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Publisher's Summary

The first book in the landmark Expanse series, now a major television series from Syfy!

Leviathan Wakes is James S. A. Corey's first novel in the epic New York Times best-selling series The Expanse, a modern masterwork of science fiction in which humanity has colonized the solar system.

Two hundred years after migrating into space, mankind is in turmoil. When a reluctant ship's captain and washed-up detective find themselves involved in the case of a missing girl, what they discover brings our solar system to the brink of civil war and exposes the greatest conspiracy in human history.

The Expanse
Leviathan Wakes
Caliban's War
Abaddon's Gate
Cibola Burn
Nemesis Games
Babylon's Ashes

The Expanse Short Fiction
The Butcher of Anderson Station
Gods of Risk
The Churn
The Vital Abyss

©2017 James S. A. Corey (P)2017 Hachette Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Story

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Started a love affair with hard sci fi

My husband and I watched The Expanse on Amazon Prime a couple of months ago. It was good but not great. I am not a hard sci fi consumer. I usually go more towards sci fi/fantasy or sci fi that is not has heavy on the sci part. I decided to check out the book that The Expanse was adapted from because the book is always better than the movie or tv series (it is a law of the universe which someday scientist will discover written with stars). I am really, really glad I did.

Leviathan Wakes is the first book in The Expanse series. The TV series uses seasons 1 and 2 to cover the story. There are significant differences between the series and the book, all of them lining up on “the book is better” side.

Leviathan Wakes takes place in mankind's future. We have spread ourselves through our solar system but have not quite reached the stars yet. There are humans living on moons of Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn and in the large planetoids within the belt between Mars and Jupiter. People have been born, lived and died outside of Earth’s gravity. There are physical and cultural differences between Earthers, Martians and Belters which create a tense political situation.

The story is told from several points of view, all third person.
Julie: a poor little rich girl leaving her privileged life behind to fight for the rights of Belters
Holder: an Earther, now serving as the XO on an ice hauler
Miller: a Belter and native of Ceres who serves as a cop
Fred: an Earther and former United Nations general who now fights for the rights of Belters
Ninety-five percent is told from Holden and Miller’s viewpoints. It gives the story a much better diversity of scope than had it just been from only Earthers or Belters. There are several other characters who have large parts in the story. There is diversity in gender, ethnicity, politics, and where they call home in the solar system.

Jefferson Mays narrates this almost twenty-one hour epic. At no point did my attention lag or wonder. He really brings all the tension and wonder to life through his voice. I am currently trying to figure out how I can possible afford the rest of the series right now instead of waiting for sales or a birthday. It is just incredible. I think I may have started a love affair with hard science fiction thanks to James S. A. Corey, Andy Weir and the wonderful narrators of their books.

98 of 102 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Addictive start and then a slump in the middle

When I started this book I could NOT stop listening. The prologue opens with a hook and I HAD to find out whatever happened to Julie. I appreciated that the story bounced back and forth from following Detective Miller for a space of time and then switching to following Holden and his crew. You got to see into their heads and their different points of view coming from very different backgrounds, which was cool. It was also interesting to see the different pieces of the puzzle fitting together, and exciting once their separate storylines finally converge.

While starting out with a bang, for some reason about 3/4 of the way through I just got tired of this book. And then I'm looking at how many books are left in the series (5 more already published, and 3 more slated to be published in the next couple of years, not counting the 1.5 type inbetweener novellas) and I was left going "Eghhhhh... Do I HAVE to finish this?" I'm glad I plugged through, because the last hour or so picked back up again. I don't feel any need to read the rest of the series, though, and feel like this first book of the series can stand alone with the way it ends and not FORCE you to read the rest of the series - specifically, no cliff-hanger ending but instead wrapped up nicely enough that it can be left alone with enough open-endedness to segway into the rest of the series should you so choose.


I listened to the Audible version narrated by Jefferson Mays, who did a great job narrating. I could tell which character was talking, and he managed to do a credible female sounding/feeling voice for the female characters that wasn't high/squeaky/awful like I've found a lot of men do. He also didn't read with the endless droning monotone that so many male fantasy/sci-fi narrators seems to bore me to tears with, so thanks, Jefferson Mays! 10/10 would listen to you again (but not this book again, sorry).

