Monday, July 7, 2014

Mini book review: Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey

Chalk up another one for my coworker S: he recommended Leviathan Wakes (and its successors in The Expanse series, which I have not yet read, all written by "James S.A. Corey," the pen name of Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck) to me and, once again, like his successful recommendation of Joe Abercrombie to me earlier, knocked it out of the park.  I tend more towards fantasy than science fiction but I loved Leviathan Wakes.  Bravo.

The novel's scope is huge, beginning with an alien organism taking over a blue collar space hauler, then moving to intricate world building (where Earth has colonized Mars and further small interplanetary bodies, collectively known as the Belt) and political tensions.  There is a binary of point-of-view characters: Miller, a jaded, world-weary detective tasked with tracking down the errant daughter of wealthy parents; and Holden, the loyal, righteous, charming XO of a doomed spaceship, who stumbles on a massive, destructive secret.  The chapters alternate with Miller's and Holden's storylines until they merge, brought together by the burgeoning galactic war.

Holden and Miller are well-developed characters, Holden's remaining three person crew (Martian pilot Alex, Belter engineer Naomi, and Earther mechanic Amos) only slightly less so.  The world-building is so huge, however, that the corporate and political organizations got a little fuzzy to me - I just couldn't keep track of who was who, who hated whom, who was sabotaging the other.  Didn't really matter - still a lot of fun.  Leviathan Wakes definitely has a Firefly vibe to it, with the repartee among Holden and his crew, the galactic conspiracies and the interplanetary colonies' struggles against the richer, stronger inner planets.

The next book in the series is Caliban's War.  I can't wait to pick that one up and dive back into The Expanse.

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