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The Expanse #8

Tiamat's Wrath

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Thirteen hundred gates have opened to solar systems around the galaxy. But as humanity builds its interstellar empire in the alien ruins, the mysteries and threats grow deeper.

In the dead systems where gates lead to stranger things than alien planets, Elvi Okoye begins a desperate search to discover the nature of a genocide that happened before the first human beings existed, and to find weapons to fight a war against forces at the edge of the imaginable. But the price of that knowledge may be higher than she can pay.

At the heart of the empire, Teresa Duarte prepares to take on the burden of her father's godlike ambition. The sociopathic scientist Paolo Cortázar and the Mephistophelian prisoner James Holden are only two of the dangers in a palace thick with intrigue, but Teresa has a mind of her own and secrets even her father the emperor doesn't guess.

And throughout the wide human empire, the scattered crew of the Rocinante fights a brave rear-guard action against Duarte's authoritarian regime. Memory of the old order falls away, and a future under Laconia's eternal rule -- and with it, a battle that humanity can only lose - seems more and more certain. Because against the terrors that lie between worlds, courage and ambition will not be enough...

534 pages, Hardcover

First published March 26, 2019

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James S.A. Corey

70 books20.1k followers

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 3,549 reviews
Profile Image for Kevin Kelsey.
405 reviews2,200 followers
November 22, 2021
“The universe is always stranger than you think. It didn’t matter how broad her imagination was, how cynical, how joyous and open, how well researched or wild minded. The universe was always stranger. Every dream, every imagining, however lavish and improbable, inevitably fell short of the truth.”

11/22/21 3rd reread update:
Goddamn, this book is so satisfying. Teresa's journey blows me away every time. How do they keep doing this to me?

Original Review:
March 26th rolls around, my copy of Tiamat’s Wrath, the penultimate novel in the long running Expanse series downloads to my Kobo, I pick it up and read the first sentence. Four words, three of them innocuous enough, but the fourth? James S.A. Corey, you sonsofbitches, that’s how it’s gonna be? Damn. Well, okay then, I applaud your chutzpah. Let’s do this thing.

This is the best Expanse novel, and honestly one of my favorite sci-fi novels from the last decade. Tiamat’s Wrath is unbelievably fun and fully delivers the goods. Big (and small) character moments, a game changing story, some mysteries resolved, new mysteries to fill their void. But it's also incredible touching. Particularly in the ways it deals with childhood development, trauma, and finding a new normal.

With an anonymous gun to my head, forced to make a decision, I’d put it above Nemesis Games in a full rank of these novels. It blows the others out of the water as far as page-turning pure enjoyment goes, and it’s definitely the most satisfying story. Every character has an incredible arc. This is the second part of the final three-parter, and you would be correct to assume that shit gets real. The stakes are high, and there are reverberating consequences.
Profile Image for Bradley.
Author 6 books3,971 followers
March 29, 2019
Wow. Just wow.

I'm really afraid to say just about anything for fear of spoiling the crap out of this novel. It's just one of those things. I mean, I counted three times I cried and I won't tell you whether it is tears of rage, sadness, or happiness. That would be TELLING, you know?

But if I'm okay with being all general and gushy and stuff, and if anyone has read any of my reviews, they know I am, then I'll just go, "Oh, wow, What A NOVEL."

Duarte's Empire and the Resistance. There are no whiny nerf-herders or death stars here. Just protomolecule goodness, real developments along the line of What Killed Them, and more delicious characters than I can shake a Roci at.

Some of the dialogues were something wildly special to me. Heartwarming in a way only our loveable stone-killer Amos (as Timothy) can make anything. :) And then there's the way Holden plays a long game. :)

And then there's... but no spoilers. I was speechless multiple times. I had to consciously force a breath after I started turning purple.

And I couldn't help but ask myself why the authors gave special props to GRRM over and above their long, real friendship. I suspect it's the whole, oh, you know, let's KILL some people bits. Maybe. Well, I'll let you folks find out for yourselves.

Profile Image for Petrik.
674 reviews42.9k followers
May 4, 2023
I have a Booktube channel now! Subscribe here: https://www.youtube.com/petrikleo

4.5/5 stars

Wow. I take back what I said before. Tiamat’s Wrath surpassed Caliban’s War and Nemesis Games as the best installment of the series so far.

“Distributed responsibility is the problem. One person gives the order, another carries it out. One can say they didn’t pull the trigger, the other that they were just doing what they were told, and everyone lets themselves off the hook.”

I'm finally caught up with the series. Tiamat’s Wrath is the eight and penultimate volume of The Expanse series by James S. A. Corey. And of course, it’s just my damn luck that out of all the books in the series that I’ve read, this was the only one that made me WANT to immediately read the next volume, and it’s not available yet. Seriously, though, Tiamat’s Wrath was amazing. I think the biggest reason why this one worked so well is that finally, Corey has started to put the narrative on a pedal to the metal. The first sentence of Tiamat’s Wrath sets the tone and implication right from the start that this book will be destructive, and they’re delivered with calculative precision. The pacing was wonderfully addictive, the tension never lets up, and the emotion of the characters was portrayed incredibly well.

“But pacifism only works when your enemy has a conscience.”

It is odd that, somehow, Tiamat’s Wrath managed to become my favorite book of the series so far. I have voiced my complaint several times throughout my reviews of the series that I have issues with having to read non-Rocinante’s crew POV chapters. Thankfully, the two non-Rocinante’s crew POV here—Teresa and this character from Cibola Burn—were so well-written and compelling. This is magnificent, I knew I loved Cibola Burn for a good reason. As for the crew of the Rocinante, they continue to be the burning force of the narrative. I loved these characters; so much has happened, and Tiamat’s Wrath shows how decades of being together meant for these characters. This was what I wanted from Persepolis Rising, and I’m glad I get it here. There’s so much heart, longing, and loneliness. Even though Holden only has two short POV chapters, Corey was able to make sure that the other characters will be able to shoulder the weight of the story.

“There are people I love. There are people who have loved me. I fought for what I believed, protected those I could, and stood my ground against the encroaching darkness. Good enough.”

Now, I also have no idea whether it’s because I’m in the middle of watching the TV series adaptation or not, but for the first time in my experience of reading the books, I REALLY could imagine the space-warfare from the prose. I didn’t realize how much trouble I had with imagining the space-warfare in this series until I actually watched the TV show and wondered: “Did I even read this scene?” This happened several times. But not with Tiamat’s Wrath. There was so much adrenaline rush, and the badass Valkyrie scene (only readers who’ve read this book will understand what I mean here) was most likely the best scene of the entire series so far.

“You take care of your tools, your tools take care of you.”

To avoid spoilers for the series, I will have to make this review much shorter than usual. Seriously, almost everything inside this book can be considered a spoiler for the previous books in the series. However, I hope my point on the quality of this installment has been delivered successfully in this review. To put it simply, Tiamat’s Wrath is The Expanse at its maximum height, and I’m very curious to find out whether the final volume, Leviathan Falls, will be able to top this one.

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You can find this and the rest of my reviews at Novel Notions

Special thanks to my Patrons on Patreon for giving me extra support towards my passion for reading and reviewing!

My Patrons: Alfred, Alya, Annabeth, Blaise, Devin, Diana, Edward, Hamad, Helen, Jimmy Nutts, Joie, Lufi, Michelle, Mike, Miracle, Nicholas, Zoe.
Profile Image for Mario the lone bookwolf.
795 reviews3,619 followers
March 29, 2020
Right before the end, now everything is coming together, well prepared over the last years and the resolutions and new connections feel so right, realistic, just perfect, I would call it the best novel of this already great series.

Evil aliens related to an ancient genocide in some of the systems aren´t so interested in an expanding humankind and will show their true potential for destruction in the grand finale.

The series shows the evolution and history of Sci-Fi, integrating many old and some new ideas and leading the fusion of plot and character, worldbuilding and action, realism and fantasy to an unknown level. It´s also cool that the authors quite kind of played with different subgenre plots like horror, thriller, space western,… in some books, switched perspectives from mainly POV to a wider field and developed and improved their writing style. Starting with Leviathan wakes, their mastery of the subject has continuously increased, culminating in this pearl.

The authors have taken the best out of different Sci-Fi trends, the epic battles of military Sci-Fi, the love for the characters of social Sci-Fi and the metapolitical, economic, and ideological factors of higher social Sci-Fi, the easy-going smoothness of space opera, some rare hard Sci-Fi and cyberpunk elements and balanced a unique mixture of elements. It´s amazing how Sci-Fi evolved from often very egocentric, unobjective, agenda infested, weird, lengthy, and even boring writing to a crucible of ideas.

After having read many Sci-Fi series I would say that it´s one of the most accessible to all audiences, avoiding the lengths and weaknesses of mentioned subgenres and just taking the best of the best for the, highly objectively, best and most mindblowing all time favorite genre.

We are left with a pretty bad future perspective for humankind, but who knows, maybe we will survive in the final, last part of this epic nine-part series.

Tropes show how literature is conceptualized and created and which mixture of elements makes works and genres unique:
This series has some of the most amazing and massive tropeinity I´ve ever seen.
Profile Image for Niki Hawkes - The Obsessive Bookseller.
725 reviews1,200 followers
April 30, 2019
I can’t remember the last time I actually yelled at a book.

Coming back to this series felt like embracing family after being gone a few years… like coming home. In my mind, these characters are real people. Their development is so on-point, I always feel their triumphs and defeats poignantly. These authors are brilliant. And I have to say, they really set out to shred my soul with Tiamat’s Wrath. Holy shit.

Truth be told, I’ve been really apathetic lately with books. This is the first novel in a loooong while to evoke a reaction from me. To the point where, yes, I yelled when a few things happened and may or may not have sobbed at one point. I read so much, that kind of emotional investment only comes along once in a blue moon. And it’s these types of books I save my solid 5-star ratings for. Before Tiamat’s Wrath, I hadn’t handed out one since last July. O_o

This book was amazing. It may not have had a lot of action or moving parts, but the depth of character immersion and overall plot advancement was phenomenal. Every moment counted. Every conversation important. Every action riveting. It’s in close competition with Nemesis Games as my favorite of the series. They’re kind of hard to compare though – that one had a ton of moving parts and grand, epic events that blow your mind with the shear scale and implications of it all. This one was much more understated – an emotional roller coaster of internal turmoil that drew you in because of the human element. It was a slow burn, but every moment was fire… at least to me.

They’re definitely gearing up for a finale, and I think it’s going to be a fucking monster. Tiamat’s left me poised on the edge of a cliff, and if I could jump into a freefall right this moment to see what happens next, I wouldn’t hesitate. This is one of those anticipated series finales we’ll all have to cancel plans for… grab some tissues and maybe one of those squishy stress ball thingies and seclude ourselves in quiet corners and wait for all hell to break loose… then deal with the agony of it ending. Needless to say, I have a lot of expectations riding on the final novel, but I’m so confident in these authors that I’m truly not worried (just stressed at what they’re going to do to me).

Series status: highest priority sci-fi… omg gimmie the final novel!!!

Recommendations: if you have ANY interest in the space opera genre, there’s no better place to start than The Expanse series. It will take you on a wild ride, gut-punching you all the while… it’s awesome lol. If you haven’t checked out the novellas by this point in the series, you might want to pick up Strange Dogs before diving in (although I found merit in all of them, so consider that an endorsement). Overall, this is my first pick whenever someone wants an exciting, character-driven series. And if anything, my opinions of it have only gotten stronger with each installment.

Via The Obsessive Bookseller at www.NikiHawkes.com

Other books you might like:
Planetside (Planetside #1) by Michael Mammay Old Man's War (Old Man's War, #1) by John Scalzi The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers, #1) by Becky Chambers All Systems Red (The Murderbot Diaries, #1) by Martha Wells A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe (The Salvagers, #1) by Alex White
Profile Image for Kemper.
1,390 reviews6,824 followers
November 19, 2021
If you’re a fan of this series the very first sentence will break your heart.

Do things get better after that? Let’s see what one of the characters has to say about the possibility of good things happening after bad things:

”Sometimes it’s just one shit sandwich after another.”


So yeah, there are a couple of moments in this that absolutely suck if you’re invested in these characters. That’s not to say that all hope is lost, and that there aren’t some good fist-pumping “Hell yeah!” moments. There are plenty, but there is a steep price to pay for them. It’s still worth it though.

That’s pretty much all I have to say about this one. It’s nigh on impossible to talk about the eighth book in a nine book series without spoiling the previous ones so I’m just going to once again urge that any sci-fi/space opera fans try this if they haven’t already. Oh, and the TV show based on it that is now on Amazon Prime is well worth watching, too.
Profile Image for Rachel (TheShadesofOrange).
2,090 reviews2,948 followers
November 27, 2021
5.0 Stars - Video Review: https://youtu.be/oWtGyTmzisc
I just can't get enough of this epic space series and this latest installment did not disappoint!

As always, I loved getting to spend more time with the returning characters. I missed certain perspectives in this book, including few fan-favourites, but, by the end of the book, I understood why those choices were made.

As in previous installments, this book introduced new characters with their own POV chapters. Elvi’s chapters were among my favourites, because she provided the reader with more understanding of the protomolecule. While there is not much hard science in this series, I appreciated finally having a more detailed look at this fascinating alien technology. I did not enjoy Theresa’s chapters quite as much because I personally dislike space princesses and court politics in my SFF stories. However, I did liked the progression of Theresa's storyline towards the end of the book.

Tiamat's Wrath had a similar tone and narrative to the later books in the series and would appeal most to the readers who enjoyed the later books in the series. Like in Babylon’s Ashes and Persepolis Rising, there continued to be a lot of galactic politics between the warring entities and less emphasis on the ancient aliens.

The ending of this novel set up the series for an epic conclusion, moving back to the initial mysteries of the story. I cannot wait to read the ninth and final book in this epic space opera series. I highly recommend this entire series to any science fiction reader.

I requested a review copy from the publisher, Orbit Books.
Profile Image for Ashley.
2,655 reviews1,692 followers
June 12, 2019
One of these days I’m going to have to do a full-series Expanse re-read. Probably not until after next year, when the last book is published. But whenever that happens, I feel like this book might be worth five stars. Maybe the last one, too. I actually finished it when it was first published over two months ago, but I’m so far behind in my reviews, this one isn’t going to super informative. I remember it traumatizing me, but in a good way.

All that to say, this was a really solid penultimate novel, and I think it could be more than solid in retrospect, once the whole story has been told.

Tiamat’s Wrath picks up a couple of years after Persepolis Rising. Holden has been a prisoner on Laconia (he describes himself as Duarte’s “dancing bear”), and the rest of the Roci‘s crew has been working for the resistance. Bobbie and Alex are working together on a new ship, while Naomi and Amos are off on their own (the Roci itself is docked somewhere, hidden). All of them are feeling the effects of being separated and under stress for so long.

Added to the mix are two more POV characters. Back from book four is Elvi Okoye, who is now working for Laconia on a scientific mission, trying to ostensibly figure out what killed the Protomolecule builders millions of years before. And then there is Teresa Duarte, the fifteen year old daughter of the megalomaniac Laconian Emperor, Winston Duarte. Even though he fancies himself well on the way to immortality, thanks to the Protomolecule manipulations of our dear old friend Paolo Cortázar, she is being groomed as his replacement; the heir to the Empire, so to speak quite literally.

As always in these books, you are in for a wild, emotional ride. Something big and terrifying always happens. Our beloved crew has to cope. And this time the threats they face just seem to keep getting bigger.

One of the things this series does that I think is very smart is that, with the time jump of thirty or so years last book, we’ve got built in emotional conflict. There is so much meditation on death and endings, and the bittersweet nature of even their most successful victories, because a lot of their people just aren’t there to share it with them anymore, and more could go at any time. The authors just understand how to bring an essential humanity to their story that I appreciate more and more as the story goes on.

I can’t wait to see how they are going to end this thing. I’ve been surprised and scared and pleased the whole way through. I have a really hard time believing they’re not going to stick the landing.

[4.5 stars]

- - -


I had to Google Tiamat. Babylonian goddess of creation, but also represents "primordial chaos".

These last two books are going to be so fun! I wonder how many people will die.
Profile Image for Silvana.
1,151 reviews1,118 followers
March 30, 2019
Another excellent entry, nerve-wrecking as it was. It was beautiful. It was exhilarating. It was sad at times. Corey pulled some punches and hit me right in the gut. I think I cried twice in one day over this. Why? I was invested, that's why. I cared about the characters and their ordeal deeply, having stayed with them for the last, what, four years.

A lot of things I said about The Expanse novels in my previous reviews - except Persepolis Rising since I forgot to write one - and I will not repeat them. In this novel, what makes it a great entry is that it took me to an emotional level that I have not really felt in a long time. Nemesis Games has the strongest resemblance, of course, I could feel the fears, insecurities burdening the main characters, while their strong bond also made them having some small versions of their crew members in their heads. The characters, now in the twilight days of their lives, had gone through a lot, and at first they seemed really melancholic but actually they were becoming more astute, reflective, and consequently, so does the book.

Yet it was not all gloomy old people of course, we got a fresh perspective, a teenaged POV, Teresa Duarte, the daughter of Winston Duarte, destroyer of worlds. Her position placed her basically in the eye of the storm, she was connected to lots of movers and shakers in war between Laconia and the underground. Hers is one of my fave POVs in the book for certain.

How about the pacing? The book had several parts where the pacing felt faster - usually during battles or any physical conflicts - but other than those the pacing felt quite even throughout. The good thing about the reflective moments in characters' heads, these did not hurt the pacing.

Now, I have not read a lot of science fiction series (I prefer stand-alones), yet it would be hard to beat The Expanse as the best SF series - or even SF&F series - I ever read. I am just thankful I still have another book to wait and several seasons of excellently-adapted TV series to watch.
Profile Image for Emily .
729 reviews74 followers
May 9, 2019
Another iffy installment in this series. Why not more stars? A few reasons - the book was super slow at the beginning (actually in the middle too), Naomi's storyline was really boring, Holden was barely in the book (not enough Amos either), and the plot doesn't seem to be progressing - none of the big questions were answered or even partly answered. All we get is more questions.

I do like this series, but find the books to be hit and miss. I don't think I'll reread the entire thing before the final book comes out.

PS - don't even get me started on the idiocy of
Profile Image for Mogsy (MMOGC).
2,030 reviews2,604 followers
April 16, 2019
4.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2019/04/15/...

As the penultimate book in the epic Expanse series, Tiamat’s Wrath gives one the feeling of an entire galaxy holding its collective breath—things aren’t so much happening as they are preparing the field for the final play. And yet, if you’ve been on this train since the beginning, you’ll know that James S.A. Corey, the collaborative team of Daniel Abraham and Ty Frank writing as one, isn’t going to let that get in the way of telling a full-force, action-packed and dramatic story. Sure, the end is just around the corner, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still blow a lot of stuff up and put readers through the emotional wringer in the meantime.

Given that this is the eighth installment of the series, it’s going to be pretty damn hard to give even a brief rundown of the premise without spoiling anything from the previous books, so I would highly recommend being caught up all the way to Persepolis Rising before proceeding. In fact, I would say it’s even more imperative considering how the last book carried us three decades ahead, offering a new beginning of sorts. That said though, you’ll still need to know everything that happened to fully appreciate the sheer magnitude of the events Tiamat’s Wrath, because this novel is the culmination of multiple intertwined narratives and a lengthy complex history. Earlier threads in the series are being drawn together as characters old and new are swept up in the chaos of a fast-changing universe.

Some more time has passed since the end of Persepolis Rising. The Laconian Empire has since become the dominant force in the galaxy, with former rogue admiral of the Martian navy Winston Duarte becoming the High Consul. More importantly, Laconia also controls the thirteen hundred or so alien gates that have opened to solar systems around the galaxy, giving them full access to the transportation network. In addition, the intensive research Duarte commissioned into the protomolecule has paid off, giving his military the most advanced ships humanity has ever developed, with the High Consul himself attempting to use the technological findings to achieve immortality.

What’s left of the crew of the Rocinante, now scattered to the four winds, is forced underground, with Naomi, Bobbie, and Alex fighting for the resistance. Meanwhile, Holden is being held as a political prisoner on Laconia and Amos has gone off the grid to try and get him back, even in the face of impossible odds. Things aren’t looking good for our characters, leaving them doing the best they can while praying something unexpected will happen for them to catch a break. And what do you know, something unexpected is exactly what comes to pass. Beyond the thousands of mysterious gates that have opened, some of them lead to dead systems. In one of these, an alien presence is stirring, not content to stand by while humanity continues to expand. A Laconian scientist, Elvi Okoye, uncovers disturbing details of an ancient genocide that might be related to this new alien threat, and at the heart of the empire, Duarte’s daughter Teresa finds herself prematurely thrust into the limelight as something astonishing and unforeseen happens to her father.

As we make our way steadily towards the grand finale, I found myself wrestling with a storm of feelings swirling within me. As enthusiastically as I awaited this novel, a part of me also never wanted this ride to end. As soon as I read the first sentence, I literally wanted to scream, because fucking hell, what a way to start the book, knowing full well what these four little words would mean to longtime fans of The Expanse. Cruel as it was though, I also knew that nothing could have me better for the tone of what was to follow, and the “beginning of the end” that this book would signify. This is where we must start saying goodbye, and clearly, the authors are not going to be gentle about it, and it says much about their talent when in response, all I can say is, please give me more.

And hey, lucky us, the revelation in the prologue was just the first of many more shocks to come. As you know, something BIG always happens in each of these books. Some event that makes you drop your jaw and think, holy shit, did that really just happen? On the relative scale of things, the “big event” that happens in Tiamat’s Wrath might not be as horrifically destructive or sensational as some of what we’ve seen in the series before, but it does give the reader an eerie sense of foreboding and a sick realization that, wow, humanity is soooooo screwed.

There are many remarkable moments like this in the book, and in fact, one of the things Tiamat’s Wrath does best is making the story feel like it’s in constant motion and packed with action. What’s more impressive is that this is happening even as the authors are spending lots of time pushing plot points and maneuvering characters around the place like pieces on a chessboard. Granted, many of surprises and twists they end up inflicting on us are painful, hitting readers right in the emotions. Here’s where the relationships between characters come into play, especially if you’ve gotten the foundation from the first seven books. Coupled with the joy to see familiar faces return to new roles is also the heartbreak of seeing them make their sacrifices and say their farewells. And it’s not just the old characters appealing to our deepest feelings of sympathy and compassion either; there are some new perspectives here too, endearing themselves into our hearts, making us feel as if we’ve known them forever, and of these, Teresa Duarte’s voice was probably the one touched me the most.

Ultimately, I don’t think there’s been another science fiction series that has come anywhere near to consuming me the way The Expanse has. It is, in every sense of the word, a phenomenon, capturing the imaginations of readers everywhere with its space-operatic intrigue and daring action, its intense thrills and wonder, as well as its human tales of courage and resilience. Tiamat’s Wrath is a gut-punching, ass-kicking, body-rocking installment that will leave you breathless. Bring on the final book.
Profile Image for Christopher.
1,083 reviews26 followers
April 10, 2019
"...But as humanity builds its interstellar empire in the alien ruins, the mysteries and threats grow deeper."

NO! After 8 books, mysteries and threats don't grow deeper! They get resolved! Enough already!

