The delayed sixth entry in "The Expanse" series lives up to the wait, for the most part.

(spoilers ahead if you haven't read "Nemesis Games")

The story- Humanity is struggling to deal with the asteroid collisions orchestrated by the Belter (humans native to low gravity space stations) government's extremist off-shoot, the "Free Navy". While coping with the near collapse of the Martian military and Earth government, a plan is made to finally deal with the Free Navy.

The good- James Corey (Ty Franck and Daniel Abraham) have mastered writing for different characters from different perspectives. This is the only book in the series that does not have a core group of character perspectives. The points of view include characters from all sides of the conflict, yet the story moves forward flawlessly.

Not as good, but acceptable- Focusing these stories around the crew of the Rocinante is getting boring. The stories are running close to becoming "The indomitable Captain Holden and his family-crew of the Rocinante". Which would be alright, but it isn't what drew me to this science fiction space opera. The complex, gritty, inter-related story lines of "Earthers", "Martians", "Belters" and how they deal with unfathomable alien technology is what keeps me reading this series. The most interesting parts of this book were the character perspectives of people outside of the Rocinante crew. Also, this story had the least amount of influence from the protomolecule/gate building alien technology. That's not terrible, but it feels like the story is moving further from the over-arching storyline of the series.

The forgivably bad- (mild spoilers) The villain and the way the Avasarala deals with the decimation on Earth. The villain never came across as a mastermind, or even a misguided badguy. He came across as an angry ex with a chip on his shoulder. It doesn't hurt the story, but the lack of complexity is a big departure from previous antagonists in the series. It was also a little odd how easily Avasarala was able to move past the death of most of her remaining family on earth, and 'put that aside' when dealing with Michio and the Free Navy defectors. I have a hard time believing someone like her would easily look past the Free Navy murdering tens of billions of people, and destroying a planet's ecosystem. This also wasn't a story killer, but it wasn't consistent with how the character was written in previous books.

All in all- A great read and a worthy sequel. I'm hoping the authors don't become too distracted by the television series, as has happened with another massively popular book series-turned television show. These books are normally released every June, but the release date for this one was pushed back 6 months. At a time which just happens to coincide near season 2 of the show. Either way, this entry is well worth the read.

isaachar's rating:
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