Caliban's War by James SA Corey
A sequel is a tricky proposition at the best of times. ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ was definitely better than ‘Star Wars’, but the second ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ and ‘Lord of the Rings’ movies were both less than the first. The J.K. Rowling’s second ‘Harry Potter’ book was better than the first, but Christopher Paolini’s second book in his ‘Inheritance Cycle’ was a poor expression of the first.
The proof is there; sequels are tricky propositions, but you wouldn’t know it reading ‘Caliban's War’ by the pseudonymic James S. A. Corey (made up of Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck).
The second book in The Expanse series of novels, Caliban's War picks up where Leviathan Wakes lets off (although the reality is you could very easily read it as a standalone). However, this time we are provided insight into four characters, rather than just the two we had access to in the first novel. As a result this story provides a wider scope from which to view events from.
We are reintroduced to Holden, captain of the Rocinante, and his crew. In addition we step into the lives of botanist Prax, Martian marine Bobbie (a she), and Avasarala, assistant to the undersecretary of executive administration of the United Nations.
It is a robust group of characters, and the events they are forced to share are unlike anything humanity has ever faced off against. Political backstabbing prevails in this heated war time environment, and the smallest act could set of system-wide apocalypse (although, no one is going for the ‘smallest’ acts).
The good guys are flawed, facing off against situations no one should ever be forced to deal with, and make mistakes along the way. The bad guys are greedy monsters out to line their own pockets or protect their interests at the expense of anyone; they are not the “cartoonish” oafs some reviewers might have you think, rather, they represent realistically portrayed men and women who have overstepped the bounds of human decency. Sometimes I feel that this realistic portrayal and the simple-minded justifications which drive individuals such as these make some reviewers uneasy, as if the presence of such realistic evil in their fiction is just too much.
I’m continually impressed with what Abraham and Franck are able to pull off, as expressed in several different ways.
Their grasp of the scientific makes their writing believable, even to the somewhat educated. There’s no faster than light travel, and every action has a reaction and penalty for that action. No science-fiction liberties have been taken, the science in this book is rooted so close to fact as to give everything a solid sheen of realism.
The characters we are regularly exposed to are given more than just token backgrounds, but more than that, those backgrounds are sometimes only hinted at, revealing only small clues as to what really exists. Remember, not even your closest friends will necessarily know the full background of every event that makes you you.
And finally, somehow, despite the fact that space battles in such realistically portrayed vastness should be somewhat academic, there is a sense of the futile to them that gives the reader a different kind of adrenalin rush. No more fleets of ships crammed into the same three square feet, replaced instead with the same number of ships facing much graver odds across the vast emptiness of space; where torpedoes don’t have to be launched within spitting distance and a small defensive round could rip through your ship and behead someone inside.
Abraham and Franck have written a sequel worthy of its predecessor, with the same human-futility crossed with nerve-wracking action and character driven realism. The Expanse is a series you really need to get your hands on, as soon as humanly possible.
This Caliban's War book review was written by Joshua S Hill
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 Caliban's War?
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.
Caliban's War reader reviews
Julie from Philippines
Caliban's War is an entertaining novel. The characters , settings, and plot are all well constructed. However, the poor grammar detracts from the book. The constant use of "gotten" in almost every paragraph is some what grating. Surely the authors know more than one verb! Both writers clearly have an understanding of scientific discourse yet they employ schoolboy phrases such as "have to have" when describing suspenseful incidents. A shame really as thorough editing would improve and add to the text.
9.5/10 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...
On the distant planet of Jijo, six exiled races live side by side. Only ancient relics from their home planets, fragments of half-forgotten stories and the crumbling ruins ...
Record of a Spaceborn Few
Centuries after the last humans left Earth, the Exodus Fleet is a living relic, a place many are from but few outsiders have seen. Humanity has finally been accepted into t...
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...
For twelve thousand years the Galactic Empire has ruled supreme. Now it is dying. But only Hari Seldon, creator of the revolutionary science of psychohistory, can see into ...
In a world devastated by nuclear war with humanity on the edge of extinction, aliens finally make contact. They rescue those humans they can, keeping most survivors in susp...
Great fantasy books published in 2012
King of Thorns
To reach greatness you must step on bodies, and many brothers lie trodden in my wake. I’ve walked from pawn to player and I’ll win this game of ours, though the...
The Grimnoir Society’s mission is to protect people with magic, and they’ve done so - successfully and in secret - since the mysterious arrival of the Power in ...
The Woman Who Died a Lot
The BookWorld's leading enforcement officer Thursday Next is four months into an enforced semi-retirement following an assassination attempt. She returns home to Swindo...
Days of Blood and Starlight
Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love and dared to imagine a new way of living - one without massacres and torn throats and bonfires of the fallen, without re...
The Compleat Ankh-Morpork City Guide
Greetings, adventurer! We lay before you this most comprehensive gazetteer encompassing all the streets of Ankh-Morpork, as well as information on its principal businesses,...
The Wind Through The Keyhole
Visit Mid-World's last gunslinger, Roland Deschain, and his ka-tet as a ferocious storm halts their progress along the Path of the Beam. Roland tells a tale from his ea...
Gareth L Powell
In 1944, as waves of German ninjas parachute into Kent, Britain’s best hopes for victory lie with a Spitfire pilot codenamed ‘Ack-Ack Macaque’. The troubl...
The Empire has declared war on the small, were-ruled kingdom of Aydori, capturing five women of the Mage-Pack, including the wife of the were Pack-leader. With the Pack off...
Shadow Ops: Control Point
Army Officer. Fugitive. Sorcerer. Across the country and in every nation, people are waking up with magical talents. Untrained and panicked, they summon storms, raise the d...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages: