can't help but compare it to the fics that I've written. If I wrote something like this, my beta would have ripped it apart and told me it was completely not needed and to cut it, lol. I feel like there's a lot of stuff in this book that could be cut and still get a decent story out of it.
And, did I miss something? What happened with Giles and Rosanna? The last we saw of her, she was at the door of the shop, and then suddenly she was back in her hotel room. That was a very big jump for what I'm guessing is to build anticipation.
I did like the little midnight meeting with Buffy, Xander and Dawn, even though I spent most of it thinking that Buffy never would have let Dawn accompany Xander in the first place, lol. I felt that their interaction was very natural, from Xander sleeping, to Dawn with the popcorn - despite everything going on - to Dawn asking if Buffy was going to grow tentacles.
But I do think @Bluebird is right - if it wasn't for the characters that we're already familiar with, there would be nothing about this book that would make me want to read it. I can't say that for a lot of the other BtVS novels I've read.
What made me think fanfic was the idea of Faith bring granted temporary leave from prison, really just so we can have her in the story. And like mentioned before, it feels way earlier than season 5. Faith's interactions with Buffy comes across like she hasn't changed much. This isn't the same Faith from AtS S2.
It kinda bothers me that she is released, since it feels ooc. I think she would have told The Council where to go.
Well I had to force myself to pick this one up again. And I don't have much to say on these chapters, except I agree that there are huge chunks of this story we don't need to be reading, and I think the interactions of the Scoobies are the best parts...