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Leviathan Wakes (The Expanse #1)

4.14  ·  Rating Details  ·  53,571 Ratings  ·  4,718 Reviews
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
Paperback, 561 pages
Published June 2nd 2011 by Orbit (first published 2011)
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Glee I'm reading along and watching the TV show at the same time. Good book, good TV. I like having the book fill in the background more, but think the TV…moreI'm reading along and watching the TV show at the same time. Good book, good TV. I like having the book fill in the background more, but think the TV show can stand on its own. Best thing I've seen on Syfy in a while.(less)
Brian This is the first novel in the series and, having just finished it, can confirm that it can be read standalone with no further commitment to the…moreThis is the first novel in the series and, having just finished it, can confirm that it can be read standalone with no further commitment to the series. I am planning on reading the next book very soon though; I enjoyed this first story very much.(less)
Ready Player One by Ernest ClineThe Martian by Andy WeirOld Man's War by John ScalziThe Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsAnathem by Neal Stephenson
Best Science Fiction of the 21st Century
10th out of 524 books — 5,256 voters
Old Man's War by John ScalziStarship Troopers by Robert A. HeinleinPandora's Star by Peter F. HamiltonDune by Frank HerbertLeviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey
Excellent Space Opera
5th out of 366 books — 1,991 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Sep 16, 2011 j rated it really liked it
I complained in my review of Chasm City that the gee-whiz mechanics of space opera can't really sustain a 600-page narrative. It turns out I was perhaps incorrect: most of the lengthy examples I've sampled in the sub-genre (Alastair Reynolds, Iain M. Banks) are of the "dark and gritty" variety, grim, nihilistic visions of the future starring amoral asshole protagonists who are impossible to sympathize with. Even with a bunch of cool ideas on display, spending 700 pages in these books is exhausti ...more
Nov 29, 2011 Felicia rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi
I've been gorking out on Urban Fantasy and Romance lately, so mixing it with a FANTASTIC Space Opera was JUST what I needed!

I loved this book because in a lot of ways it humanized a BIG SF world in a way that is normally tough. I cared about the characters, I yelled at them a lot, and I enjoyed every minute! It felt modern and current, and created a really believable world that I wanted to live in and learn about. The politics of Earth vs Mars vs the Fringers, the mystery and vaguely noir-ish su
mark monday
Sep 24, 2011 mark monday rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: i-gave-up, futuristik
EH? EH! this so-called space opera is anything but. no sense of wonder, no sense of truly divergent civilizations, no galactic span. and a clear lack of operatic emotions on display as well. perhaps this is due to the characterization, which is rote, uninteresting, and badly developed, with sub-par Firefly-style dialogue along for the ride. perhaps it is also due to the subject matter, which is confined to purely in-system politics between Earth and Mars (the two reigning superpowers) and the as ...more
I got nobody to blame but myself for this….

I’ve had a long-standing policy that I will not read an unfinished sci-fi/fantasy series because I spent over a decade waiting for a certain master of horror to get off his ass and finish what he started. Plus, I have no urge to join the ranks of fans of other fantasy writers who seem to spend more time coming up with excuses and side projects rather than producing new books to finish their on-going series.

Ignorance isn’t a good defense, but it’s all I
Jun 19, 2015 Alejandro rated it liked it
A fair option of new science-fiction book series.


I have a lot of curiousity about this series since it seemed like a very good option in new sci-fi. I mean, out of the obvious well-known sci-fi space opera books in the market, this "Expanse" series sounded like a good way to read something fresh in the field of sci-fi.

And I was right. I liked the book.

First of all, maybe you already know but anyway, I want to mention that "James S.A. Corey", the author, is a pen name us
Mar 22, 2015 DMS rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 03, 2013 Carol. rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of light sci-fi
Leviathan Wakes broke my reading slump! Listlessly slogging my way through various reads--a couple of which came highly recommended--I was starting to wonder if it I had lost my book love. Then I picked this up for a Book o' the Month read. Expecting a detail dense sci-fi, within the first few pages I found myself hooked, and by page 100, thoroughly reeled in by this hefty genre mash-up. Space opera? Perhaps. Horror? Maybe. Military? Sort of. Mystery in space? Yes, definitely. And if by the end ...more
Richard Derus
Sep 06, 2013 Richard Derus rated it it was ok
Rating: 2.5* of five

**UPDATE 6 September 2013** More Suckass News Dept, from SFSignal: "Variety is reporting that scribes Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby (Iron Man and Children of Men) will script the pilot of the how called The Expanse, which is based on the series of novels written by Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck under the pseudonym James S.A. Corey.

The book series cosnsists of Leviathan Wakes, Caliban’s War, Abaddon’s Gate and the soon-to-be-released Cibola Burn.

