James S.A. Corey’s best-selling hit Leviathan Wakes earned Hugo and Locus Award nominations. In Caliban’s War, the second chapter of Corey’s Expanse series, a desperate Earth politician works tirelessly to prevent war from reigniting. Meanwhile, upheaval takes root on Venus and Ganymede. And amidst this tumult, James Holden and his crew on the Rocinante are charged with the impossible task of saving humanity from a terrifying fate.
©2012 Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck (P)2012 Recorded Books
With excellent narration melded to a fantastic, unique, and multi-layered storyline, this was one of my favorite reads in a long time. Real characters that adapt and grow within the narrative, just enough technology to keep eyebrows level, and an emotional throughline that engages from the beginning and builds on the preceding book, these guys know how to tell a story, and Jefferson Mays knows how to narrate it.
You will NOT be disappointed spending a credit on this excellent sci-fi experience. Easily one of the best sci-fi I've listened to or read all year.
It's no secret, James Holden was always the runner-up in my mind, and he remains such in Caliban's war. The new main characters are fantastic. I listen again just to hear Avasarala again. Three more books of goodness. If you finised Leviathan Awakes, and you're looking at this sequel, go for it. You'll love this one too.
This is a great continuation to "The Expanse" series. One thing that really strikes me is how culturally rich this series is. You get "traditional" cultures and "new" cultures with Corey bringing them to life brilliantly!
You also get a delightful punch in the face by mysteries this book will not answer, which is a brilliant setup to whatever comes next. It just makes me kinda wish I could download the third book right now.
The science is hard and well written, which is great for those of you who like numbers behind your fiction, but it's not in your face or dumbed down. It is simply the reality of the series, the day-to-day of life in our Solar System.
Favorite characters return in new suits and situations, many of them develop in unexpected ways. New characters arrive and you'll love/hate them; you'll even recognize them and probably wish some of them were in our world now.
Then the book ends...looking back in time, 47 minutes.
Read the Publisher's Review and other reviews here for a plot summary. If you have read Leviathan Wakes, you know the people and the alien bugaboo they are battling. If you have not read Leviathan Wakes, you should just to get the start.
Rather than a plot summary, I am more interested in characters, concepts, and meaning. Caliban's War can be viewed as a morality play where allegorical characters are used to examine ethical topics found in politics and the search for right versus wrong.
The four main characters represent four distinct personalities:
Holden, the Good, always trying to do the right thing, and tell the truth
Naomi, the Reasonable, balancing Good with Right;
Alex, the Obedient, solid, honest, dependable, and following orders
Amos, the Enforcer, a conscience-less sociopath kept reined in by his reliance on the moral compasses of the other three.
The side characters represent other personalities, or combinations of these essential traits, or foils against which to view the decisions made by the main four. There is a lot of contemplation of best actions to take, and introspection of right and wrong, but these add depth to the science, the action, and the fiction.
Avasarala, an elderly stateswoman, is introduced here and quickly becomes your favorite even if you deplore her foul language. She swears intentionally for effect, and even if you are offended, it is humorous. Aside from the freshness of her personality, she introduces a new concept to Holden. She explains to him that in his quest to always do the right thing, he believes that telling the truth, the whole truth, is the only way, yet he causes more damage than he prevents. He wants full immediate disclosure, to blab complete details of the situation to the entire solar system. By doing so he will surely "get a reaction" which his sense of justice demands, but it may take years for others to "sort out" those reactions. She, however, wants to tell only "the right people" who will be able to sort things out right now, thus saving years of war and turmoil. This harks to the full disclosure sometimes demanded of our police and the FBI, where blabbering all the known details will only help the criminals. Sometimes telling the WHOLE truth harms more than it helps. Her prodigious political acumen is fascinating and enlightening.
Another interesting aspect of the book, and the entire series as well, is the references in the titles. There is no Caliban in this book. Rather, we are to recall Shakespeare's Caliban (The Tempest), who was a monster, the son of a witch and the devil himself. At first you may think the alien virus is the monster, but you then consider scientific testing on children, waging war for profit, insider trading, and maybe, just maybe, some of the humans are the monsters.
Ok this was an excellent 2nd book. The first book took me a bit to warm up to but now I like it. Good intrigue in this book and the characters to me are growing and we are finding out more about the alien biologics and it doesnt look good. Narration is done well no negative marks on that from me. If your looking for a good story this certainly qualifies on all points.
Caliban's war lived up to the reviewers praise. The story line built on the last book and the moved forward in the lives Holden and crew. One thing that I really liked about the book is it's charachter transistions. Characters exit the scene when it makes time sense. The perfect example is the Holden losing his job with the OPA. Holdens character is to always go off half cocked.He accused the leader of the OPA of purposelly releasing the last sample. Thus he was fired and the natural transistioning out of the OPA. Story wise and character wise the exit was perfect and the reader was not left to wonder.
The hole left in the story when detective Miller left was smoothly replaced with another story line. The story line followed along with what we knew about Holden and his crew. The missing daughter gave Holden the avenue to remain famous by pleeing for help. Bobbie a troubled Marshian Marine was also introduced into the story. Her trials and tribulations go through out the book and I think she will be the next member of the crew.
Best of all was the end of the book. Detective Miller is back and I cannot wait to fond out what is next. Just like a good soap opera, the surprise will keep you coming back.
Venus is alive.
The last sentence of the book gave me goosebumps, and has me waiting impatiently for the next instalment.
Mays does a masterful job voicing Avasarala. She is a strong character to begin with, and Mays gives her a biting, ascerbic edge that is pitch perfect.
The moments between Amos and Prax are touching.
This performance is so strong, you would be cheating yourself to only read the book.
Yes I would and have. The way this series of books is written you have parallel threads from differing viewpoints telling the story. This means that If you have a favorite character you can skip ahead following that character and for the most part retain the sense of the storyline.
Then you can go over it again with another character etc.
Bobbie the Martian Marine was my favorite.
He does a good job of simply reading the story so that you forget who is reading the book and the characters take center stage
The very end when an old character makes an unexpected appearance
I can't wait for the next book.
Caliban's War is even better than its predecessor, Leviathan Wakes. The writing and story are more involved and assured. Its nice to see Corey getting better and better as an author.
However... In my mind... Corey has a need to make his works too epic. They become too much like a comic book super hero saving the day against impossible odds stories.
Still very worth listening too. I love this author. Just wish he would tone down the scale a little.
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