Bland characters and bad writing make Mote a tough read. After fighting my way halfway through I decided reading a synopsis would be enough.
What annoyed me most are the human characters. All of them. They are just a collection of stereotypes without any depth. Having them live in a society that is basically Europe in the Victorian age in space doesn't help. I feel you could tell the same story on earth with sailing ships.
Their actions, when dealing with an alien species, are laughable and painful to read. You can just watch a bunch of clueless buffoons fumble their way through first contact.