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Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey

1/07/2011. Contributed by Geoff Willmetts

Buy Leviathan Wakes (The Expanse Series book 1) in the USA - or Buy Leviathan Wakes (The Expanse Series book 1) in the UK

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Leviathan Wakes (The Expanse Series book 1) by James S.A. Corey. pub: Orbit/Little Brown Book Group. 561 page enlarged paperback. Price: GBP 12.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-84149-988-8.

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It’s always worrying when the back cover describing events is more exciting than the contents, which is a shame because there are some interesting ideas here. Reading a lot of books, you instinctively look for emotional content and how much it is used to engage the readers. When there are various potential troubles happening and it doesn’t really affect the characters as it should, it’s hardly surprising that it will fail with this reader as well. Ultimately, the book is playing the plot by numbers and lacks heart.

Science Fiction content so far into the book is just a development in fusion drives that made it practical to travel around the Solar System and mine the asteroids and have outposts near Jupiter and Saturn. Quite why the authors decides that food has to be bland when the current space meals are akin to military rations so they are at least tasty seems at odds with developments in all directions in our reality and relies on cliché than thinking things through and at least show some things are likely to be taken care of. Then again, I also have concerns with acceleration in freefall as depicted here as well. Once thrust is initiated, the only real difference is which way is up, even with a fusion drive. For the record the floor facing into the drive would be the floor direction. You would need a different sort of vectoring to have a down at right angles to thrust but then, everyone takes the ‘Star Trek’ approach.

I should point at here that James S.A. Corey is actually two people, Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck, although where the dividing line is between them is hard to say as the chapters rotate between the perspectives, although not in first person, of two characters can hardly be differentiated in different writing styles. One character is Captain Jim Holden, whose discovery of the missing spaceship Scopuli out in the asteroid belt and its secret – definite spoiler zone. The other is that of former detective by the name of Miller who retires from the asteroid police force when a case to find a missing person, Juliette Mao, who was on the Scopuli pays better. For much of the book, this is essentially two stories rotating around the same plot and about a third from the end do their paths cross and you see the same plot elements from different perspectives.

As pointed out earlier, the plot rotates around the spoiler and how it’s existence will upset the regimes of the belters, who have adapted to constant low gravity, and the Earth governments and there is a proper resolution so no need to wonder if you need to read a second book although there are hints that there might be more looking at the reality itself. If there is, then if both authors give some thought to emotional content and don’t follow the pattern of this one too much, then there is always room for improvement.
Read with care.

GF Willmetts

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This book has 41 votes in the sci-fi charts

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