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Caliban's War (The Expanse #2)

4.23  ·  Rating Details  ·  26,332 Ratings  ·  1,789 Reviews
We are not alone.

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 struggles to prevent interplanetary war from reigniting. And on Venus, an alien protomolecule has overrun the planet, wreaking massive, mysterious changes and threatening to spread out into the
Paperback, 595 pages
Published June 26th 2012 by Orbit (first published 2012)
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Brian Williams You definitely need to read Leviathan Wakes first. It's a good read, and an easy one, but there is a lot of major plot points that spill out of the…moreYou definitely need to read Leviathan Wakes first. It's a good read, and an easy one, but there is a lot of major plot points that spill out of the first one that you'd be completely lost on without starting from the beginning.(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jul 05, 2015 Alejandro rated it liked it
OK, I liked this book but...


I think that at its core, this second book is was too much similar to the first one.

I mean, there is a search for a girl (different age but the same basic idea), a mystery about a threat, and the tensions between the policital powers.

The only difference is that while the first book, Leviathan Wakes can be read a stand-alone book if you wish, maybe since the authors weren't sure to get the chance of... expanding it (pun intended)... for
Aug 31, 2015 Kemper rated it really liked it
Essentially this is a mix of Game of Thrones and Firefly without all the rape and child burning and people talking like they’re in a western movie.

Humanity has expanded throughout our solar system, colonizing Mars and various moons and asteroids. Since people are always gonna be people and will therefore suck, political tensions are high between Earth, Mars, and the Belters, and the events of the first book in the series have the threat of war seeming higher than ever. And just like in Westeros
Jan 30, 2015 Carol. rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: people who have series OCD and read Leviathan Wakes
Shelves: sci-fi, awards, yawn
Leviathan Wakes was one of my great reads this year (review: ). It broke into my reading blahs and set off a trend of great reads. After finishing, I promptly placed a library request for Caliban’s War, out of general interest and just the tiniest bit of series OCD. When it arrived, I was in the middle of monthly reads for my book club, then all hell broke open over at Goodreads, resulting in a loss of reading mojo, quickly followed by reviewing mojo. Bri ...more
Way back in 2012 I listened to the audiobook of Leviathan Wakes, and loved it. It was awesome. And then I picked up a nasty case of "Series Blah" which left me in this emotional hinterland between wanting to continue the series because I really loved the first book, and dreading to read it because either it wouldn't live up to my expectations, or it would be so awesome that I would need more and there was no more to be had, at the time.

Now I have read it... and I was kinda right on all counts.
Jun 16, 2012 Christian rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
We readers can be a cruel, vicious pack of jackals, sniffing out a novel's flaws with a singular, Darwinian determination - honing in ruthlessly on the padded protagonist; the fictional filler; the cornflour of creativity. We hate that juddering lurch where a clanging InfoDump forces your eye to reflexively skip a bunch of paragraphs, or when the Enter Stage Left of a Prêt à Cliché stock character snaps you out of the fragile, euphoric equilibrium of the Lost Reader's Trance and back to the tedi ...more
Aug 05, 2013 Algernon rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012
It's a pretty safe bet that those who liked the first Expanse book, will enjoy Caliban's War , too. I would add that new readers should start the journey with Leviathan Wakes , and not here, as this is not one of those loosely connected, self-contained, ongoing francizes like The Dresden Files or Vorkosigan Saga. The story picks up a few months after the cataclysmic events described in the debut novel, and will spoil said events for the less cautious reader. My review also may contain spoilers ...more
Mr. Matt
Jun 29, 2015 Mr. Matt rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, 2015, aliens
A young girl on a Ganymede space station is kidnapped. Shortly thereafter the fragile peace between Mars and Earth is broken when a mutated human attacks and single-handily destroys not one but two squads of Space Marines. Distrust between the two powers runs high and it is not long before that erupts into a shooting war. Both suspect the other of nefariously plotting to turn a secret supply of the protomolecule into a weapon of mass destruction. Meanwhile, back on Venus, the protomolecule is bu ...more
May 20, 2013 Kevin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Holy hell - this is great science fiction. I gave the first book in the series four stars, but I'm going to change it to five, if that's possible. This is not only some of the most action-packed sci fi I've ever read, but it's also got some of the best characters I've ever read in sci fi. The remaining crew of the Rocinante is back again, along with some new characters, of course. One standout character that's new in the second book is a female politician who is as smart and believable a charact ...more
Kevin Hearne
Sep 16, 2012 Kevin Hearne rated it it was amazing
Loved it!

