I'm a long-time fan of David Weber's Honor Harrington series, whose protagonist is an officer in the Manticore Space Navy. She's a native of Sphinx, a planet with higher gravity (and thus stronger people) and a sentient native species called treecats (also strong, also known as people). Treecats are a fairly large (60 cm) sort of ferret/feline mix with six limbs (2 hands, 2 hand-feet, 2 feet) that look very snuggly and sweet until they rip someone's face off for threatening them or the people (human or 'cat) with whom they've bonded. They are both empathic and telepathic, though humans don't know the full extent of their sentience until a few generations after the 'cats are first discovered.
When I re-read Weber, I generally skim the battles and the engineering to focus on the treecats (and other relationships). Weber and others have written a few short stories that I've thoroughly enjoyed, so I was all kinds of excited when I found out that he'd co-written a full-length story with Jane Lindskold: Treecat Wars. While it's set in the "Honorverse," its characters are from the generation that discovered the treecats (specifically, Honor's ancestor, Stephanie Harrington). No Space Navy, no endless engineering descriptions, no battles.
Well, not so much. It's fine. There's interesting back-story on the Honorverse and 'cats. But I didn't realize it's a young adult title (though I enjoy the Divergent, Hunger Games, Golden Compass, and Percy Jackson books* and adore Harry Potter), which may be why it felt so very, erm... young. Dunno.
It's a quick, easy read. You certainly could read it with no prior knowledge of the Honorverse. I kinda doubt you'd enjoy it much, but you wouldn't have any trouble understanding it. There are references to the other stories (specifically Linda Evans' "The Stray" from Worlds of Honor), which are not particularly important to the plot. And the plot does hum along and the book does provide details that aren't found elsewhere.
Overall, I'd give a "cautious recommendation" for those who love the 'verse or the 'cats and a "don't bother" for those who don't.
* not a fan of Twilight