Humanity has colonized the solar system – Mars, the Moon, the Asteroid Belt and beyond – but the stars are still out of our reach.
Jim Holden is XO of an ice miner making runs from the rings of Saturn to the mining stations of the Belt. When he and his crew stumble upon a derelict ship, the Scopuli, they find themselves in possession of a secret they never wanted. A secret that someone is willing to kill for – and kill on a scale unfathomable to Jim and his crew. War is brewing in the system unless he can find out who left the ship and why.
Detective Miller is looking for a girl. One girl in a system of billions, but her parents have money and money talks. When the trail leads him to the Scopuli and rebel sympathizer Holden, he realizes that this girl may be the key to everything.
Holden and Miller must thread the needle between the Earth government, the Outer Planet revolutionaries, and secretive corporations – and the odds are against them. But out in the Belt, the rules are different, and one small ship can change the fate of the universe.
- Title: Leviathan Wakes (The Expanse #1)
- Author: James S.A. Corey
- Genre: Science Fiction, Space Opera
The Goodreads summery basically covers everything plot related I’d be willing to mention myself so I’ll forgo that in this review. I will say that in addition to be a science fiction and space opera story there are elements of noir and horror. Anytime the story is being told through Miller it’s noir so about half the book.
The horror was teased right away, and as the story develops it surfaces more, but honestly it’s drawn with a light touch. I say that using myself as a gauge as I’m not a fan of horror. I won’t even watch scary movies at home. I won’t do it!
There are a couple of things I really liked about this book. First, this is space opera just on a small scale. You space battles, new locales, politics, a looming threat to all life as we know it, and a memorable space ship(s) flown by a small close-knit crew ala Firefly. It’s just that the locales are all planets, moons, and space stations within our own solar system. The major factions are all human, but sufficiently different from each other to seem slightly alien. Also while the crew is reminiscent of Firefly Holden is a boy scout not a rogue. It works though.
Don’t get me wrong I love me some Star Wars scale space opera with numerous alien species, and exotic planets where the roguish captain must save the galaxy. Reading a space opera on a miniature scale was a nice change of pace however. I enjoyed reading about this adventure which was happening right outside. I mean I knew all the places we were going to, or if not I knew kind of where they were located relative to Earth. It made the adventure more real somehow.
Secondly, I enjoyed the opposite way both Holden and Miller saw the world they live in. Holden is a good guy who genuinely believes most other people are good as well, and that given the choice they will do the right thing. Miller on the other hand is jaded, and morally ambiguous. For him the good thing, and right thing are not always the same. When he’s forced to choose between them he will follow his own code. Such as it is.
The author(s) had these characters at odds over transparency, and the release of sensitive information quite often. For Holden the right thing to do is to put all the information out there for the people to see. In his view secrets are the darkness from which evil is birthed. Miller believes that some truths are better left unsaid. That the consequences, foreseeable and not, of exposing some secrets to the public is often more damaging than the secrets themselves. In the interview at the back of the book the author(s) state, and I’m paraphrasing here, that they did this knowing that when it comes down to it both sides are right, and at the same time both sides are wrong. Somewhere in the middle is the truth.
These differing world views, and the fact that this all takes place in our solar system makes for a very realistic and gritty story. I’m not sure I’d want this to become the new norm for the genre, but I did enjoy it a lot. I look forward to continuing the series.
This has no bearing on the story whatsoever, but I love that James S.A. Corey is actually a pen name for two co-authors (Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck)!
My Rating: ☆☆☆☆
- Title: Kushiel’s Avatar (Phedre’s Trilogy #3)
- Author: Jacqueline Carey
- Genre: Fantasy, Romance