Cannonball Read IV

A bunch of Pajibans reading and reviewing and honoring AlabamaPink.

Archive for the tag “James S. A. Corey”

Malin’s #CBR4 Review #76: Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey

Summary from Goodreads, because I’m feeling lazy, and I really need to get these reviews done:

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 in 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 the girl might 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. 

I don’t read a whole lot of sci-fi, but I don’t want to find myself stuck in a rut either, limiting myself to only one of two genres of literature. So I try new things occasionally. I read sci-fi a few months back, when Felicia Day’s Vaginal Fantasy Hangout featured two books I hadn’t read before. They were more to my taste than this, which turned out to be a bit to spacey for me. I didn’t hate it, by all means, but the story didn’t really grip me either, and I kept making myself go back to the book to get through it. I don’t like it when reading becomes a chore.

There’s some very cool world building in this book, and the characters are nicely multi-faceted, it’s not quite clear who’s right and wrong. The story is told mainly from Holden and Miller’s alternating POVs, and for the first part of the story, they’re in very different places. There were some very cool concepts in the book, and certain sections are rather horrible, but creatively speaking very well done. While this book just doesn’t seem to have it done it for me, I can see why it’s popular, and why it was selected as a monthly pick in the Sword and Laser book club.

Also posted on my blog.

TylerDFC #CBR4 Review 13 Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey

Wow. That’s about the best word I can come up with to describe my reaction to this book. As I stated way back here in this review, Consider Phlebas, I didn’t used to be a big reader of science fiction. Along with Consider Phlebas, Leviathan Wakes is making me rethink that choice.

Set a few hundred years in the future, mankind has spread out from Earth into the far reaches of the solar system. Earth is still the cradle of humanity, but Mars has been entirely terraformed and populated, as have outer colonies been set up in the Asteroid Belt, known simply as The Belt. There is growing tension between the inner planets and The Belt due to heavy taxation of the colonies by Earth, and Mars and Earth are uneasy neighbors at best.

I’ve been sitting here for an hour trying to figure out how to describe this book without giving key plot points away. It is a hell of a great sci-fi adventure novel with equal parts action, horror, mystery, and some genuinely funny moments that combine to make a great ride.

There are 2 main characters; James Holden, XO of the doomed ice hauler Canterbury, and Detective Joe Miller, a burned out cop on the Belt station Ceres tasked with finding a missing person. The novel alternates chapters between these two men and the other characters that surround them. Soon enough Holden and Miller are forced together to unravel a mystery that threatens all of humanity from Earth to the Belt.

What sets this story apart from similar space operas is that the action is kept in the solar system. The space ships in the book are capable of no more than .3 the speed of light, and the physical impact on the humans of these excessive speeds is a focal point of the book. I have no idea if the science is right, but it certainly feels right. While making combat maneuvers in space the occupants are forced to lay in gel filled capsules, pumped full of drugs to keep them conscious and alert but able to withstand the sustained g forces. It is one thing to read about a ship wildly dodging incoming fire. It’s quite another to know that with each twist and turn the agony on the occupants increases.

Rather than spend time with techno babble Leviathan Wakes sets up a universe very much like that in Alien. The technology is more advanced than ours, and mankind has explored to the far reaches of the solar system, but greed and power are still the dominant force in the universe. Holden’s never-say-die idealism and Miller’s gruff cynicism play against each other well through the course of the book. At 600+ pages this book very much is the definition of “epic” but by the time it is done you will just want more. I loved it and am planning to pick up the sequel, Caliban’s War, when it releases next month.

Leviathan Wakes was nominated for both a Hugo and Locus Award for best science fiction novel of the year. This is an honor very well deserved.

NOTE: James S.A. Corey is the pen name for 2 authors, Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck. Ty is the assistant to George R. R. Martin. After reading Leviathan Wakes I am no longer worried about Martin finishing the Song of Ice and Fire because Franck and Abrahams seem to be more than capable of continuing it if circumstances were to come to that.  

Leviathan Wakes is book one in what is being called The Expanse series. You can find more information at The Expanse.

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