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
Audible listener since the late 1990s. I mostly listen to science fiction, fantasy, history, and science.
Leviathan Wakes was a really solid example of modern hard SF space opera - Caliban's War is better. Corey (actually two authors, but they generally do a good job of writing as a team) pays attention to the nice hard SF details (ship acceleration, radiation exposure, transit times between Jovian moons, etc.), but the love is clearly for the opera part of space opera. The main set of characters are a winning team that excel at narrow escapes and being at the right place at the right time, while engaging in both banter and emotional asides. And, even though the book takes time to develop the emotional states of the characters, plot elements zip along, tension is ratcheted ever upward as chapters quickly switch from viewpoint to viewpoint (and maybe author to author).
The new main characters are less blue collar than the first book, but also more well-written and unexpected - this is the first SF novel I have read with a foulmouthed 72 year old Indian grandmother, let alone one where that foulmouthed grandmother is genuinely intimidating. Similarly, the writing has improved, with less awkward passages and some genuinely moving descriptions. Reading is very solid, with accents being handled without too much exaggeration.
If you liked the first novel, this is a no-brainer. If you like Peter Hamilton-style space opera, this is also a clear winner. There is a lot of questions still to answer in the final book, but I am clearly along for the ride.
While I loved the first novel in the series, it did have its slow bits. This, though, exceeded the first in every way. I couldn't put it down - it's fast paced yet suspenseful. I already loved the setting, and this book gives a lot more development to the inner planets. All the new major characters are great, but Jefferson Mays's performance of Avasarala blew me away - I found myself looking forward to her generally slower-moving chapters just for his performance of the foul-mouthed Indian grandmother/diplomat.
If you're insisting on treating it with more scrutiny than you would a thriller in any other genre, you'll notice a few contrivances - even noticing them, though, these aren't enough to have detracted from my enjoyment of the novel.
5 stars from me, and I'm eagerly awaiting the conclusion (though I'd be happy to see the series, or at least the setting, outlast a trilogy).
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.
The duo of authors that are "James S. A. Corey" (Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck) continue their excellent space opera with Caliban's War, which picks up shortly after the events of Leviathan Wakes. The solar system is still a powder keg waiting to explode and James Holden & crew once again find themselves in the thick of it. Earth, Mars, and the Outer Planets still don't get along and the threat of the Protomolecule on Venus only divides the factions further.
Jefferson Mays does another excellent narration so if you listened to the first book then you will feel like you are back among old friends. Amos is as entertaining as ever, and some new favorites are introduced including Avasarala, a sharp-tongued earth politician, and Roberta Draper, a career Martian Soldier who finds herself unsure which side she is on in the brewing war. Although it takes a little while to come up to speed on the new characters it all comes together nicely before the end.
If you haven't listened to the first book then I would highly recommend you do so before starting on this one. This book is as good as the first and the ending will leave you eager to find out what happens next so it makes for an excellent middle book of a trilogy.
This book is worth the listen purely for Jefferson Mays' reading of Avisarila, the aging Indian politician grandma who curses like a sailor. Add in more starship battles, evil alien plots, political intrigue and the search for a little lost girl, and it's popcorn sci-fi at its best.
While the first book swapped perspectives between two key characters, this book covers four perspectives, more widely variant. The way the stories are woven together keeps the book moving along while more convincingly delving into the ethics and motivations of each character.
Also mad props to Corey for writing convincing, engaging female characters, something I've found sorely lacking in many other sci-fi authors like Alastair Reynolds or Orson Scott Card. Gone is the cheesy manic-pixie-dream-girl-in-his-head from the first book of the series, and in her place there's a gigantic kickass curvaceous Polynesian marine wearing mechanized body armor. Yes please!
I'm eager for the next installment!
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.
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.
Oh, my yes. It is a perfect introduction to the medium of audiobooks.
Just about any moment when the old lady speaks
The precise articulation of dear foul mouth Chrisjen Avasarala.
I would plan to listen to a couple of chapters each night as I drifted off to sleep... and either a cliff hanging chapter would keep me going for just one more 20 minute dose, or my burst of out-loud laughter at Avasarala's potty mouthed truths leave me chuckling for another half hour. (I am an equally profane old codger...)
Tell us about yourself!
The narrative follows two slowly developing events – a chase to recover the kidnapped child of a Belter botanist and the political posturing of a potty mouthed, grandmotherly UN ambassador who feels her own brand of old-lady wisdom is the only thing holding civilization together. She joins with revenge-seeking marine and eventually finds her way to Holden and his crew, who have teamed up with the botanist on a mission of mercy, where all discover they have a common enemy and a common purpose. Great action sequences follow with happy endings all around. Unlike Leviathan Wakes, which followed similar narratives but felt at every moment of the story, like those narratives paled against larger and far more significant (and alien) problems in the universe, Abaddon’s Gate seems to put those larger, more significant problems in a holding pattern while mankind embarks upon a series of illogical and nonsensical actions that tosses all three factions: Earthers, Martians, and Belters into a pointless war that none can truly win and in the grand scheme of things doesn’t matter anyway. As a result, the novel felt a lot like filler, where nothing of any real importance in the context of the larger story seemed to happen. Despite my problems with the overall story, Abaddon’s Gate is superbly executed with tight, well written action sequences, a level of characterization you don’t often see in space opera, and enough action to move the novel along at a brisk pace. As a stand-alone volume this novel is rather good and certainly enjoyable. In the context of the larger series, this feels like it will be one of the weaker entries.
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.
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