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.
I've almost finished book two and so far this is an excellent SF series. The three major powers in this space opera are from Earth, Mars and the outer belt. The Earth/Luna United Nations comprise over 30 billion people. Mars which is in the process of terraforming, has less people but can boast of having the most advanced naval fleet. Finally those in the Outer Planet Alliance are tough adaptable survivors living in a harsh unforgiving environment and they are resentful about being pushed around by their more powerful inner planet cousins.
Our main protagonists are George Millar, a belter policeman and Jim Holden, an officer on an ice freighter. Miller, who has seen better days is given a task to find the runaway daughter of a powerful earther family who is somewhere out in the belt. Holden and a couple of colorful characters survive the destruction of their ship. It is possible the Martian navy had something to do with it and the righteous Holden goes public with accusations that stir up the three major players into a warlike footing.
Things go sideways when the Holden and Millar storylines intersect and they discover the missing girl out on Ceres station. It is here where something quite alien and terrifying is thrown into the mix.
I'm very curious if the video adaptation will do justice to the nightmare my imagination was prodded into producing when experiencing my first taste of the alien replicator molecule. It is being ruthlessly developed by an Earth based company. This life form may have been sent to our solar system in an attempt to hijack our evolution thousands of years ago.... but they missed. Unfortunately we developed space traveling technology and found it
Maybe mankind shouldn't be experimenting with toys he doesn't understand.
Sy Fy has committed to ten episodes and the first one is already available as part of the Expanse digital series going straight to TV. If you are like me, you will want to first listen to this book and then move on to the see if a TV series is up to the challenge. Personally I'm happy this is not going to be all crammed into a two hour movie.
Go ahead - get the first book and step out into the Expanse.
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.
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.
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.
Gen-Xer, software engineer, and lifelong avid reader. Soft spots for sci-fi, fantasy, and history, but I'll read anything good.
An entertainingly old-fashioned space thriller, which I might describe as “Alien meets Firefly meets Richard K. Morgan”. As in the classic Ridley Scott movie, the authors create a lively sense of regular Joe and Jane humans living in the grimy, mechanical confines of spaceships and stations. Throw in some hard-boiled cop story elements and a charismatic, obedience-averse young ship captain and his rag-tag crew, and you get the Richard K. Morgan and Firefly similarities.
While there’s little in this book that isn’t a well-worn science fiction trope, the technological stuff feels realistic and the familiar human characters might appeal to readers weary of the powered-up post-human protagonists that populate other hard SF novels these days. Add some cracklingly good space battles, a mystery, and characters caught up in politics larger than themselves, and you have a science fiction thriller that is, if not exactly innovative, more readable than Alastair Reynolds.
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.
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.
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.
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