These are the main reasons I like this book.
1. The characters are distinct, as well as their motivations, and the actions they take are consistent with the characterizations. In particular, James Holden grows into more than the idealist we saw in the first book.
2. Although this is a story with a lot of politics and a lot of room for gray areas, I still think there are choices between right and wrong that characters must make. I like that. I find that moral relativism is less satisfying; that is one reason I am sometimes disappointed with A Song of Fire and Ice, even though Martin is a better writer.
3. I've never been a big fan of cyberpunk. It's nice to read about a future not dominated by people with massive hardware augmentations.
Like the first book, this one is concerned with the ramifications of the protomolecule, and hints at big things to come in future volumes. I hope the payoff in the later books will be worth it.
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