An enjoyable follow-up to Leviathan Wakes, this is worth it for Avasarala alone, whose habits and language made me laugh out loud. By the third chapter of hers I was grinning in anticipation.

Of course, there's much more to it than Avasarala. Cap'n Holden is back and we get introduced to Gunny Bobbie Draper. Love this series and I'm about to go download the novella.
Timothy Ward
May 15, 2014 Timothy Ward rated it really liked it
Reviewed at Adventures in SciFi Publishing

Caliban’s War, the second book in James S.A. Corey’s The Expanse series, is at times the best Space Opera I’ve read, and in others hard to keep reading. It took me ten months to finish. Part of that could be that the ending was partially spoiled, another because it is a big book to lug around. There is an element to the story telling that contributed to the ten month span, but it’s hard to put my finger on.

George R.R. Martin calls this Space Opera the wa
Dec 22, 2015 Kaitlin rated it really liked it
I ended up really liking this book, more so than book #1 in the series, and I am happy to say I will be continuing with this series as time goes on. I initially picked this up as a buddy read, and I think it's a story which really does work for discussion because of what happens with the plotline.

This story starts up not long after the ending of Book #1 with the 'protomolecule' as a major focus for most of the Universe because of the ever evolving problems it poses. We follow Holden, a character
Executive Summary: A step up from Leviathan Wakes with some really great new point of view characters. It started a bit slow for me, but eventually it became hard to have to stop listening for the day.

Audio book: Jefferson Mays is once again a good, but not great narrator. He doesn't add much to the story. He does an decent Indian accent for Avasarala, but reads everyone else the same as far as I can tell.

Full Review
Unlike Leviathan Wakes, this book started slow for me. It's likely due to thre
Dec 11, 2015 Richard rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi

Spaceballs, was this good or what! I had some slight trepidation going into this for a couple of reasons; I’d just finished a 5 star book which usually means the next book I read gets a lower score as it can’t keep up with the previous story; I wasn’t blown away away by the first book like some reviews led me to believe I would be and their reviews of the follow up weren’t as positive; My favourite character from the previous story wasn’t going to be around and the one who was didn’t exactly

Take me out to the black
Tell them I ain't coming back
Burn the land and boil the sea
You can't take the sky from me

In the second book in pseudonymous authorial duo James S.A. Corey's Expanse series, the Rocinante, captained by James Holden, takes on a much stronger Firefly vibe. Holden and his crew begin the book still working for the Outer Planets Alliance, hunting pirates. The alien protomolecule that crashed into Venus last book is still doing....something down there. And a giant Polynesian
David Sven
Jul 02, 2012 David Sven rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Just like Leviathan Wakes, a fast and easy read. This second book in the series was even better than the first I felt with more POV characters and the political system expanded on. See my review for Leviathan Wakes (
Again this book doesn't leave us hanging but completes its main plot lines. It does however give us a bit of a teaser at the end that has me itching for the next book in the series.