The bait-and-switch of the Expanse continues with more teasing of revelations regarding the protomolecule and the aliens that build the ring-gates that opened up the universe to exploration. But as before, the authors are able to take the premise of the EXPANSION of humanity across the universe and make it seem claustrophobically and oppressively small.

We're still battling over the same basic real estate as in the first novels but now we've added a little smidge of the putative Laconian Empire as the main antagonist. The Laconians come across as mildly authoritarian but never so evil or awful that they MUST be resisted. They're just kind of there, kind of power hungry, but not really any different than any of the other collections of humanity (Earth, Mars, OPA, Belters) we've encountered over 8 books.

For that reason, and just because they're somewhat NEW, I was actively rooting for the Laconians to win and to finally do away with James Holden and the Rocinante. Just for some NOVELTY in this novel. But instead, it's more of the same with a lot of talking and some sterile ship battles.

The importance of the protomolecule is teased lightly and the epilogue gives a decent reason to consider book 9 (when it's released) -- but only if book 9 is the FINAL book.

There's a reason you don't find books about the thousand-year periods before the Chosen One/Dark Lord arrives....because nothing f'n happens. The Expanse feels like a series of books about the time BEFORE the cool stuff happens.
Profile Image for Scott  Hitchcock.
779 reviews224 followers
April 3, 2019
Book 1: 5*
Book 2: 4.5*
Book 3: 4.25*
Book 4: 3.5*
Book 5: 4.5*
Book 6: 4*
Book 7: 4.5*
Book 8: 4.25*

I will say first and foremost this setup book 9 which is supposed to be the final installment to be quite the epic conclusion. Those last two lines of dialogue were so simple but the ramifications anything but.

The problem, and it's a minor quibble, with most of these books in the series is it takes forever to get momentum. Lollygag, review, renew acquaintances while slow burning the story. In the end it's all good because the second half of each book is pretty epic. Minus the prologue starting out with something that punches you in the gut right away this more or less follows suit.

History often repeats itself and so do characters under different names. A different version of Clarissa emerges. I'm hoping that gut punch from the prologue offers a new version in the finale.

Hopefully we see #9 in under two years. Also hoping it's longer than the rest of the books and kicks off with the tires squealing and not Driving Ms Daisy.
Profile Image for Mike.
483 reviews376 followers
August 15, 2019
Look, we're at the eight Expanse book. If you don't know what you are getting yourself into by now I can't do much to help you. I will say that this installment is just as fresh, original, compelling, and exciting as the first seven (ok, so the fourth book was a little weak but the rest are stupendous). It immediately left me wanting the ninth book.

I do have one observation on the series as a whole. To me the theme of the series is how various social structures can act contrary to the needs of the human species when taken to an extreme.

In the case of the first trilogy it is the threat unbridled corporate power and greed can pose. Human experimentation, mass murder to better understand a potentially priceless organic tool, corrupting political processes, risking the destruction of humanity to the sake of a better bottom line.

In the second trilogy it is the risk that extremest ideology poses even if it comes from a legitimate grievance. In this case the Belters' historic exploitation and repression by the inner system. While developing an equitable relationship between Earth, Mars, and the Belt is a worthwhile aspiration, the violent and extreme ends the Belter terrorists take is not justifiable and risks the death of billions of innocent people as well as the potential collapse of the cradle of humanity. The terrorist may once have been considered freedom fighters, but by making the punishment of the inner systems a priority over justice for the Belters they forsake any righteousness and become nothing more mass murders in reach of revenge.

The current trilogy explores the failings of an Imperial system. No matter how much velvet glove may be shown to the populace it is ALWAYS covering an iron fist. A fist that will repress any political organization no matter how innocuous, a fist that will condemn prisoners to the same sort of lab experiments the corporations in the first trilogy would approve of, a fist that KNOWS it knows best, even if it thinks tangling with extra dimensional aliens capable of wiping out the protomolecule creators is a great idea. An Imperial system allows no opposition and no disagreement on policy, even if the vast majority of its subjects would be stridently opposed to kicking the proverbial dragon in the balls with only a paper clip to slay it with.

All of these trilogies inevitably point back to the humanist philosophy of this series: if humanity is to survive the perils of the universe we must work together, treat each other with respect, and never treat our fellow human as a means to an end. If there is one common thread among the three trilogies it is that the antagonistic organization works in opposition to these ideals: they seek to advance on their own, they show extreme disrespect to outsiders, and happily use others as a means to their own ends. I look forward to see how the series will continue this philosophical thread in future books.
Profile Image for Dean Ryan Martin.
202 reviews38 followers
March 26, 2023
"The ones you trust are always the most dangerous. A lot more kings and princesses got poisoned by their friends than eaten by bears (page 98)."


Yay: Still good. Still solid sci-fi writing from start until the end. The level of delight is the same as the gusto I felt while reading Book 7.

Nay: Despite of the 500 plus pages, this is a shorter pre-finale. There are more questions than answers revolving inside my mind once I finished reading the last page.


Yay: Winston Duarte is an ambitious authoritarian but made a human being in this book. He is a morally-gray character. He is not a major POV but through the chapters of his daughter, Teresa, Duarte is seen at his most vulnerable state. After colonizing various planets in the outer space, Duarte on a personal level is a protective father to his one and only daughter. My other favorite new character is Muskrat.

Nay: Naomi's first few characters are boring. No offense here but Naomi is a major character in the series. I saw how she evolved but this pre-finale book, she is carried all the way. I mean, her character needs an extra punch to stand out in a crowd of new and returnee interesting characters.

PLOT: 5 stars!!!

Yay: Winston Duarte is the Adolf Hitler of the outer space. He is living a comfortable life in Laconia but he is not satisfied with what he has. He wants to conquer more planets even if there are more people who will die. The more planets under his rule, the richer he gets.

Nay: Seems uncomfortable to say but Holden and his Rocinante crew are the rebels here. They are the underdogs who are tired of authoritarianism. They want to fight for their freedom, but they have no machines to take down the great dictatorship in the history of the universe.
Profile Image for Trish.
1,943 reviews3,404 followers
April 16, 2019
What a wild ride! This is the 8th book in the The Expanse series and, as far as I know, the penultimate novel. As such, it was time to up the game, for shit to REALLY hit the fan - and boy, did it ever!

After Duarte took over, defeating the Earth-Mars coalition in the previous book, we now get a more or less firmly established empire. Laconia is the capital, ruling thousands of worlds much like Rome did so long ago.
Our favourite ragtag band is split up: Holden is a prisoner at Laconia, Naomi is hiding in different places with what used to be the OPA, Bobby and Alex are more or less together and travelling through different systems while trying to come up with a way to hurt the empire back.
Moreover, we see more of Duarte, of his mad scientist, his underlings, Elvi (the scientist we've encountered in a previous book) as well as Duarte's daughter Teresa.
Thus, we see Sol and how most colonies feel one one hand and the empire itself on the other - which posed an interesting conflict for me personally. As weird as it may sound, but I got Duarte (to a point). I get what he was trying to accomplish and while I don't approve entirely of his methods, maybe, I see the need for some methods because the goals are indeed important and do make sense to some degree. Just like when you read about the Roman Empire - it depends on how you see the big picture or the individual viewpoint.

It was interesting to see the OPA tactics being used by the crew of the Rocinante (though the Roci isn't around - much). In fact, many characters (yes, secondary and even tertiary onces that made an appearance as well as the MCs) have come full circle now which was nice to see.
Far more interesting, though, was the scientific milestones achieved by humanity until this book, especially by Duarte and his people, and all the things we learned about the Builders and what (probably) killed them. We've been waiting for sooooo long for this and what we got was all the more rewarding therefore.
Ships that heal themselves (yes, a more detailed look at what secured Duarte's victory in the last book), anti-aging treatments, the discoveries Elvi made in other systems (one especially), the twins, the catalyst, repair drones, the reaction from whatever killed the Builders ... weird shit but gloriously weird shit. :D

It was like coming home.

