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.
I didn’t really know what to expect jumping into Leviathan Wakes–somehow, despite the popularity of the series and the existence of a televised adaptation, I’ve managed not to know much about these books other than that a lot of people seem to like them. I really enjoyed this book, the story drew me in the further along I got into it until I was wrapped up in it wondering how things were going to turn out in the end. Also, stuff got weird, and I have a love for weirdness.
The story starts off fairly standard. We’re following two different POV characters–Miller, who is a cop on a space station while Holden is the captain of a mining ship. There are two separate stories that eventually converge as we follow their POV’s and the things that they are dealing with. Miller is on a case and his story feels like a typical detective story (only in space) as he goes around investigating, dealing with partners, the public, and his superiors finding obstacles in every corner. He’s divorced, cynical and matter of fact. He’s maybe also a little bitter and doesn’t really care who he pisses off. Meanwhile Holden is the definition of ‘team player’. He cares about his crew and when bad things happen he doesn’t hesitate to do what he thinks is the right thing. He’s a bit of an idealist who sees the world in black and white instead of shades of gray.
So we’re following these two stories and on their own they’re interesting enough. There’s the mystery of what happened to Julie which is the case that Miller is working. Then there’s the mystery of who really attacked Holden’s ship–because the answer isn’t as clear as it appears at first. But things didn’t really pick up for me until Holden and Miller met (finally!). Because their personalities are such opposites in a lot of ways it makes for an interesting dynamic. Even when they’re aligned on a side they have huge differences of opinions on how to tackle a problem. I appreciated seeing this clash of character because there is sometimes more than one way to ‘do the right thing’.
As for the plot itself, I really like the way it all came together. At first I was really wondering what one thing had to do with the other but everything tied together. There were also some pretty good revelations about what was really happening and I enjoyed watching the characters poking around for that information. Also, I appreciate how weird things got because I wasn’t expecting to find weird here. And that’s what took this story from ‘eh standard story about space and politics’ to ‘oooooh, well now this is interesting’. This also has a lot of fun sci-fi elements including space ships, ports, stations, politics, generation ships, etc. I loved the detective angle being included because mysteries work well in almost any type of setting.
I think if I had some criticism it would be that it felt a little slow at first, even with all the action that was happening with one and then both of the POV’s. For me the story didn’t really pick up until the characters met up and then a little later when things got weird.
Overall I thought this was a fun sci-fi book with some weird stuff happening that I was totally down for. I think it worked for me because of the characters more than anything. I’m definitely looking forward to checking out the next in the series. 4/5 stars.
13 thoughts on “Book Review: Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey #TwentyBooksofSummer”
This is a series that I’ve wanted to read for ages, bought the first book ages ago and yet still not picked it up. Your review makes me curious all over again though, I like the idea of a little bit of weird and I’m fairly certain that there are a couple of sci events coming up towards the end of the year (November I think) so maybe I could line this up for that.
I really liked it! I will probably hold off til near the Sci-Fi month to read some of the sequels because I have those in queue as well. 🙂
I’ve wanted to start this series too, and I thought I was just about the last blogger who hadn’t read it. I’m glad it worked for you!
Yeah, I felt really behind the game on this one but turns out a lot of people haven’t read it. 🙂
Same here! Haven’t yet read it either (saw the show though and liked it). Really want to read so it’s good to know you liked the book, Lisa.
I LOVE this series! And it only becomes more complex and mature as it goes on. When I think back to this one, it’s just so different compared to the latest books. I hope you’ll continue because you’re in for an epic journey, and things definitely move beyond the vomit space zombies 😀
Oooh, more complex, now I’m even more excited. I have books 2 and 3 in my audible queue (thanks to an audible sale) so I hope to get to them both before the end of the year, maybe sooner. 🙂
(I kind of enjoyed the vomit space zombies haha)
Welcome to The Expanse! Your just took the first step into a wonderful narrative journey!
Prepare to be amazed and terrified and even amused – plus a lot of other emotions… 🙂
I’m very glad you enjoyed this one!
Thanks! It was a fun ride and I’m very much looking forward to reading the rest of the series. 🙂