My issue with Chewie's death wasn't that it was a death, it was pretty much what you said: the death was pointless and didn't reverberate. It was supposed to be some sort of ground-shaking development, but it ended up being a throwaway. And all of the writing that came after it, with Han basically sulking and wandering around alone, was pretty bad because of it.
I agree with you on Anakin, he was easily the most interesting character in there, and the one that developed the most. And while his death was huge and impactful, it didn't need to happen. Again, it was mostly for effect because the story itself wasn't reverberating where characters were. I would have much rather seen Jacen go, as it would have saved us the entire storyline that followed (and the whole Nest Trilogy especially), and the same effect could have been done. More than that, it could have made Jaina a far more interesting character, since she spent most of the NJO as pretty one-dimensional.
There were good parts of the story, and good writing in there (the last good, especially, was quite good). And when the Vong were focused, it worked well. But the whole trope of overwhelming force that just tears through is what bugged me (the superweapon vs. undepowered guys thing). And that the whole thing was happening from basically nowhere, outside the galaxy and from an unknown adversary, made them have less of a punch. Then again, it probably didn't help that all of the writing about Vong technology and weapons made me keep imagining Cobra-La.
Oh, and don't forget that we got like six books of C-3PO being even more whiny and useless than he was in the movies, because he was scared of being melted down.
If the above post didn't offend you, you're probably reading it wrong.