Humanity has colonized the solar system – Mars, the Moon, the Asteroid Belt and beyond – but the stars are still out of our reach.
Jim Holden is XO of an ice miner making runs from the rings of Saturn to the mining stations of the Belt. When he and his crew stumble upon a derelict ship, the Scopuli, they find themselves in possession of a secret they never wanted. A secret that someone is willing to kill for – and kill on a scale unfathomable to Jim and his crew. War is brewing in the system unless he can find out who left the ship and why.
Detective Miller is looking for a girl. One girl in a system of billions, but her parents have money and money talks. When the trail leads him to the Scopuli and rebel sympathizer Holden, he realizes that this girl may be the key to everything.
Holden and Miller must thread the needle between the Earth government, the Outer Planet revolutionaries, and secretive corporations – and the odds are against them. But out in the Belt, the rules are different, and one small ship can change the fate of the universe.
As a fan of the “Mass Effect” video game series and Artemis: a novel by Andy Weir, Leviathan Wakes, by James S. A. Corey (pen name for fantasy authors Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck), tickles me in all the right places: it’s got believable technical space jargon without being so overbearing as to detract from the story, sufficient mystery and moving parts to keep the reader guessing, good dialogue, solid pacing, and characters that were probably quite relatable at the time of its inception. In fact, I suspect a lot of the details from both “Mass Effect” and Artemis may have been inspired by Leviathan Wakes/the greater Expanse universe as a whole. I can go along reading it for quite some time before it’ll do something to irritate me (which is saying a lot for the tradition of the science fiction genre), possibly because it’s such a big book that it has a lot of wiggle room for mistakes.
However, here are the ways in which it made my shit list:
- At least two female characters have died for Man-Pain
- The two white, cishet, male main characters are so similar that I have a really hard time telling them apart
- One (living) female character
- Said female character has been in love with one of the main characters, Holden, since 17 days after they met (blargh)
- One of the dead female characters is essentially a Pixie Dream Girl for the other main character, Miller (only exists for him because she’s dead and a literal a product of his mind)
- Little racial diversity; probably still more than was normally seen at the time
- The mentally unstable character sacrifices himself (right after committing to impending suicide) instead of, you know, getting/being offered some professional help
It was okay. The development of the crew dynamic was probably the main thing I liked.
Goodreads rating: 4.21 stars
My rating: 3/5 stars