Ain't that the truth!
The characters are like a family to me by now. I might not be a fan of Naomi's but that doesn't change much. We have a couple of heavy losses in here, at least one of which was foreseeable due to age as there is only so much even this advanced technology can accomplish. Didn't make it easier or any less tearful. Not to mention when the more action-related death happened.
That's the greatness of the book(s): we care deeply, we know these people inside and out and the new ones always fit in nicely (whether they become new friends, family members or enemies).
I was actually surprised that . However, I think that does make sense for two reasons: .

And then there was at least one twist that was ... well, desired perhaps, but not really foreseen until a certain point in the novel. The implications for the next book are HUGE and I am not only intruiged but excited beyond measure.

Game theory, prisoner's dilemma, alien technologies, different definitions of consciousness and morale ... the authors really pack their books full of interesting concepts (and one can tell that they know their subject) and the combination with some classical scifi elements are a joy. Just like the typically impeccable and distinct narration of the audiobook.

There is one problem now ... we now have to wait (relatively long) for the next book. *wails*
Profile Image for Aoife.
1,291 reviews549 followers
March 14, 2019
I received this book in exchange for an honest review from Orbit.

Tiamat's Wrath is the long-awaited for eight book in James SA Corey's The Expanse series, which follows a range of different characters in a space system that has been colonised by humans. The emergence of a protomolecule that can destroy humanity in seconds tears planets apart and eventually bring them together as they attempt to fight an alien technology far beyond anyone's understanding.

Tiamat's Wrath was, like its predecessors full of action-packed drama and high stake schemes that honestly left me breathing fast with anxiety for all of my favourite characters. This book for some reason, more than the others, helped me understand some of the characters we've been following since the start better than ever before. For the first time, I really understood how sensitive Alex was, and how much he above the others seemed to hold on to the idea of a normal family life (with his failed attempt at normal with Giselle and Kit), and how much he was affected by what the others were doing and his family's life being in danger pretty much all the time. I appreciated Holden's chapters a lot in this book (possibly because there were fewer of them than normal) and I really liked seeing wholesome Holden be a little bit more scheme-y and manipulative than ever before - he definitely learned valuable life lessons from Avasarala.

I really liked the amount of scenes we received on Laconia, and the inner workings of the government (cough, dictatorship, cough) and how everything could fall apart in an instant. Teresa as a character was a great choice to follow, and the way she thinking - more so the evolving way of her thinking and how she began to see the truth of those around her - was rather fascinating to watch, and even though I didn't really like her, I rooted for her. Muskrat was also a fantastic addition, and I would like LOTS of her in the next book. I think I would have liked more about the start of the friendship between Teresa and Timothy (who, the moment he called her Tiny I was delighted to realise was Amos), and how she learned to trust him but also keep him a bit secret.

The scenes with the time disappearance, and the destruction of the Falcon, and Medina Station, honestly left me a bit shocked and speechless. It's hard to imagine anything that in a blink of eye can wipe so much life away as if it never existed, There have been times reading some of the books in this series, I wonder how there's anyone left when everyone can really just be obliterated just like that. It's honestly, terrifying.

I loved seeing Naomi become Captain officially - it's about time she realised she was the real leader of the group, and I can't even talk about Bobbie yet, it's still painful. I have been waiting for it to happen, and I really wanted her to go out in a blaze of glory if it was the way she was to exit, and by god she did.

The prologue was particularity good this time round, and I enjoyed the conversation between Amos and Holden. Not only am I very intrigued to see the new and improved Amos and how the repair drones changed him, truly, I also love the massive forewarning on what's to come in the next book. Major chaos. I'm SO ready for it.

Basically, the main takeaway from this book and all the rest of them, is don't mess with alien shit. Lock it up, leave it be.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Efka.
453 reviews253 followers
April 30, 2019
Tiamat's Wrath started so bad for me, that at some point I've wondered will it be more than two stars. The first 1/3 of the book had been slower than a turtle race, full of contemplations and prolonged thoughts and musings about life and almost an instruction-level technological details, but no action whatsoever. It had been quite hard - or, more like, boring - to read this book at that moment, so I guess no wonder it took me quite a while to finish this book.

Luckily, when the action finally started, it started with a bang. (Both figuratively and literally, but I won't share any spoilers here). It turned out tp be quite a decent book and I'm happy to meet my favorite characters once more. By the way, Tiamat's Wrath is probably the first book when you really feel the age of those characters - everyone's described as being "older", "silver-haired", "wrinkled" and so on. It's the first time I've really FELT that this is a story that already lasted a few decades, not a few years.

As always, there will be some more or less unexpected plot twists, especially regarding main characters. Also, after book nr. 6, "Babylon's ashes", I've guessed that the final three books will make a strong return to protomolecule theme. So... As I've already said about unexpected twists... Yeah, protomolecule features in both "Persepolis rising" and "Tiamat's Wrath", but in this book it is a secondary, or even more, a tertiary storyline. Everything's tied and primed to have an immense book nr. 9. The story's all set to an end. But I already feel that the end will be very, very strange and unexpected.

The actual rating for his book would be either a very strong 7/10 or a weak 8/10, so 4* seems like a really good rating in the GR rating system. See you, Holden and Naomi and all the other guys. I'll be looking forward to meeting you one last time.
Profile Image for Derkanus.
84 reviews76 followers
November 30, 2021
Avasarala died on Luna after a bout of illness. Duarte decrees that she will be interred in the mausoleum on Laconia, her funeral held in the State House. Holden--still being held prisoner by Duarte--meets Avasarala's granddaughter, Kajri. The High Consul asks to see her.

Duarte's edict that Laconia is the center of humanity was met with little resistance; everyone important has come to Laconia. Holden meets Drummer at the reception, who is still the figurehead of the Transport Union. She says the underground still has malcontents; he says he's waiting to strike.

On the Falcon, Elvi Okoye discovers a giant diamond larger than Jupiter in the Adro system. Duarte sent her to the dead systems to find out about the beings that killed the protomolecule creators, and why they left the "bullets" behind. Her husband Fayez thinks they compressed all the organic matter in the system into the giant green diamond.

Admiral Mehmet Sagale is the military commander of Elvi's mission. He keeps Elvi on schedule and says they need to use the catalyst--a criminal woman infected with protomolecule, kept in a Faraday cage to stop it from communicating. Elvi apologizes to her.

Naomi and Alex left the Roci in a cave on Freehold; Amos went silent after a mission into enemy territory; Bobbie is the captain of her own ship. Naomi is the secret general of the resistance, living in isolation in shipping containers aboard the Verity Close ice hauler. She meets Alex and Bobbie, who smuggled the Laconian Ship Gathering Storm into Sol. Bobbie's ship is crewed up with Belters, MCRN, and UNN vets. Saba, Drummer's partner and leader of the resistance, sent Amos to Laconia with a pocket nuke to save Holden. Naomi disagrees with Bobbie's direct military approach.

After a tear-ridden hug goodbye, Alex and Bobbie leave to oversee the transfer of the Storm onto the Pendulum's Arc. Bobbie's second in command is Jillian Houston, daughter of Freehold's mayor Payne Houston.

Teresa Angelica Maria Blanquita Li y Duarte, Consul Duarte's daughter, has lived in the state house all her life. Duarte tells her he's going to train her to be the next high consul in case anything happens to him.

The catalyst causes EM activity on the planet that mirrors the catalyst's fMRI readings, with spikes similar to the gates. Elvi theorizes the diamond-planet is actually the backup drive for the entire civilization. Sagale is mildly impressed, but still takes the Falcon to the next system on schedule.

The Storm strikes a Transport Union freighter escorted by 2 Laconian frigates. Alex and copilot Caspar Asoau attack the frigates while Bobbie and her marines breach the transport ship. The Storm takes some PDC damage that knocks out communication, and Bobbie's pod is damaged, leaving Alex no way to communicate with her. The politician they were there to capture is killed, but they find the mother lode of supplies.

