Leviathan Wakes (The Expanse, #1)

By James S.A. Corey

Rating: 3 stars

Humanity has colonised the solar system, at the cost of a new class divide between those who live on the inner planets of Earth and Mars and those who scrape a living out in the asteroid belt. Tensions simmer below the surface and and brought bursting to the fore when commander James Holden and his crew stumble on a dead ship and find a secret that some people will start a war to protect. Meanwhile, a policeman on Ceres station is charged with a missing persons case and finds his fate intertwined with Holden in something that could change Humanity forever.

Early on in this book, I nearly threw it against the wall in frustration. The book takes alternate narratives, chapter about, with one being detective Miller on Ceres and the next being Captain Holden. For a while, Holden’s world was being made ever more miserable, as more and more ridiculously bad things happened to him and his crew that I nearly gave up. Thankfully, it did eventually even out into something that was more enjoyable to read. Miller’s missing persons case turns into an obsession that is quite creepy to read, as he obsesses over this person that he’s never met, but it’s effective and a strong motivation that acts as a thread throughout the book.

There’s a lot of politics here, and a clash of ideology, as the cynical world-weary Miller comes into conflict with the almost naive Holden and those differing ideologies drive much of the book. As well as the two protagonists, we have a decent supporting cast in the form of Holden’s crew, the mysterious Fred and Miller’s partner, Havelock. The politics between the Belt and the inner planets is interesting, as is the intra-planet politics. Corey paints a convincing picture of a system that is finely balanced and just on the edge, where any little thing could tip it over into conflict.

Definitely a good read and probably worth looking out for the next one, but I think I’ll maybe get it from the library rather than buying any more of these.

Book details

ISBN: 9781841499895
Publisher: Orbit (Hachette)
Year of publication: 2011

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