Leviathan Wakes by Corey, James S.A. © 2011, Orbit 2011 trade paperback, science fiction – The Expanse book 1
After three false starts, setting this book aside after twenty or thirty pages and getting distracted by something else, I dug in and finished it in about three days, pretty good time for me reading a 561 page science fiction doorstop.
James S. A. Corey is the pseudonym of Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck. After getting started, I liked what I was reading, connected with the two main protagonists and bought into the plot, as I understood it to be at the time. It changed as it went along but I hung with it. The novel is told by those two characters narrating alternating chapters, not too difficult to follow. At least there were no big flashbacks, something for which I have small tolerance.
Some readers might be reminded, at least at first, of Heinlein’s Starship Troopers, but this really has a different feel to me. Pretty much what I think of – by my sixty-year old plus SF reader definitions – as classic hard SF space opera. No this isn’t “hard SF” in the sense of every math equation spelled out and all the science workable if only you’d build it, but what’s there is believable and makes sense within the context.
As the two main characters become more and more conflicted and one of them seemingly going off the edge, I began to worry that one of them, and I could guess which one, wasn’t going to survive the book. That became pretty obvious in the last chapters, when the plot took one last twist that I question, but hey, I’m not the author, am I? However that last few chapters put me off, so though I enjoyed this, I’ll read something else, perhaps several things, before I start the second book, especially since I have a pretty good idea where it will go.
That second book in the series is Caliban’s War, which I have at hand, and there is also a short prequel, available as an e-book, titled The Butcher of Anderson Station, which profiles the man who is probably the third main character of Leviathan Wakes. Apparently the author(s) have plans for a third book, already titled, and I wouldn’t be surprised, if sales are strong enough, that they go forward from there.