Continuing on where the first book left off, Jimmy Holden is
Jan 28, 2014 Vladimir rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014, owned-read
Šta reći nego opet sjajno! Za mrvicu slabiji nastavak nego "Buđenje Nemani" (i zato četiri zvezdice) al opet neverovatno zabavno, uzbudljivo, napeto. Poslednjih stotinak stranica sam iščitao (bukvalno) ko na iglama. Super mi je što je dosta drugih likova dobilo svoja POV poglavlja (Bobi i Avasarala su kraljice) Dešavanja na Ganimedu, pa zatim bitka kod Io-a i želja da se konačno razjasni šta se to dešava na Veneri terale su me da svaku stranicu upijam od prve do poslednje reči.Zaista mi je falio ...more
Tom Merritt
Aug 21, 2012 Tom Merritt rated it it was amazing

I have had so much fun discovering this series, I'm only upset that I now have to wait for Abaddon's Gate. The crew of the Rocinante really gels into a likable unit in this book and the new characters of Chrisjen and Bobbie do not disappoint. My only regret and also relief is that nobody you love dies. An excellent follow-up to Leviathan Wakes.
Jun 05, 2015 Tamahome rated it liked it
I had fun with this most of the way through. I think of it as George R.R. Martin science fiction. A big emphasis is on the characters, with each equal-sized chapter from one of a handful of characters' point of view. Somehow I enjoyed the teasing towards different events more than the actual delivery, and hesitated to finish it and even write this review. Although there is a decent amount of realism. Like the Incomparable podcast said, this would fit well as a tv show. A lot of the time is devot ...more
Jun 24, 2012 Mark rated it really liked it
Last year’s Leviathan Wakes was pretty well received on the whole (though some did question its science.) Not only was it one of the Locus Books of the year and a Hugo nominee, it was one of our SFFWorld SF Books of 2011, on the part of Rob and myself. So this sequel is much awaited, and not just by us.

Set a few months after Leviathan Wakes, Caliban’s War moves things along on a bigger and grander scale. Some of the events of LW continue to make their mark. The planet Venus is being altered by
Aug 02, 2013 Ric rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Caliban's War is the middle tome of the planned trilogy, Expanse, by the dual author James S.A. Corey. I have a biased opinion about middle books in general as I find that they tend to be mediocre or even regressive. By my reckoning, whether right or wrong, having a weak middle tome sets a lower bar for the finale, or presents a starker contrast to notch up our appreciation of the full work. As I said, this is a personal bias.

In the case of Caliban's War, the story thread is a secondary offshoo

Jun 14, 2013 Jason rated it it was amazing
Shelves: e-books, read-2013
4.5 Stars

A fabulous and very different sequel to the fantastic book one of the Expanse series by James S.A. Corey. This book is much more a horror science fiction novel than it is a space opera. Holden is back and he and his crew are back for a fun thriller of a ride. The mystery behind Venus is growing, the cover ups are coming to light, and Ganymede is the new center for this book.

I loved this page turner and loved how much it reminded me of the Browncoats or the crew of the Ketty Jay. I also
Sep 12, 2015 Sasa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Imam jednu ideju u vezi ove knjige i ona izgleda ovako:
Zamislite jedan prosecan horor film u kome se prvih sat vremena ne desava skoro nista bitno, a zatim u poslednjih
pola sata monstrum konacno izlazi iz tame i pokusava da popravi utisak onih dosadnih sat vremena...
E pa, takva je meni bila ova knjiga. Vecim delom dosadna, i poslednjih stotinak stranica akcije, koja nije bila ni blizu onoj sa kraja prvog dela, niti je mogla da ublazi utisak o celokupnom nastavku.
Novi likovi nisu uspesno zamenili
Jan 26, 2016 Ashley rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi-fantasy, owned
Can we just talk about Avasarala for a minute? She's the OG Bad Bitch. I want her to narrate my life.

Loved the added POV's and political drama in this book.
May 05, 2013 Lightreads rated it liked it
Second verse, same as the first –intrasolar medium-future scifi heavy on the politics with occasional alien goo monster horror set pieces. It even introduced a new character whose arc depends entirely on his pain over the fact that a girl he cares about is missing. That being necessary to replace the nearly identical plotline from the first book that was resolved, you understand. At least take 2 was way less psychosexually creepy.

Basically, it's another summer blockbuster. Splashy, surprisingly
The Expanse series is rapidly becoming one of my favorite stories, and it's only partly due to the scope. Look: If I'm going to read a space-opera, I want huge, Huge, HUGE scope, right? Well it's my own preferences here, so the answer is a definite YES! I know a little astronomy and scale and putting all of that in perspective with what the hell just happened at the end of this novel is right likely to blow my mind, if it hadn't already been blown when I read Stephen Baxter's The Ring. That's no ...more
Sep 18, 2012 Mike rated it it was amazing
I was a big fan of 2011′s Leviathan Wakes from duo known collectively as James S. A. Corey and was extraordinarily excited to get started with the sequel Caliban’s War. Picking up not too long after the events of Leviathan Wakes, in Caliban’s War the alien protomolecule has taken up residence on Venus and watching from a distance humanity watches with fear in trepidation as the incomprehensible lifeform seemingly bides its time building something. The fragile peace of the solar system is shatter ...more
Mark Hebwood
Dec 26, 2014 Mark Hebwood rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Fantastic. This is even better than the first one, and that is a high standard to beat. James uses the same narrative perspective as in Leviathan Wakes but expands the scope of this technique to four "narrating characters". These are Holden, our idealistic spaceship captain from the first book, Avasarala, a Machiavellian politician of pragmatic brilliance, Bobbie, a smart but battle-traumatised marine, and Prax, a bright scientist gripped by fear for his kidnapped daughter.

James uses his narrati
Michael Cummings
Oct 22, 2012 Michael Cummings rated it really liked it
When I reviewed Leviathan Wakes, I mentioned that I sat on that book for too long and was kicking myself for it. This time, I didn't make that mistake, and now I have to live with the repercussions - waiting another year for the third volume.

Readers of Leviathan Wakes will be able to step into the pages of this book without pause. The writing duo that makes up James S.A. Corey took an approach I have to respect - there's no backstory, no summation of the previous novel, not even an awkward chapt
Radu Stanculescu
I'm not sure if it was the new characters, the development of the old ones, the pace or the fact that this time I knew what to expect that made this book better than Leviathan Wakes. Maybe a combination of all these factors.

I've read some criticism about how the plot in this one is too similar to the first book, but I read it more as a "we don't learn from our mistakes" story. And frankly, from looking at the world around us, it's as real a story as it gets.
Feb 06, 2016 Silvana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those who read Leviathan Wakes, like, seriously how can you not continue
4.5 stars. A worthy sequel. Almost perfect. The new POVs are fun to read, except maybe Prax's - which could be too morose at times - the reason why I didn't give five stars, but his at least gave a more, er, expansive view (see what I did there?) on the lives of the people in those super remote moons. Great world building once again, I hope the next book will be about the lives in Mars. I love the Martian characters so far.

Avasarala is a hoot, while the TV actress is decent enough she is not as
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Why is it titled Caliban's War? 7 127 Jan 11, 2016 01:12PM  
Adventures in Sci...: Half way through: thoughts 1 22 Mar 17, 2014 10:31AM  
Adventures in Sci...: Caliban's War by James S.A. Corey: Thoughts on first hundred pages 1 22 Aug 08, 2013 12:05PM  
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Other Books in the Series

The Expanse (9 books)
  • Leviathan Wakes (Expanse, #1)
  • Abaddon's Gate (Expanse, #3)
  • Cibola Burn (Expanse, #4)
  • Nemesis Games (Expanse, #5)
  • Babylon's Ashes (Expanse, #6)
  • Untitled (Expanse, #7)
  • Untitled (Expanse, #8)
  • Untitled (Expanse, #9)

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“A world no longer of haves and have-nots, but of the engaged and the apathetic.” 10 likes
“Good, because I don’t use sex as a weapon,” Bobbie said. “I use weapons as weapons.” 8 likes
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