33 of 34 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Best Sci-fi I've read in a long time

If Dune, Babylon 5, Battlestar Galactica and The Moon is a Harsh Mistress had a communal baby, this would be it. Corey's descriptions of #SpaceLife and the people who live it are some of the most realistic I've ever "read." He clearly spent some time getting into the minds of people like those in his books, and wrote from a perspective that includes near-future analogues of 21st century blue collar workers, middle class families, and privileged persons. Exploration of high-level ideas of what politics might look like in the future and what practicalities would be needed to live in a place with no atmo vs small scale interactions between hard-working Belters and no less hard-working but obliviously privileged Earthers and Martians are what make Corey's world building so complete. The characters he writes are complicated and three-dimensional; his heroes have flaws, sometimes big ones. They might not even be heroes in the grand scheme of things. I really identified with Miller, and hoped (and still hope, since we're not sure if his story is over by the end of the first book) that he would find his place in the solar system, even if it wasn't with the crew of the Rocinante. My favorite "part" of the book is that the cast of characters is so diverse, culturally and physically. His fictional prediction of what it would be like to export various Earth cultures off-planet and the resulting anachronism between them paints a picture that shows long-term living in space as more than the sterilized metal hallways and fluorescent lights we're so used to seeing in "hard" science fiction.
Jefferson Mays's narration of the beginning of this epic space opera is, at first, a little annoying in the clipped pronunciation of non-dialogue text, but that doesn't last long. He's got a great grasp of pronouncing the patois the Belters use, and is consistent with said pronunciation. The characters don't have wildly different voices, which I like. YMMV. I've never been a fan of the way some narrators use a soft, simpery voice for female characters, and Mays emphatically does not do that.
Overall, I absolutely loved the book and the performance. I think it's the kind of book you could write papers about. I'm very much looking forward to the rest of the series.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Can't decide if I like the characters but it works

The author really does a good job of making the characters real. I still don't really know if I like either of the main characters but it works in this story. This book is slow and methodical but there is still so much going on. I might have thought it was slow because I finished Hell Divers right before and the pace of that book is very different. I wasn't at all bored though and it twisted and turned in ways I didn't expect. I will be getting the next book in the series.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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A treat for sci fi enthusiasts

I was very surprised with this book as I came in with mediocre expectations. Everything fits together perfectly from the cold and hard sci-fi universe to the flawed but interesting characters. The pacing left me dazzled; Every time my attention started to wander the book steps it up and before you know it another hour of reading has passed. The big plot puncher really marries two genres in a way other stories have failed to, and it leaves you wanting to read the rest of the series. I fell in love with this book. It's one of those books like Hyperion or Use of Weapons that you wish you could read again for the first time.

Jefferson Mays does a great job, and if you keep reading the series you will appreciate his consistency.

I highly recommend.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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So Good

This grabbed my attention during the prologue, and didn't let go. I have easily read 90+ full novels, though most have all been in the Star Wars universe. As much as I love my Star Wars novels, I've been wanting to expand my "space opera" collection OUTSIDE of Star Wars. I found a winner.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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wonderful!

Loved this book. Best stand alone sci fi series there is. Must listen. Watch the TV show too. so good.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Gohar
  • Issaquah, WA
  • 09-13-17

Excellent story, characters and very smart writing

I'm so glad I started this series. The writers have done a great job setting up the world and its protagonists. It does not feel campy at all like some sci-fi. It definitely has a feeling of epic-ness to it. It can expand into so many well done characters and vast universe. Writing is smart and adventurous too. Highly recommend it to readers of GoT and Hyperion. The exploration of the world could be compared to Hyperion series. In the first book, there was not too much depth to the characters yet but a good start.

The narration works well with the characters and the plot. I liked the transition from one character to another.

Definitely looking forward to the TV series too.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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great voice tones

great story development. hoping holden gets more complex but the story itself is deep enough to make up for it

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Better than the TV show!

As a fan of the television show, after hearing that it was going to be cancelled, I decided to start listening to the audio books. I'm very pleased to say the audiobook met my expectations. Well performed, and although the story was not a surprise, the subtle differences between TV show and novel kept it an enjoyable experience.
I've always downloaded the second book in the series, and will continue with the rest of the series after that.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful