James S.A. Corey delivers compelling SF that ranks with the best in the field. In Leviathan Wakes, ice miner Jim Holden is making a haul from the rings of Saturn when he and his crew encounter an abandoned ship, the Scopuli. Uncovering a terrifying secret, Jim bears the weight of impending catastrophe. At the same time, a detective has been hired by well-heeled parents to find a missing girl, and the investigator’s search leads him right to the Scopuli.
©2011 Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck (P)2011 Recorded Books, LLC
“… kickass space opera.” (George R.R. Martin)
On Audible since the late 1990s, mostly science fiction, fantasy, history & science. I rarely review 1-2 star books that I can't get through
This was really modern science fiction, if not quite up there with the best-of-the-best, it was close. Unusually for hard science fiction, the characters were compelling on their own, and had some nice depth to them. Also somewhat unusually, the characters were not scientists or space marines, but rather a mediocre detective and an intra-stellar freight hauler who get pulled deeper and deeper into the solar-system spanning plot of the book.
Though it is revealed in the very start of the story (so, no spoiler here!) that there is a first contact element in the book, for the vast majority of the novel, the action is much more human in nature - politics (both interplanetary and interoffice) and lots of action predominate.
The novel is not the deepest, and I am not entirely sure it adds to the genre or sheds vital insight into the human condition, but there is a lot of fun: murder mysteries, ship-to-ship combat, witty banter, and even old-school horror all make appearances. I'll certainly listen to the next, and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it while you wait for more Peter Hamilton, Alastair Reynolds, or Iain M. Banks novels to be added to Audible.
Say something about yourself!
This is a typical first contact story in many ways, although the mysteries surrounding the alien unfold with interesting twists and turns right up to the end. There are lots of space battles, political intrigue, clever detective work, and solid scientific speculation, all generally well handled. The science is believable, and the social/political backdrop for the story is complex, interesting, and plays an important role in the story. The two authors (Corey is a pseudonym) have crafted two characters each with a point of view on the action as it unfolds (perhaps each author took one of the characters as his alter ego?). They've done this in a way that allows some thoughtful exploration of individual differences in moral perspective on how we might respond to the discovery that there is a vastly older, vastly more sophisticated intelligence out there in the universe. I couldn't quite see my way to giving it five stars because (1) many of the minor characters are indistinguishable in voice and action, (2) too many story elements are cliches -- the evil corporation, navy captain who has a problem with authority, depressive cop traumatized by too many years of seeing the worst of humanity, women who are more manly than the men around them, etc., etc. Nevertheless, the authors manage to bring something original even to many of these cliches, and the overall effect is clever and thoughtful. Even though this is the first book of a planned series, it stands on its own quite well. I will definitely watch for the next book in the series.
I really need to start proof reading my Reviews before I post them.
This is a comforting sci-fi adventure. By comforting, I mean that this is a sci-fi adventure that has some solid world building and a plot that really feels like it needs to be told. I enjoy the cultural and economic principles that were introduced. I also really liked how a lot of effort was put into the description of the spaceships.
I wasn't ready for this story to end, when the final chapter came up. I am really glad that this is a book series, and that I get to return to it's universe when Audible Credit Day comes around again in a few weeks.
I recommend this book.
Tell us about yourself!
It was a nice listen. I did like the world that the authors evoked (For those who don't know, James S.A. Corey is a pseudonym for 2 authors), and the characters were decent. I don't know that I really cared deeply about them at the end, but the action is so non stop that you get pulled along regardless.
My favorite character is the one who is seen the least amount - Julie
Blockbuster deep space adventure!
I'll definitely download the sequel when it comes out - I hear it's planned for late spring 2012.
Two great passions - dogs and books! Sci-fi/fantasy novels are my go-to favorites, but I love good writing across all genres.
I found Leviathan Wakes interesting and worth a credit, but just not engaging enough that I will buy the sequels. As much as I like sci-fi, I only LOVE it when the other aspects of good fiction are in play - great characters, plot, setting, and strong prose and LW is a little lacking. The plot is pretty interesting and there is a good mystery incorporated into it; the settings are quite vivid. But the strong plot/setting didn't quite make up for the stereotype characters (brash, young rebel and world weary detective), wooden dialog, and rather pedestrian prose for me. Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck working as James S. A. Corey have produced a work that is creditable and reasonably cohesive, but maybe damped them both down a bit; both can actually write with more flare than you see in LW.
The narration and pacing is good, but I still found myself anxious to get to the end because I just didn't care much what happened to these characters. If you enjoy a lot of action sequences (the book includes many scenes of physical fights and spaceship battles), you might find the mundane characters and the stolid prose less problematic.
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 is the first in a series of books and it is excellent! Corey has done a superb job and the narration is spot on. The story includes mystery, intrigue, futuristic thinking, and psychological hooks that keep you coming back for more. You will not want to stop listening once you start this book and that is one of the key qualities I look for in any audio experience. I highly recommend this book. I can'
t wait for the next installment.
I value intelligent stories with characters I can relate to. I can appreciate good prose, but a captivating plot is way more important.
The quality of the writing was very good; dialog was realistic and natural and the descriptions were thorough without being overwhelming. The author generated suspense nicely (though not what I would call masterfully), and the plot was engaging throughout- with only a couple of dry spots towards the beginning.
Corey (the author) has created a universe and backstory that suggest an epic scope- but unfortunately his relatively small cast of characters are not enough to populate the a story of the size he wants to fill. So rather than SHOWING us the various aspects of life in his futuristic solar system, he TELLS us about the back story in an encyclopedic fashion that feels like a dry history lesson. I suggest that he examine George R.R. Martin's Game of Thrones to see how a vast and rich backstory can be doled out at appropriate times, by making sure that all the history shared is relevant to the story and in such a way that the readers have a vested interest in knowing that backstory at the time it is being shared.
One writing device which bothered me a lot was the detective constantly seeing/talking to a girl who wasn't there. This is not an uncommon device, and a cringe whenever I read it, because I wonder if the author is implying that the character is literally hallucinating or if we're just getting a weird view of their imagination. It is a weak crutch to show us the inner thoughts of one of the main characters, and I wish the author had made a different choice.
Lack of scientific progress was also a major problem in this novel. We are set in the distant future, but Corey doesn't dazzle us with any time-appropriate technology outside of the genre cliches.
[mild spoiler in this paragraph:]
The plot itself is interesting, but suffers from a common problem: The bad guys are too evil. They're also too stupid for words. It's the same old sci-fi cliche where a powerful organization tries to harness a weapon that OBVIOUSLY defies human control. We've seen this in the Alien movies, in the Fifth Element, the Fly II, etc, etc.
I am left with mixed feelings about this book. I don't feel that it was a waste of time... but I also don't feel terribly compelled to continue with the rest of the series as it comes out.
As I began reading this, I realized that it was not the sort of plot that appeals to me. But it was so superbly written, that I kept reading it, mostly for that reason, (but also to find out what happens the the missing girl). There was the occasional annoying anachronism. I don't believe that hundreds of years in the future, men in outer space will still address each other with "Hey" and we'll eat take-away in plastic containers. But those were few and far between.
Corey creates a marvelously rich societal structure that spans the entire solar system with multiple competing discreet entities that allow for a complex and unpredictable evolution when an unanticipated development take everyone by surprise. Earth and Mars lumber about as the two superpowers with a delicate detente in place. The rest of the system consists of Mars and Earth aligned outposts as well as autonomous "belters" some of which display a don't tread on me attitude. When attacks begin, eventually leading to a station involvement, a freighter captain and a contract cop step in to connect the dots while system wide conflagration is in the offing. The feel is a Cold War era tension where each side is posturing for position and worried about pressing the button.
The science elements are low keyed with mostly a blue collar type rendition of standard extrapolated capabilities except for the twist mid way into the tale. The appeal of the story are the two points of view that overlap throughout as the story unfolds. Holden is a freighter captain thrust into command by the destruction of his parent vessel that starts all the events, while Miler is a contract cop on a belter station that stumbles into a missing person case he's not supposed to solve. While they eventually collide with each other, their distinct styles and skill sets offer an engaging unraveling of a confusing mystery.
The narration is excellent with a solid rendition of the various characters. The pace and tone are perfect for the tale.
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