I'm a big fan of SF/F/Horror, and all things in between and out.
The TV show is now out, so I decided it was the ideal time revisit one of my favorite SF series.
The Expanse is easily more popcorn than Leckie's Imperial Radch books (my other favorite SF series), but it's also a hell of a lot of fun. While we're sprinting from chapter to chapter of this SF action noir, there's pretty thought-provoking themes and commentary sprinkled throughout: on the nature of humanity (and monstrosity of humanity), on classism and racism, the danger of authority, on the burden of truth and justice. Detective Miller and Captain Holden start off as seemingly simple protagonists, but as the plot unfolds we see them as very human heroes. Miller's characterization is particularly delicious.
People like to call the Expanse A Game of Thrones in Space, but while it has a similar grim nature, I find the story and characters a bit more optimistic and a lot less awful than most of AGoT. Really, the Expanse is it's own special brand of fun and grim, complete with vomit zombies
I tore through the first two books in dead tree form, and then came back later to pick up the audio versions. His reading is subtle, and seemingly non-showy, yet he manages to make each character distinct and realized. He's a treasure of a narrator, and I'm so glad he was brought back after being absent from Book 4.
The best part is, this is only the beginning of the Expanse, and it's not even the top-shelf of the series. It gets better and better, particularly with Caliban's War (#2) and Nemesis Games (#5), though IMO, there hasn't been a bad book in series yet.
Actor/director/teacher. Split my time between Beijing and Seattle now. Listen to Audible on the subway and while driving or riding my bike.
I enjoyed listening to this book from beginning to end. The characters were well drawn and very human and they were revealed even as the plot was moving along with consistent momentum. The descriptions of the action sequences and of the numerous settings used in the narrative were not only clear but also vivid without ever lapsing into excess. The themes in the book, while sometimes political and nearly always ethical, did not wallow in ideology and offered far more in the way of good questions than easy answers. So, in the main, this was a fairly solid and workmanlike piece of traditional science fiction--engaging and occasionally thought provoking. I'll probably continue with the next installment.
That said, there are a few caveats:
The culture and technology here is extremely thin. The authors have created very little in the way of new popular culture in spite of setting their novel well into the future. The characters and the narrative voice continually make 20th/21st C. references and leave the gap between "then" and "now" almost entirely vacant. The result is a major distraction from our buying into the setting. We are also asked to accept very scanty scientific advancement in the intervening years. The book is full of old technology. The authors needed to fill that gap with much more interesting material.
A few reviewers have praised the physics in the book, but I found the use of acceleration and, presumably, deceleration to provide gravity during space travel within the solar system to be unconvincing for a number of reasons. I will not go into technical details. It just does not wash.
Finally, while I do not spend my listening time trying to second guess where a book is going, the twist which sets up the ending seemed quite obvious at a very early point in the development of the plot. This may bother some listeners a good deal more than it bothered me.
I would recommend the book as a light, entertaining read. You will find some characters worth knowing and there are more than enough thrills and tight squeezes and even a few zombies to keep you diverted while you polish off the ironing. (Or am I the only one who still irons?)
I am about half way through this one. I find the plot line confusing, the characters have little depth, and I've thought of stopping this book a few times. I am still at it though, as I don't like to leave things unfinished.
The reader does not convey much emotion or inflection. Kind of bland.
A trivial man
Space Opera with modern themes. The 2 main characters thrash out the ethics of wiki-leaks while doing battle with an amoral corporation.
The only frustration was that 1 of the main characters is clearly schizophrenic. I kept waiting for the psychotic break that never came.
This is a solid modern space opera. I liked it a lot.
Interesting story, good use of tech and science and well developed characters.
Explores morality and what it means to be human themes.
I'm interested to read more since this appears to be the first in a series... though it would be fine as a standalone.
I am brutally honest. Popular, love everything they read, reviewers are scared to go neg. and risk their ranking. It's your money!!!
Actually, that would be 10:00 Central Time where I live. All my life I have listened to the news (local and National). Even when I was a kid. I like to know what is going on in the world. Since it is a real world that I live in.
This book is not terrible, it is not even that badly written. To me it reads like a news cast. I find that I am not that interested in a news cast of a made up future universe. I also find that this is the sort of thing that happens when you have two authors. It seems to take the personal touch out of it. As you probably know, James S.A. Corey is Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck.
This is not as hard as most Alastair Reynolds books, and not as simple as B.V. Larson. It is sort of in the middle. Many have given it a good review and most ratings are four or five stars, but for me to be honest, I have to say I could not get in to it.
Narrator sounds like any average newscaster.
I was really impressed with this book. I'm not sure I'd rate it in my top 10 (Dune, Starship Troopers, I Am Legend, etc.) but this was a very solid and enjoyable novel.
Unlike the last book I listened to, I really felt a connection with the characters. They felt three-dimensional to me and it didn't take long before I cared about the story because I cared about the characters.
The book mainly focuses on two primary characters (Holden and Miller) and the chapters alternate between their points of view which at times overlap as they interact. The story is part scifi adventure, part mystery and, to a lesser degree, part first contact with a dash of creepiness here and there thrown in.
There is profanity but it serves in fleshing out particular characters (Amos) without being gratuitous in my opinion. Thankfully, there are also no gratuitous sex scenes which the story really wouldn't have benefitted from anyway.
The narration is also well done and lends to the positive experience of this book.
I assume based on the "Book One of the Expanse" that this will be the first in a series of novels so I'm anxiously looking forward to more. I found the ending of the book satisfying but I'm also anxious to find out "what happens next" in this author's universe.
Something really needs to happen. I guess it is suppose to be a character drama, but the characters aren't that interesting.
James Corey is a good writer as the prose flows nicely. The problem is nothing seems to happen and there is no action.
Very good Science fiction set about 100 years in the future of our solar system. There are three main political groups. Earth, Mars and the Belt. When the story starts it looks like Earth and Mars are united against the belt (inner plants versus outer planets and moons).
All that changes quickly when everyone finds out they have a common problem.
The story focus is on people and their relationships, the science and technology is just the background for the story. I usually like the hard science fiction stories, but I really did enjoy this book. I think it was mostly due to the fact that although the technology was not the most important part of the story, the authors made sure to keep the technology consistent and realistic.
Overall, the pacing was excellent, the story was original, the characters felt like real people and the plot was complex enough to keep the reader guessing for most of the book.
What more do you need?
This book is an example of why great storytelling, characters and subject matter can make any genre interesting and entertaining.
The premise and characters are all done exceptionally well. My favorite character (and likely soon to be yours as well if you are getting this book) is easily Avaseralla, whose potty mouthed grandma /leader /politician/ strategist will have you enthralled.
This is one of the best point of view sci-fi stories in the last decade, well worth the point. Get it now before the TV show ruins it for you.