As usual, the authors have delivered a hugely entertaining entry into the Expanse universe. It’s got plenty of action and political intrigue and mostAs usual, the authors have delivered a hugely entertaining entry into the Expanse universe. It’s got plenty of action and political intrigue and most importantly, it has a cast of characters that act like humans and are relatable folks, despite the fact that they exist hundreds of years in the future and are interplanetary mercenaries. Where Nemesis Games fails as the other four books did not is that it doesn’t seem to have an actual ending. Where the other entries all have a rather explosive conclusion and ended with a bang, book five just sort of... stops. It begins with a bang though, quite literally. You’ll see...
So far, each Expanse book has treated Holden and crew as a sort of amalgamous unit, giving us those characters only from Holden’s POV chapters. The other chapters would be filled with characters that would rotate in and out of each book, with Holden being the only constant POV. This time each character of Holden’s crew gets the POV treatment. Along with Holden, Naomi, Alex and Amos now get their own chapters and we get to learn a lot about each character in the process. We now have backstories and motivation to fill in the blanks for each one, which should make their stories richer going forward, even if they don’t get their own chapters again. Also, I would read an entire book from Amos’ perspective. His chapters were immensely hilarious and entertaining. Authors, if you’re reading this... spin off?
The writing is still solid with witty dialogue that feels like it’s coming from actual people. Managing dialogue that seems grounded in reality, without sounding irreverent and still being pertinent to the plot is no easy feat. Sarcasm, cynicism, joking, it’s all present here and I think that’s one of my favorite things of these books. If these characters were in any other setting, I would still like to read about them. As for the rest of the writing, as usual the authors do a great job of making a realistic and gritty science fiction setting without ruining it with too much techno babble. As they’ve said before, this is working man’s science fiction and I’m perfectly okay with that. If you’ve read the other books, you’ll know all of this about their writing and it’s still just as consistent here.
The only thing that’s keeping me from giving this five stars as I gave Cibola Burn is the lack of -to me anyway- a true conclusion. Each character may have wrapped up with a self revelation and become a better person by the end, but I still feel like it was missing that trademark guns-a-blazin' conclusion that the other books had. Perhaps, this deep into the series, the books will stop feeling like semi self-contained stories and just start feeling like one giant series, ala A Song of Ice and Fire. This is the first time I’ve ever read an Expanse book and thought, “damn, I really with the next book was here right now,” without having that satisfying proverbial “full” feeling. I’m hoping that this isn’t a continuing trend but perhaps with the series widening in scope and getting into some even crazier ideas, we as readers should get used to more cliff-hangers and “what’ll happen next” moments than we did before. I suppose book six will tell. Still, this was a great book. Some of my favorite characters made a much welcome return, the strange got stranger and the bad guys got badder. I can’t recommend this series enough. ...more