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Caliban's War (The Expanse #2)

4.25  ·  Rating Details  ·  34,320 Ratings  ·  2,285 Reviews
We are not alone.

The alien protomolecule is clear evidence of an intelligence beyond human reckoning. No one knows what exactly is being built on Venus, but whatever it is, it is vast, powerful, and terrifying.

When a creature of unknown origin and seemingly impossible physiology attacks soldiers on Ganymede, the fragile balance of power in the Solar System shatters. Now, t
Paperback, 601 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)
Glee Caliban is a character from The Tempest.

He is described as subhuman, part human, etc.

The title plays with that -…more
Caliban is a character from The Tempest.

He is described as subhuman, part human, etc.

The title plays with that - a war because of Caliban's existence, I'd say.(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Lindsey Rey
OMG!!!!!! WTF WTF WTF?!?!?!?!?!?!?!
[5 Stars] That ending. Someone hold me. I wasn't ready for that.
Feb 24, 2016 Apatt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
When I read the first book of The Expanse series, Leviathan Wakes I was not that impressed with it. It was, however, an instant hit with the majority of the sci-fi readership. My main problem was that I did not really care for the main characters. Consequently, I decided not to continue with the series. Then a few months ago Syfy started broadcasting The Expanse Season 1 their adaptation of Leviathan Wakes to practically universal acclaim. I wondered if I may have somehow misjudged the book s ...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  ·  review of another edition
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
Jessica ❁ ➳ Silverbow ➳ ❁ Rabid Reads

Aug 05, 2013 Algernon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Kevin Hearne
Sep 16, 2012 Kevin Hearne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
May 20, 2013 Kevin rated it it was amazing
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
Jessica Halleck
I like you, James S.A. Corey, so I'm not going to pull my punches: this book was not as good as Leviathan Wakes.

Don't get me wrong, because I enjoyed it--and you're damn right I'm reading this series through to the end--but where Leviathan Wakes was a mix of great to very good, Caliban's War was a mix of very good to just okay.

It starts out strong. In fact, the initial setup of the new POV characters was often excellent. Bobbie's and Pax's establishing shots, their journeys through trauma and f
Dec 22, 2015 Kaitlin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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

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
Feb 21, 2016 Robyn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
Five stars because this was just a thrill-a-minute book. Wonderful additions to the cast of characters and a deepening of the political situation from Leviathan Wakes. AND THE ENDING! (It is hard to not immediately pick up the next book. So hard.)
Feb 15, 2016 Justine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
Solid second entry in the series. That ending left me wanting to get to the next book as soon as possible!
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
Tom Merritt
Aug 21, 2012 Tom Merritt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

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.
Mar 03, 2016 Brandon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, syfy, 2016
The second installment of James S.A. Corey’s Expanse series brings with it some new faces as well as familiar ones. We meet UN dignitary Chrisjen Avasarala, a driven politician with about as much social tact as a sledgehammer; Sergeant Bobbie Draper, a Martian Marine who witnesses her entire team annihilated by a monsterous protomolecule giant; and Dr. Prax Meng, a father desperately searching for his kidnapped daughter. They are joined by Captain James Holden and the crew of the Roci, who follo ...more
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
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
Maggie K
Apr 25, 2016 Maggie K rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: series-challenge
dang this was a fun book.
After the incident on Eros, Holden and crew are working for Fred and the OFP, but is everything as resolved as they think?
UPon getting involved helping to find another missing girl, they see that Eros was just the tip of the iceberg.
We also meet a couple new characters, all of whom are great additions to this saga.
My only beef would be that a lot of the plot eerily resembles book1. But I liked book1, so I dont care! :)
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 26, 2016 Ashley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
My oh my. When I started this book, I feared that it wouldn't live up to it's predecessor, Leviathan Wakes. Guys, I am very happy and excited to announce, that it didn't happen. More, it even sorta beat my expectations. Sure, Leviathan had it all - characters, plot, gravitas, vastness. But Caliban's War simply improves it. It's like this book is an evolutionary product of Leviathan, and that's what amazed me the most. It is a very rare, very uncommon practice both in literature and movies, so al ...more
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Escape The Earth!: 2016: Caliban's War 1 4 Apr 12, 2016 08:47AM  
Why is it titled Caliban's War? 7 172 Jan 11, 2016 01:12PM  
Adventures in Sci...: Half way through: thoughts 1 28 Mar 17, 2014 10:31AM  
Adventures in Sci...: Caliban's War by James S.A. Corey: Thoughts on first hundred pages 1 24 Aug 08, 2013 12:05PM  
  • A Problem of Proportion (The Human Division, #11)
  • Zero Point (Owner Trilogy, #2)
  • The Temporal Void
  • Edge of Infinity
  • The Coldest War (The Milkweed Triptych, #2)
  • Infidel (Bel Dame Apocrypha, #2)
  • Honor's Knight (Paradox #2)
  • Redemption Ark
  • Firebird (Alex Benedict, #6)
  • Ancillary Mercy (Imperial Radch, #3)

Other Books in the Series

The Expanse (10 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)
  • Untitled Expanse Novella

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“Humans can be better than they are, so let’s do that.” 22 likes
“Good, because I don’t use sex as a weapon,” Bobbie said. “I use weapons as weapons.” 19 likes
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