Teresa learns that the boy she likes, Connor, kissed a girl named Muriel. Upset by the news, she takes a walk in the woods and runs into Holden. He stresses twice that she should keep an eye on him, before she's called away by Colonel Ilich, who says her that her father needs to see her about a security matter involving piracy.

Elvi has an adverse reaction to the meds needed for their hard burn to Tecoma, but ultimately seems OK. They find a giant neutron star on the verge of collapsing into a black hole, but absolutely nothing else. Sagale tells Elvi of their secret mission: they're going to push the gates to their threshold, then send in a bomb ship.

Bobbie feels that maybe Alex is right about the war being unwinnable, but finds that one of the looted crates is filled with antimatter spheres and she realizes how they can win.

Naomi gets a video update from Holden. At the end, Duarte asks her to come to Laconia to advocate for change in a non-violent way. He warns that there will be consequences if she continues down her current path. She gets an alert that the Tempest is coming to do a full inspection in 18 hours.

Teresa and her dog Muskrat sneak out to visit Timothy using a secret flood tunnel. Timothy lives in a cave filled with alien repair drones. She tells him about her father training her and mentions what Holden said; Timothy says she better listen to the captain. She says that her life is perfect, but has bitterness in her voice.

Later, she watches surveillance footage of Holden and sees him talking to a drunken Dr. Cortázar, who says Duarte has decided that Teresa will become immortal like himself.

Naomi has her face injected with something that makes it all puffy, and joins the heat sink crew so she can wear a mask. Laconian soldiers inspect the crew, but Naomi doesn't register on the scanner; the engineer says it's because she's an apprentice. Later, the engineer says it was his pleasure to help her, and gives her an access card for a private cabin.

Sagale sends the bomb ship through. It disappears and when the antimatter bombs go off, there is an increase in virtual particle activity in the system, but no one loses consciousness. They realize the particles will cause the neutron star to collapse and prepare to go on high-burn.

Bobbie tells Alex about the neutron bombs and says she wants to use then to blow up the Tempest. Alex says the plan is suicide.

The Laconian military issues a statement saying that travel through the gates has been suspended, and that everyone en route to one needs to move back to 0.8 AU.

Elvi's ship makes it through the gate and into the slow zone. Medina station is firing up to move out of the way of the gate, as the neutron star will send a gamma burst through the gate, which will also hit the alien station, causing all the gates to emit an even more massive burst of raditaion. Sagale makes for the Laconian gate, but the ship goes offline. The space around Medina glows white, then rainbow-colored. Segale orders all traffic through the gates to be suspended. All the gates have moved, and the Tecoma and Thanjavur gates are gone.

Duarte briefs Teresa about Tecoma and says that if they stop bombing the gates, it will show the "Goths" that humans are undisciplined--though he's not sure they can win. He says she'll understand once she's an immortal because he sees so much more now.

Duarte's official response is that any time a ship goes dutchman, they send another bomb ship through; making everyone unconscious may have killed the protomolecule designers, but has no affect on humans. Elvi thinks it was a trap. They notice radiation coming from in between the rings--then they all explode into atoms. Elvi sees tendrils of darkness moving; she screams and the tendrils drop away, and she returns to normal. Swaths of bulkheads, decks, and equipment are gone; erased. A loop of Segale's head is gone; Fayez's foot is gone; Elvi is missing a chunk of her thigh. The Falcon is in Laconian space.

Teresa visits Timothy and they experience atomic deconstruction like on the Falcon. She heads back, but is picked up by Ilich in a chopper, who tells her she has a locator chip implanted in her jaw. Her father is completely mindless--the alien attack may have affected him because of his protomolecule transformation.

Naomi, now on Auberon's lunar base, tries to contact Saba about the incident, but the repeaters, Medina, the Tempest, everything but the ring station is gone.

The news feeds report that Admiral Trejo is returning to Laconia, and Bobbie says now is their chance to strike. He asks her to run it by Naomi first, and that if she agrees, he's on board.

Teresa tells Holden that Elvi and her crew are there, but injured. He deduces that something must've happened with Duarte and is ready for the the next part of his plan.

With Saba's fate unknown, Naomi takes over running the underground.

On Laconia, Trejo tasks Elvi with fixing Duarte. The Voice of the Whirlwind will guard Laconia, the Tempest will remain in Sol, and 280 destroyers will police the gates. Trejo says he will continue to attack the aliens. Fayez talks with Holden; he relays that Holden thinks Cortazar is plotting a murder.

Teresa tells Timothy everything that's happened. Ilich and 3 guards track her down, and a firefight breaks out when they see Timothy. Ilich and some of the guards are wounded, and Timothy is shot in the leg and the head. Trejo tells her Timothy was a terrorist named Amos Burton and demands to know everything she told him.

Naomi gets Bobbie's message and tells her to go forward with the attack.

Elvi tries to track down Holden, but he's thrown in custody after Amos is found with a pocket nuke. She is taken to the Pen and Cortazar shows her 2 Laconian children who died 20 years ago, but were "fixed" by repair drones. They have black eyes, gray skin, and they haven't aged at all. Cortazar says the repair drones in the cave got to Amos, and his body was not recovered.

Bobbie tells her crew that the Tempest has a blind spot and that she's going to leave a shuttle full of antimatter bombs in its path, using the Storm as bait. She'll pilot the shuttle.

Teresa visits a badly beaten Holden in his cell, who says he knows nothing about Amos. Trejo no longer trusts Ilich. Cortazar takes Teresa out of class for a "routine medical checkup"; Elvi is waiting for them in the medical bay, says if something's wrong with Teresa, Cortazar should tell Trejo. He lets her go back to class.

Bobbie shuttle is hit by Tempest's PDC rounds and the antimatter torpedo is damaged. She launches herself and the torpedo out of the shuttle using her power armor, putting the bomb on a ballistic path toward the Tempest. She goes out guns blazing, but is hit by a PDC round. The torpedo hits, vaporizing the Tempest.

The Storm was too close to the blast and everyone onboard gets cancer--even the ship itself seems sick. Julian takes permanent command and asks Alex to be her XO, but he declines, saying he has his own ship. They head back to Freehold.

Elvi tells Trejo that she thinks Cortazar is trying to kill Teresa; he says Cortazar is indispensable, and that anything to restore Duarte is on the table, even killing his daughter.

Naomi gets a message from Alex about Bobbie and says he's going back to the Roci. She decides to head to Freehold too.

Teresa hasn't been eating and passes out in class. Elvi tells her she thinks Cortazar is trying to kill her to test bringing her back with repair bots.

Alex finds the desert cave on Freehold where they left the Roci, and she's still in good shape. A few days later, Naomi shows up. They get the Roci back into space; they lose time again--20 minutes.

Cara and Alexander tell Elvi that when they were repaired, they were given vast knowledge that they refer to as the "library", which Duarte didn't seem to have access to. She meets with Trejo, et. al. about the most recent blackout, which appears to have affected all the systems, and ships in the ring space disappeared again. Elvi thinks the the aliens are trying different attacks; humans are more resilient than the protomolecule creators, since they were just a mass consciousness. She thinks going through the gates, using their weapons, etc., is hurting the "dark gods." She tells Trejo that she doesn't think they can fix Duarte, and the realization finally hits home. Elvi wants to tells everyone the truth, and thinks Laconia should surrender so humanity can form a united front.

Teresa tells Duarte that Cortazar is going to kill her, and he seems to react for a second. Ilich shows her Amos's notes, which include different points of attack, but she remembers how he protected her during the gun fight, and how Holden told her that if Amos called her a friend, he meant it. Ilich forces her to eat and tells her not to miss class tomorrow. She decides this is no longer her home.

Naomi has over 400 ships at her disposal. They all line up in the slow zone around Draper Station and wait to proceed into the Laconian gate. Naomi tells everyone that the plan is to destroy the Laconian construction platforms so they can't make more warships or antimatter. They storm the Laconian gate. The Storm seems to be the Laconian defense's first target.

