Leviathan Wakes by James SA Corey
I have been an avid reader since I was about ten or eleven, and an even more-avid reader of fantasy since the age of sixteen. Over that time I have read hundreds of fantasy books and dozens of Star Trek, Star Wars, and other franchise books. However, in that time I have very rarely turned my attention towards science-fiction (obviously classifying Star Trek and Star Wars as ‘franchise’ books, as distinct to science-fiction books).
That changed earlier this year with the Christmas gift of ‘Great North Road’ by Peter F. Hamilton. I was spell-bound by this new (to me) genre of science-fiction space opera; grand vistas painted with as much verve as the fantasy novels I have loved, but with an eye towards the future, rather than the past; conversant with the same mirroring of humanity, but with a scientific-spin that betrays our fervour for growth at all costs.
Since then I have ploughed through ‘The Commonwealth Saga’ duology by Hamilton, and have since been eyeing off the work of James S. A. Corey, the pen name of Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck.
With a momentary lull in review material (which, ironically, ended the day after I started reading, so now I’m horribly behind), I tucked into the Kindle version of ‘Leviathan Wakes’ (subsequently putting me even further behind, now that I am convinced I must read the rest of the recently concluded trilogy as soon as possible).
Set in a world where humanity has spread first to the moon and Mars, and then out to any and every habitable (and uninhabitable) rock in our solar system, Leviathan Wakes tells a tale of inter-planetary distrust, reliance, and war, so beautifully that you can only imagine that the author(s) have been given a view into the future from which to populate their writing.
We split our attention between two main-protagonists with diametrically opposed viewpoints on how to conduct oneself which allows for not only chapter-driven juxtapositions but also character-clashing juxtaposition as well. Kept apart for most of the novel, their coming together is both explosive and inevitably emotional.
The author(s) have so perfectly grafted humanity’s natural talent for segregation and fear of ‘different’ into this captivating fictional future – replete with space travel, space-stations, generation ships, and really good coffee machines – that I am obligated to warn you not to pick this book up if you are expected at work bright and early tomorrow (read: it’s not going to happen). Each character is so naturally relevant to the world in which they live, the environment and situations they find themselves in, that you never want to let go, and while the book is not full of ‘twists and turns to keep you guessing to the very end’, that is effectively what happens anyway; the reader is not filled with any desire to predict the end, as the end simply means there isn’t any more.
Leviathan Wakes is space opera at its best, there are no two ways about it. You will be equal parts devastated and overjoyed by the time you finish that you will want to jump straight into this book’s sequels – ‘Caliban’s War’ and ‘Abbadon’s Gate’, both now published. James S. A. Corey is definitely going to be a name we will be seeing for many years to come, not only on bookstore shelves (though not for long), but regularly as nominated entries for writing awards the world over. If you have even the vaguest interest in science fiction, or even if you just want to read something so addicting as to make it a worry for world governments, go now and pick up a copy of Leviathan Wakes by James S. A. Corey.
Joshua S Hill, 9/10
Leviathan Wakes is by James S A Corey. If you have never heard of him before, there is a good reason for that, because it’s the pseudonym of Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck. The book is set in “The Expanse” which was created by Ty Franck.
The blurb on the book.
Humanity has colonized the planets - interstellar travel is still beyond our reach, but the solar system has become a dense network of colonies. But there are tensions - the mineral-rich outer planets resent their dependence on Earth and Mars and the political and military clout they wield over the Belt and beyond.Now, when Captain Jim Holden's ice miner stumbles across a derelict, abandoned ship, he uncovers a secret that threatens to throw the entire system into war. Attacked by a stealth ship belonging to the Mars fleet, Holden must find a way to uncover the motives behind the attack, stop a war and find the truth behind a vast conspiracy that threatens the entire human race.
We start following Julie, that’s all we know about her. Her name is Julie, she’s a survivor of a space battle, and things aren’t looking to good for her. Then once it looks like things cannot get much worse for her she disappears from the story for quite awhile.
We then turn out attention to the crew of the Canterbury, a retooled colony transport. We get a quick history lesson about the state of technology in this version of the Solar System, it’s quick and clear, and then we get straight back into the story. The Canterbury is a big ugly ship like most of the ships in this Solar System, if a vehicle doesn’t need to go into the atmosphere it’s big ugly and probably boxy. The crew of the Canterbury know their jobs, they live in the Outer Planets, which has a slight feel of the Wild West about it. I read another review that mentions Firefly, and it does feel along those lines, it’s just the gentlest of nudges that lead you to feel it’s a bit like the Old West out in the Outer Planets. We get to know the crew, and what makes them tick. We especially concentrate on the XO Holden.
We then jump to an asteroid and meet Detective Miller, a hard living cop, divorced, drinks a bit to much… you get the idea, still good at his job, or at least he thinks he is, but a bit battered around the edges.
As the story builds and problems loom on-board the Canterbury the two characters are slowly drawn together. Linked by two separate quests, which unbeknownst to them happen to have a common answer.
As things progress we start to see just how well Holden can hold up under the pressure, and just how kick arse and possibly slightly insane Miller can be.
We have a big corporate baddie who has made some very, very stupid decisions, and a alien entity of unknown origin and unknown powers, and as they all start to converge in the same area of space, all hell starts to let loose, with the Outer Planets going to war with Mars, with Earth trying to stay out of it and then they get dragged in and it becomes a nightmare with the whole Solar System on the verge of MAD (Mutually Agreed Destruction). It’s about now you think someone should pipe up with the "Who are you gonna call?" Ghostbusters theme, and in step Holden and Miller now barely speaking to each other but both hell bent on saving the Solar System in their own way.
