As a fan of all things 3025 (or really the Succession Wars) over the latter Battletech timeline eras, I was excited at the prospect of this product. I've played the Harebrained Schemes game, modded it, and enjoyed what it added to the canon.
The format is a throwback to the original 3025 House books, and mimics the internal styling, content, and organization. It also adds features that weren't in the original books, such as an in-depth profile of the House Unit, Rampart Company, and Random Assignment Tables (RATs) for 'mechs, vehicles, and aerospace assets. It even combines features from the old scenario books, such as what is in The Fox's Teeth, which is an excellent addition. The art is good, as are the maps, but in most cases they are simply a reprint of in-game HBS art. It can be a bit confusing too, as some of the Mechwarrior art is recycled to be prominent civilian figures in the profiles. But it is a definite upgrade over the somewhat painful art in the 1980s-era products. Some of the Mechwarrior profiles are those of some HBS in-game ronin characters, which was another nice touch, as most who would read the product are most likely familiar with the characters from the HBS game.
Where the product is lacking is in length. At 77 pages it is more than a bit light. For comparison, House Davion The Federated Suns book is the longest at 204 pages, and House Liao The Capellan Confederation is the shortest at 160 pages, which is still more than twice the length of House Arano. Profiles of the other house and mercenary units appearing in the deployment table are missing, and the arts & economic sections are downright anemic (of the three businesses, two are on Mechdur. What about the rest of the Reach?). The history section is short, but then I wouldn't expect it to be as robust as the major houses, and it DOES contain a nice summary of the Reach's history in an attempt to meld it into the canon timeline and explain its insignificance to the last 30 years of canon. It even has a spoiler-free summary of the HBS game, as well as amusing, in-universe assessments and conspiracies over the events of The Restoration. The section on the Aurigan Houses is four pages, but is really only two given that art takes up 2/3 of two pages. The atlas section is useful, and fleshes out planets that are all-too-familiar from all the missions in the HBS game.
Finally, It was with a sense of relief that I discovered that Catalyst avoided all the gender and pronoun controversy of the HBS game with this product. I was skeptical at first, given whom was chosen to accomplish all the writing. Fortunately, they chose a neutral path in their advocacy, which makes for a more enjoyable (and less politically charged) gaming experience. No worries about starting unneccesary arguments with your gaming group!
All in all, I highly recommend this product. While I want more from it, it is an excellent attempt to replicate the legacy House material. I truly hope Catalyst re-prints the original 3025-era works, and perhaps update/RetCon some of the material (and art!) to match the effort they put into House Arano The Aurigan Reach. This makes a fine addition to my Succcession Wars sourcebooks, and I look forward to using it with my gaming group.