Cara tells Elvi that the giant green diamond is a record of everything all at once. Trejo warns of the impending invasion and tasks Elvi with scanning Duarte to put out a fake statement. While prepping the scan, Duarte notices Cortazar, walks towards him, makes a gesture, and Cortazar's chest explodes. Trejo grants Elvi access to Cortazar's files; she finds over 100 files he kept hidden from her.

Naomi's fleet fares well against the Laconians; her ships are restocked from all the other systems, but the Laconians have no backup. Her ships bombard the planet with rocks and nukes; whenever Laconian ships chase them, they retreat. She fakes a ship malfunction and lures the Whirlwind away from Laconia; the other ships make for the construction platforms and launch their attack. The Roci gets an evac request from Amos.

Cortazar's notes show he intended to kill Teresa and feed her to the repair drones--an idea suggested by Holden. At Teresa's 15th birthday party, she asks Elvi about escaping on the Falcon, but Elvi and Fazyez tell her it's in pieces; Teresa says they should expedite the repairs then.

Teresa shocks a guard with a cattle prod, and breaks Holden out. He dresses in a guard's uniform, and Teresa takes him to Timothy's belongings, where she activates his evac transponder.

Elvi and Fayez go to Teresa's room and find only Muskrat, who leads them to the mountain where Holden and Teresa are. She tells Holden not to hurt Teresa; he says he wasn't actually planning on it, that he was trying to replace Cortazar with Elvi by telling Duarte about Cortazar's plans. Elvi says if she leaves that she'll lose all her research, and tells them to go without her.

The Roci takes out the Laconian platforms, but spins out of control when they hit the last platform; the Laconians were making antimatter and the explosion was enormous. Naomi tells the remaining ships to head back while they attempt to land and make the rescue.

Teresa and Holden are intercepted by Ilich and some guards; Ilich tells her to get in the cart or he'll shoot her dog. Amos, with black eyes and gray skin, attacks the security guards and shoots Ilich, taking a bullet in the process, though this doesn't seem to affect him. The Roci lands and they all board to a round of cheers. As they're leaving, they are target-locked by the Whirlwind.

Naomi gets a tightbeam from the Whirlwind; Teresa tells Admiral Gujarat to stand down--she's on a secret mission working with the underground at her father's behest. The admiral won't let the Roci go, so Teresa tells Gujarat to "shoot her the fuck down then" and drops the connection. Alex takes the Roci out.

Naomi asks Amos why he never set off the nuke; he says it didn't feel right killing the kid. They hold a ceremony for Bobbie and cast an empty coffin into space. From the start of the campaign, they'd lost 32 ships, just shy of 200 people, but now the Whirlwind was stuck protecting Laconia. Naomi tries to connect with Teresa, but she's miserable and says she can't stay. Holden says they should try to find some of her relatives that didn't defect with her dad.

Elvi tells Trejo that she is going to check out the giant green diamond next, and that he needs to surrender to the underground instead of trying to prolong the war, because they have much bigger fish to fry. She tells him to arrest her for insubordination, or get the Falcon repaired for her. She goes to the Pen and tells Dr. Ochida to shut the Pen down; they don't need more protomolecule samples anymore and they don't need to inject it into prisoners. She frees Cara and Xan and asks if they can help her.

Naomi remains the admiral of the resistance fleet, but Holden is back as captain of the Roci. He has a talk with Amos and asks him if he's still Amos; Amos assures him he is, he just knows things he didn't used to, like that the aliens Duarte pissed off are going to kill everybody. Holden says he knows that too.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Raquel Estebaran.
293 reviews174 followers
March 10, 2023
Octava novela de la saga, y penúltima.

Esta ha sido la mejor novela de la saga, o por lo menos ahora me lo parece. Cuando las relea igual se me enfría el entusiasmo, pero ahora estoy que floto.

Ya la primera frase impacta, y mucho, pero está lejos de ser algo que lastre de alguna manera esta lectura, donde cada capítulo tiene el nombre de un personaje del que vemos su perspectiva. Ha sido un viaje emocionante, con unos personajes con un desarrollo magnífico que me han emocionado, y una trama intensa y bien elaborada.

Qué ganas de leer el próximo volumen, que como mantenga este nivel va a ser la caña, y a la vez no, que no quiero que esto se acabe. 🥺
Profile Image for Jamie.
1,159 reviews104 followers
February 27, 2020
They really blew the roof off this one! With Tiamat's Wrath it feels like all the pieces are coming together in a long anticipated crescendo in the thrilling, endearing and immensely satisfying journey that is The Expanse.

The story is equal parts riveting, sentimental and somber, revealing the best of humanity side by side with the worst in a galaxy wide struggle for freedom from oppression and exploitation and a looming alien threat to all of humanity. There are some stunning plot twists and revelations regarding the ominous alien mysteries which have mostly been in the background to this point, as well as some major developments affecting the characters we've come to hold so near and dear. Great stuff.
Profile Image for Jack.
Author 4 books129 followers
June 28, 2020
It’s hard to believe that it has been over two years since I read the last Expanse book…and yet it seems like no time at all has passed. It’s a testament to just how busy things have been in my world that it took me over a year after the publication date to get to the next book in my favorite space opera series. But though I’ve had to be much pickier with my reading list, I knew I was in good hands with Tiamat’s Wrath, as I have yet to be disappointed by any of the entries in this series.

Another thing that is hard to believe is that I’ve been with this series since its inception. I’m usually a little behind the curve on books, tending to come late to the party and wondering where everyone else went, but every once in a while I manage to catch a lucky break and jump into a book before it becomes a big deal. As a longtime fan, I am also pleasantly surprised with the quality of the TV show as well, especially since it goes into detail on some events that were only mentioned in passing in the books. I’m such a superfan that I’m also very strongly debating grabbing the tabletop RPG sourcebook as well. Superfan…and super-nerd. Oh well, might as well own it.

If life transcends death, then I will seek for you there. If not, then there too.

As always, I’ll do my best to keep this review spoiler free, though the books of The Expanse tend to test my ability to do so, since the plot is so tightly tied to the characters and their arcs. But for me it’s worth the effort. I generally think that any form of entertainment is more fun when you go in blind, and though there may be other reviews that divulge some of the major plot points, I will do my best to avoid doing so. If it is not mentioned in the official book synopsis, I will try hard not to mention it here.

The previous book, Persepolis Rising, featured a pretty large time-jump, making our characters much older, and glossing over a few major changes to the world in the name of forward progress. I was initially annoyed by the time-jump, but upon finishing the story I understood why it had to happen. Thankfully, there is no significant time-jump in Tiamat’s Wrath, but there are still a few major events that happen “off screen” as it were. And while I do understand the need for keeping the story moving, I was still just a little sad that a specific character did not get the full sendoff that I felt they deserved.

“You could power a planet by hooking a turbine to her right now. That’s how much she’s spinning in this grave.”

Like the previous books, Tiamat’s Wrath is a multi-character affair, which allows the story to breathe and feel appropriately epic, while giving valuable insights into the various events that culminate with the rousing and emotional finale. There are some significant physical distances between the main characters, but Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck effectively juggle the transitions, letting the universe feel…ahem…expansive, while avoiding the pitfall of having significant moments feel cold and detached. Not that this isn’t a somber and lonely tale at times, because it certainly is, but the human factor is always front and center, so while our characters may feel lonely and isolated, we are always right there with them, commiserating and understanding. Lonely, but not alone.

This time around, we get chapters from the perspectives of Alex, Bobbie, Elvi, Naomi, and Theresa, with interlude chapters from Holden’s POV. Theresa is the only new character introduced in Tiamat’s Wrath, but she gets plenty of chapters to work with, allowing her to grow and become integral to the story. She was also my least favorite character, though that was likely by design. What the authors do quite well is giving each of the characters a loosely defined role, making sure each part of the story is equally covered. The tactical side of things? That’s usually going to be Bobbie. The strategic parts? Those will typically be covered by Naomi’s chapters. Elvi gets to cover the science of it all, mixed with the upper level politics of Laconia. Theresa gives us the inside look into transformative powers of the protomolecule, while Alex provides the in-between’s that bind everything together.