This book is pure Space Opera. Don’t sit there analysing it, just breath it in and enjoy the romp. It’s intelligent, fast paced and just daft enough to be great fun. I loved reading this book. It’s quite a large book, but it felt very small, because it’s so much fun. It is not Hard Sci-Fi, it is entertaining Sci-Fi, with just enough detail thrown in to feel very real. I’m happy to give this 9 out of 10. This book was a pleasure to read.
Stephanie Gelder, 9/10
All reviews for: Expanse Series
Expanse Series #1
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 r...
Expanse Series #2
On Ganymede, breadbasket of the outer planets, a Martian marine watches as her platoon is slaughtered by a monstrous supersoldier. On Earth, a high-level politician struggl...
Have you read Leviathan Wakes?
We've found that while readers like to know what we think of a book they find additional reader reviews a massive help in deciding if it is the right book for them. So if you have a spare moment, please tell us your thoughts by writing a reader's review. Thank you.
Leviathan Wakes reader reviews
Quincey from Belgium
Let me say it plain and simple: I LOVE THIS BOOK! if you're into space theme role playing games such as Transhuman Space, Traveler or Eclipse Phase, this novel is a bottomless well of inspiration. If you like animation and enjoyed Planetes,Moonlight Mile or Kurau Phantom Memory, you will love this book! You miss Firefly and the one-against-all-ness of Captain Mal? Weep no more, Holden will fit the trenchoat and boots of Reynolds with relative ease. so in two words: READ IT!!
7/10 from 2 reviews
Write a reader review
Thank you for taking the time to write a review on this book, it really makes a difference and helps readers to find their perfect book.
More recommended reading in this genre
The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet
When Rosemary Harper joins the crew of the Wayfarer, she isn't expecting much. The Wayfarer, a patched-up ship that's seen better days, offers her everything she co...
Marjorie B Kellogg
Set in the future on a distant world, Lear’s Daughters tackles the issues of global warming, pollution, exploitation of resources, and disastrous climate change. Long...
Iain M Banks
It begins in the realm of the Real, where matter still matters. It begins with a murder. And it will not end until the Culture has gone to war with death itself. Lededje Y&...
The burgeoning new economies in near-Earth space are fuelled by a steady stream of comets, steered back home by huge nuclear-powered mining ships like Bella Lind’s Ro...
The Naked God
Peter F Hamilton
The Confederation is starting to collapse politically and economically, allowing the 'possessed' to infiltrate more worlds. Quinn Dexter is loose on Earth, destroyi...
The very far future: The Galaxy is a drifting wreck of black holes, neutron stars, chill white dwarfs. The age of star formation is long past. Yet there is life here, feedi...
When Streaker - the first starship designed and crewed by dolphins - discovers a derelict ancient armada with evidence of the first sentient species ever, she sets off a wa...
An Ancient Peace
The centuries-long war between the Confederation and The Others, a group of violent alien species, is over. Intergalactic peace is finally restored. Torin Kerr and her crew...
During all recorded history, the Moon has hovered above our heads, a timeless symbol for lovers' ecstasy. Goddesses & Gibson Girls have tripped the light fantastic ...
Ensign Andrew Dahl has just been assigned to the Universal Union Capital Ship Intrepid, flagship of the Universal Union since the year 2456. It’s a prestige posting, ...
The Uplift War
As galactic armadas clash in quest of the ancient fleet of the Progenitors, a brutal alien race seizes the dying planet of Garth. The various uplifted inhabitants must batt...
Old Man's War
John Perry did two things on his 75th birthday. First he visited his wife's grave. Then he joined the army. The good news is that humanity finally made it into interste...
The Dreaming Void
Peter F Hamilton
The year is 3589, fifteen hundred years after Commonwealth forces barely staved off human extinction in a war against the alien Prime. Now an even greater danger has surfac...
Khesh City floats above the surface of the uninhabitable planet of Vellern. Topside, it's extravagant, opulent, luxurious; the Undertow is dark, twisted and dangerous. ...
Nine hundred thousand years ago, something annihilated the Amarantin civilization just as it was on the verge of discovering space flight. Now one scientist, Dan Sylveste, ...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages:
Books of the Month
A selection of books - old and new alike - that were a joy to read.
Hig, bereaved and traumatised after global disaster, has three things to live for - his dog Jasper, his aggressive but helpful neighbour, and his Cessna aeroplane. He's just about surviving, so long as he only takes his beloved plane for short journeys, and saves his remaining fuel. But, just once, he picks up a message from another pilot, a...
Beren and Luthien
Painstakingly restored from Tolkien’s manuscripts and presented for the first time as a continuous and standalone story, the epic tale of Beren and Lúthien wil...
Life moves at a leisurely pace in the tiny town of Wall - named after the imposing stone barrier which separates the town from a grassy meadow. Here, young Tristran Thorn h...
While honeymooning in the Tower of Babel, Thomas Senlin loses his wife, Marya. The Tower of Babel is the greatest marvel of the Silk Age. Immense as a mountain, the ancient...
The Ninth Rain
The great city of Ebora once glittered with gold. Now its streets are stalked by wolves. Tormalin the Oathless has no taste for sitting around waiting to die while the real...
The Court of Broken Knives
Anna Smith Spark
They’ve finally looked at the graveyard of our Empire with open eyes. They’re fools and madmen and like the art of war. And their children go hungry while we pi...
With Blood Upon the Sand
Ceda, now a Blade Maiden in service to the kings of Sharakhai, trains as one of their elite warriors, gleaning secrets even as they send her on covert missions to further t...