Leviathan Wakes (The Expanse) – Book Review
An old-fashioned space opera that will appeal to fans of Peter F. Hamilton and the like . . .
by James S.A. Corey, Orbit
June 25th sees the release of Caliban’s War, the second book in the so-called Expanse series of books. So there’s still some time before then to check out Leviathan Wakes, the first novel in this new science fiction series by James S.A. Corey. (James S.A. Corey is of course for the pseudonym for fantasy author Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck, Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin’s assistant).
Leviathan Wakes will appeal most to fans of hard SF and space opera. Clocking in at just below 600 pages or so, it is a summer blockbuster read ideal for holidays by the beach.
Several centuries from now and mankind have colonized the planets in our solar system, but the stars themselves are beyond our reach. An idealistic ice miner named Holden and his crew investigate a distress signal only to become the victims of an unwarranted attack by an unknown spaceship. Parallel to this story is that of a cynical burnt out detective named Miller (natch) who must investigate the mysterious disappearance of a young woman.
Needless to say their paths will cross as the various factions within the solar system – Earth, Mars and the outer planets – slowly drift towards all-out war. Characterization may be sketchy (Holden is too much of a moralizing space cadet sort and a bit of a pain in the butt whilst Miller is the flip side of the coin), but the pace is fast and the whole affair has a tough gritty feel to it. It’s perhaps not as memorable as other entries in this subgenre such as Dan Simmon’s Hyperion series or Peter F. Hamilton’s Night’s Dawn books, but Leviathan Wakes is a fun page-turner.
Leviathan Wakes may be flawed in that the last half of the book isn’t as good as the first half, but the chances are quite excellent that you’d want to pick up future installments in this welcome new series. Check it out.