The Expanse will be an hour long Sc
Confession Time: I'm very bad at categorizing genres and sub-genres, so it didn't dawn on me that Leviathan Wakes would be considered a "space opera" until I saw it in the genre listing on the book's Goodreads page. I still don't really know what that is (space opera, not a Goodreads page), despite having read the Wikipedia page and stuff. I think of "space opera" and this comes to mind:

Probably not the same thing. But I did realize that my last attempt at reading a "space opera", The Warrior's
Jeffrey Keeten
Dec 24, 2015 Jeffrey Keeten rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 19, 2015 Melki rated it really liked it
Recommended to Melki by: The Unholy Trinity - Tom, Dirk and Algernon
This is one of the many reasons why having Goodreads friends is so awesome.

I would have never read, much less even heard of this book had it not been for some GRs buddies with impeccable taste. And believe me, it took some coaxing to get me to read a 560 page space odyssey.

It's a real page-turner, they said, and indeed, it was. You'll fly through it in no time, I was told, and indeed, I would have, had I not picked one of the busiest weeks of my life to read it. This book should ideally be read
Jul 28, 2015 Bookwraiths rated it liked it
Shelves: scifi
Originally reviewed at Bookwraiths Reviews

Leviathan Wakes is yet another novel where the hype hurt it rather than helped it with me.

What do I mean by that?

Simply put, I went into the read expecting this space opera to reinvent the genre! Blow me away! Render me speechless! Astonish me! And, while it was an entertaining science fiction novel, it didn’t do those things, so in my mind, it was a major disappointment. But I’m jumping ahead of myself, let us begin at the beginning.

The story itself s
Nov 02, 2013 seak rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013
I'm not usually a fan of crime novels or crime noir, whatever you want to call them. I also can't watch CSI or NCIS because even though I acknowledge they are well done, I've even been known to enjoy them on occasion, they tend to be the same cookie-cutter plot.

However, add a little science fiction and the mix can be brilliant as demonstrated in Leviathan Wakes.

Leviathan Wakes (LW) takes place solely in our solar system, which is a rare thing for most SF works it seems and yet it felt just as fu
Dirk Grobbelaar
Authors foresee lots of trouble between humans making a living (hypothetically) in the asteroid belt of our solar system (or beyond) and those closer to home. Don’t believe me? Check out The Quiet War or Cold as Ice.

As you can see, the themes dealt with in Leviathan Wakes aren’t new. The blurb, drawing parallels with Peter F. Hamilton, is accurate enough, although any number of authors might have been referenced, interchangeably. That said… this book is a strangely rewarding beast, given some pa
Feb 20, 2016 Sanaa rated it it was amazing
[4.5 Stars] Ugh, I absolutely loved this one. It got half a star knocked off because I felt like the women in the book were really just there because they were love interests. I wanted something a bit more. I think we will get that, but still I LOVED THIS BOOK SO MUCH OH MY GOODNESS. Miller, Miller... I just can't.
Feb 09, 2016 Apatt rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
This is the first "inter-solar" space opera I have ever read (or remember reading). The era of the setting is also interesting, neither the near future nor particularly far-flung. This is set at a time where space colonization has been going on for some years but mankind is still restricted to our solar system, intergalactic travels are still a dream, or a science fiction concept. The year is not indicated in the book so my guess is about 100 years from now, 200 tops!

The book is an interesting h
I've been hearing good things about this series for a while now and I'm so glad I finally got around to picking it up. What a fantastic start to what I can only imagine will be a great scifi series!

I loved the way the universe was set up, the way we've colonised the solar system but haven't managed to get further due to very practical concerns such as water and air. The political structure is really well set up and makes for a fantastic story.

Most interesting perhaps is the difference between th
Ɗắɳ  2.☠
Mar 08, 2016 Ɗắɳ 2.☠ rated it liked it

“There’s a lot of science fiction that talks about the near future. There’s a lot about great galaxy-spanning empires of the distant future. But there’s not much that talks about the part in between. The Expanse is playing on that bridge. Whatever drives us off Earth to the rest of the solar system or from there to the stars, the problems we have are the ones we bring with us.”

The gist is that, this “space opera” is kept to the small scale, at least initially. This is the first of a planned nine
Love. Yes, folks, it is love at second sight.

I liked this book quite a bit the first time around, when I'd listened to the audiobook. Here's my review of that listen, from 2012. It's interesting to look back at that review now, as I enjoyed the book quite a bit more this time around. The things that annoyed me on that earlier review didn't bug me at all this time.

So I'm not sure if that's that I prefer the reading to the listening, or if I'm just getting more of the fine detail this time throu
Dec 04, 2011 Jason rated it it was amazing
Shelves: e-books, read-2011
5 stars for it delivers everything that you would expect...

I really love space operas, and Leviathan Wakes is a very good one, albeit a light one. This is not a hard science book like an Alastair Reynolds novel, but it is a true space opera in that outer space is one of the main characters.

