The Uplift War is a sprawling, multifaceted story that is at once grand and mundane in focus. Brin weaves the plans of galactic civilizations together with the individual stories of humans, aliens, and chimps. His novel is a mosaic of stories that come together to a grand finale that is, if not spectacular, at least satisfying.
I found myself wanting to hear more about his universe and less about his characters. I did grow fond of the chimp, Fiben, but otherwise, I was not particularly taken with the others. I don't think that's precisely what Brin had in mind. Part of the issue is, I think, the massive weight of the story--it is several hundred pages long, but somehow doesn't seem to utilize its length effectively.
Brin deals fairly with his alien conquerors, setting them up not as Snidely Whiplash villains but as, well, aliens with a different agenda. The internal politics among the Gubru were fascinating and thoroughly alien. My only complaint was that they seemed borderline incompetent--the humans, chimps and aliens that make up the ragtag heroes of the story seem to thwart them at every turn.
All in all, The Uplift War and the entire triolgy are well worth a read.