I received this book from the publisher, Hachette, at no cost. It’s out now; RRP $32.99 for the trade paperback.
I love James SA Corey and his (their) capacity to write awesome words that simultaneously lift up the heart and rip it to shreds. Previously, on this topic, see these posts. If you’re already on the Expanse train, you don’t need to read a review; you probably already have a copy or you’ve got it lined up for Christmas or something. If you haven’t read them yet… well, if you’re into space opera and deeply compelling characters and an epic, long-running saga where the books get published on time (burn), and you’re not intimidated by this being book 7, you should just go get yourself Leviathan Wakes already and START READING.
I can’t talk about this book without spoiling the rest of the series. You’re warned.
… and further, perhaps with this book more than any other of the series, I can’t even really talk about the BOOK without spoiling it, and I want to give massive kudos to the blurb writer who managed not to spoil the first page which, folks, is such a game-changer that I had to re-read it a few times to actually grasp what it was telling me. My darling has seen the TV show and it’s killing me that I can’t tell him about the first page. This never happens, because we basically don’t ever read the same stuff, so I can spill my angst about characters or authors without spoiling him for things. But this time? Oh, no. Now he’s invested in the TV version and he doesn’t even want me discussing those things what happens to Miller.
So… the non-spoiler version is that as always we follow our redoubtable Roci and her crew. Unexpected and probably bad things happen to our solar system. I continue to really like Holden while simultaneously appreciating that he continues to be complicated, both as a person and in the way people view him; Naomi and Bobbie vie for my very favourite, while Amos and Alex aren’t too far off. I continue to want to be Avasarala when I grow up. I love the way that politics are presented – messy and fraught and difficult and lived-in and having serious consequences. This is not an easy future that Corey imagines for us. It’s just so damned human. Also, w00t for the Roman history overtones. There’s battles and there’s conspiracy and there’s making the wrong decisions and just being wonderfully human. Argh, I love it and it hurts my heart and I want the next book sooner than I’ll get it…
Spoiler below in case you’ve read it or don’t care…
OMG THIRTY YEARS WHAT EVEN AAAAAAHHHHHH.
That’s basically my reaction to the opening page.
I initially thought the story would then flick back in time… but noooo. My friends got more than twenty years older in what, 10 months since I read the last book? That’s a staggering narrative move. I mean, I had been wondering where this book would go and what Corey could do to keep the momentum – I didn’t really doubt that it was possible, just that I couldn’t see it. But losing so many years was so deeply, deeply unexpected. Of course it’s incredibly clever given that it allows for that dirtbag messianic Duarte to present himself with a whole new fleet and Singh to basically have no knowledge of humanity’s original solar system, when they come back through.
Corey has zero interest in your easy happily ever afters, folks.