The story centers around two very different protagonists that each view the world in a very different way. Miller and Holden are both good guys that try and make the world a better place by being the best at
Scott Sigler
May 12, 2012 Scott Sigler rated it it was amazing
Well I finally finished this book. And that took some doing, because it's a bruiser, weighing in at 560 pages. I mean, who writes books that long these days?

I really enjoyed it. My favorite part of the book was the setting. The Two Writers Who Together Are Known As "James S.A. Corey" created a space opera that is fully contained in our solar system. There are different governments, cultures, and we are even on the cusp of human speciation as the inner planets square off against the "belters" and
Dec 10, 2015 Michael rated it really liked it
Great escapist reading with a compelling mystery, battles in space, and a band of brothers with the fate of humanity in their hands. My interest in taking up this 2011 series entry was spurred by the production of a Syfy cable TV series “Expanse” based on the book. Set perhaps 200 years in the future when we have colonized the solar system, it doesn’t tax your imagination with amazing technological wonders like the far-future space operas of Alastair Reynolds or Peter Hamilton. Instead the focus ...more
Mr. Matt
Jun 18, 2015 Mr. Matt rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi, favorites, 2015, aliens
A young, rich, idealistic woman goes missing. A jaded, over-the-hill cop is given the make-work job of finding her. An earnest water hauler plying the trade between the far flung settlements of humanity in the outer solar system receives a distress signal. Three disconnected lives come together and nothing will ever be the same again.

I can't believe it took me this long to read this book. In a year where I've read a number of good books, Leviathan Wakes rises to the top. It is good; damn good. I
David Sven
Jun 28, 2012 David Sven rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Fast paced action that's part military scifi, part action/thriller, part detective story, with a touch of horror(non supernatural).

A fast, entertaining, easy read. The plot pacing was good, at no point did I want to put this down and go read something else. In fact I've gone ahead and bought the 2nd book in the series, Caliban's War, to read immediately after. This first book in the series is stand alone so you are not going to be left hanging, but you are left with enough to know that there is
Fantastic Space-Opera! I didn't know what to expect when I picked up the book besides the basic premise, and yet I was slowly drawn into situation after situation that got bigger and more bad-ass, contrary to what I was expecting in the first hundred pages or so. Sure, Solar-system action, big haulers, warships... I didn't expect the scope to become as large as it soon became, and believe me, I was quite satisfied with what came next. War? No problem. Expectation of high-level manipulation? Agai ...more
Tom Merritt
Jun 17, 2012 Tom Merritt rated it it was amazing
This to me is perfect scifi. There's enough acknowledgement to reality and physics and tech, and loads of evidence that the writer(s) is(are) a geek (are geeks) that I don't feel put upon with unlikely scenarios. On the other hand it's also not a physics textbook. I like physics textbooks, especially ones with stories, but that's a different choice of reading. When I want fiction, this is what I want. Adventure, differentiated and believable characters tight writing, and mystery that pulls you t ...more
Kevin Hearne
Jan 08, 2012 Kevin Hearne rated it it was amazing
After seeing this title on whole bunch of "Best of 2011" lists, I decided to give it a shot. I've been reading a lot more fantasy than sci-fi, so I thought this would be a nice change of pace.

I loved it!

Great characters, flawed heroes, but most of all, believable humans in space. This book never attempts to say that humans can skip across interstellar distances with a magic warp/wormhole/stargate drive. Everything's contained in our own solar system, which is at least plausible. The political fa
Mike (the Paladin)
This is an excellent book. I'm going to have a couple of negative things to say which accounts for it not getting into the 5 star range, but they're minor.

This is a multilayered story that deals with events on several levels. At base you get a "sort of" mystery story with a bedraggled cop drawn into a missing person's case that turns out to be so much more. It's also a "sort of" first contact story of a rather original type (yes you've probably seen this type of first contact but it's not been d
Nov 22, 2011 Algernon rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2011
For once, I think the hype around the launch of a new series is justified. It's true this is not really a new author, I have already read and liked both The Long Price and The Dragon Path by Daniel Abraham. The Expanse looks set to become one of my favorite space opera books.

Humanity has reached the outer limits of our Solar system, colonizing the Moon, Mars, the asteroid belt and the satelites of the outer planets. Yet human nature hasn't changed much with the centuries and this futuristic set
Executive Summary: This book started off really strong, but fell off a little for me somewhere in the middle, but was still enjoyable from start to finish. It feels sort of like a cross between Deeps Space 9 and Firefly.

Audio book: This is the first book I've listened to read by Jefferson Mays. He does an alright job, but nothing special. He doesn't really do voices or accents that I remember. He speaks clearly and is easy to understand with decent inflection.

Full Review
I started this book th
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Other Books in the Series

The Expanse (9 books)
  • Caliban's War (Expanse, #2)
  • 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)

Share This Book

“There's a right thing to do," Holden said.
"You don't have a right thing, friend," Miller said. "You've got a whole plateful of maybe a little less wrong.”
“He hadn’t been aware he’d felt wrong until he suddenly felt right again.” 32 likes
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