Though I think he tends to get overlooked quite often, I personally enjoy Alex’s chapters. He’s sardonic and sad, but maintains just enough earnestness to keep him from seeming too world-weary. He’s the worrier of the group, but it comes from a place of such love that it’s hard to fault him for it. He is also a fixer at heart, wanting to resolve conflict so things can just be calm again, which I can completely commiserate with, as I am the same way. To me, Alex is the glue that keeps the rest of the main characters together. He may not always be flashy, he may not always get the best lines, or be in the most exciting circumstances, but he is wholly necessary. Vital even. While everyone else might struggle with something monumental, Alex’s handling of the softer, quieter moments makes him more relatable.

Bobbie is also another of my favs, and has been since her introduction in the second book. All business, no fluff, get in and get it done. She’s a Marine through and through, even if she left active duty many years ago. Where others may waste time complaining, Bobbie is working on a solution and saving the complaining for later…if she complains at all. Her expanded leadership role fits her well, to nobody’s surprise but hers. After all, she was trained to lead, and never really had the time nor the inclination to unlearn those skills.

Elvi’s chapters tend to fluctuate between science and pathos, but they are consistently insightful. At this stage in the game, Elvi has more understanding of the protomolecule than anyone else alive, even if that understanding is piecemeal and based just as much on supposition as on concrete facts. It is through Elvi’s eyes that the see just how dangerous the long lost species was that created the gates. She is also uniquely positioned within the Laconian hierarchy, so we get to see both the scientific and military leaders doing their thing. Elvi reminds me a lot of Holden, with a strong moral center and a frustration with the amorality, or ambivalence, of some of the people around her.

Where the other characters are more or less the same people they’ve always been, Naomi has grown and changed significantly, and her chapters contain the biggest character arc of the book. Her focus has, by necessity, grown dramatically, from fixing things on one ship to fixing things and solving problems on a much larger scale. It’s a rough fit, and she certainly doesn’t like it, but she does it anyways because she knows nobody else can or will. The true joy of Naomi’s chapters is just how much is going on underneath her stoic surface. She’s a woman on the edge, tired and run-down and missing all that she holds dear, but refusing to give up on the dream that is so very close to reality.

”War is a kind of negotiation too.”

And then we have Theresa. The one who seems almost like a necessary evil. I don’t particularly care for her character, per se, but then again I don’t think most readers are supposed to. Where most other authors would have had the Laconia chapters take place from Winston Duarte’s POV, Daniel and Ty wisely sidestep that trap, instead giving us glimpses into the mindset of the galactic leader by way of his daughter. It works well, allowing us to view him with a certain level of intimacy, making him more than just a one-note villain, since we are seeing him through the eyes of someone who loves him. Again, I understand the need for her inclusion, and I also understand the need for her to be written as she was, but I can definitively say that her chapters were the least enjoyable for me, despite some of the interesting things that transpire on her watch.

That was the problem with thousand year reichs. They came and they went like fireflies.

The books in The Expanse series have always effectively juggled the quiet character moments with the bombastic space action moments, and Tiamat’s Wrath is no different. We spend quite a bit of time with the main characters as they self-reflect, agonize over decisions made, and try to solve problems well beyond their normal scope. Some readers may find that the book has a slower pace because of it, but I personally felt that the book pacing was perfect. The problem with action-packed books is that because everything is huge and busy and exciting, those moments tend to blend together and become “less” over time. After all, if everything is special, then nothing is. The big spectacle moments in The Expanse books work so well because they don’t happen often. Their rarity only adds to the bombast.

The roughest part of reading Tiamat’s Wrath is knowing just how close to the end we are. One more book. That’s all that is left, not counting the short-story side tales. One more main book to wrap everything up with Holden, Naomi, Alex, and Amos, and all of the supporting cast we’ve come to know. I’ve mentioned it before, how I would rather author’s end a series on a high note as opposed to dragging it out for too long, and I still stand by that belief. But, that said, it IS going to be hard to say goodbye to these characters. On the flipside, I’m extremely excited to see what these authors come up with next.

I have no real nitpicks of the book outside of what I mentioned earlier in the review. It is well written, expertly plotted, full of humor & darkness and hope & despair. It really is everything I could want in a book. Sure, there were a couple of typos or odd grammatical goofs, but they were very few & far between, and did nothing to diminish my enjoyment of the book itself.

There’s really not much else to say. It’s a great addition to a great series, and if you aren’t reading The Expanse yet, I strongly urge you to start doing so immediately. You won’t be disappointed!
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556 reviews142 followers
March 24, 2022

“There are people I love. There are people who have loved me. I fought for what I believed, protected those I could, and stood my ground against the encroaching darkness. Good enough.”

Wow does Tiamat’s Wrath really hit you emotionally!

The penultimate book of the series explores the aftermath of the Rocinante’s escape from Laconian-controlled Medina Station and the fate of the resistance against overwhelming odds and immense military power. Meanwhile, Duarte’s war against the wormhole aliens eating ships— anyone else think of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine? —kicks off. Not well though.

Dr. Elvi Okoye of Ilus fame has been drawn into the Laconian fold in the first expedition into the ring gates to find a “dead system” to test weapons that could be used against the ship-eating aliens. Except…Okoye doesn’t know the latter is the primary mission objective until the Laconian military conducts a test that makes the aliens inside the ring gates very, very angry. (I agree with Okoye on this one, that we shouldn’t antagonize the aliens that took out the protomolecule civilization, who are thought to have been very advanced themselves. But…people be people.)

“The universe is always stranger than you think. It didn’t matter how broad her imagination was, how cynical, how joyous and open, how well researched or wild minded. The universe was always stranger. Every dream, every imagining, however lavish and improbable, inevitably fell short of the truth.”

As if provoking the ring gate aliens into a murderous rage against humanity wasn’t enough, the resistance scatters, along with the crew of the Rocinante: Amos to Laconia for a secret mission, Bobbie and Alex teaming up for targeted military strikes with their ragtag fleet, and Naomi behind the scenes coordinating it all. And the great diplomatic giant that was Chrisjen Avasarala has passed, leaving the resistance without her political clout and infectious, vulgar wisecracking. (She seemed like such a force of nature that I forgot she was mortal.)

But the resistance makes do, passing messages through the central node that is Naomi, who disguises their communications as best as she can while she herself moves around constantly. Laconia may be on to them—and it wouldn’t do to get captured. After all, Laconia has many of the advantages—until Bobbie and Alex discover, by dumb luck, a misplaced Laconian weapon.

When Bobbie and company make the Laconian ship guarding Earth and the rest of Sol System go boom, the tables are turned. Naomi leads her rebels for a strike at the heart of the empire itself: Laconia.

Holy cow, do things really escalate! There are immense losses on both sides. Truly the terrible grind of war looms large in Tiamat’s Wrath.

While the resistance fleet plans the Laconia attack and is on their way to the imperial home-world, Holden develops a bond with Duarte’s teenage daughter, Teresa, heir to the Laconian throne. But Teresa secretly wishes for an out to the immense responsibility on her shoulders, when her father suffers an accident that indisposes him.

The adults in her life, having lost control in so many ways of the empire, focus all their efforts on controlling Teresa, in very traumatizing ways. (I honestly don’t blame her for her rebellion.) It involves a mad scientist with a drive to achieve immortality, with few scruples to stop him, and a functionary that is emotionally abusive. (I won’t spoil anything further.)

“Governments exist on confidence. Not on liberty. Not on righteousness. Not on force. They exist because people believe that they do. Because they don’t ask questions.”

This book has it all—rampaging wormhole aliens ready for a fight, political intrigue, all the snark, teenage rebellion, underdog resistance fights, philosophical musings, topped with all the feels. All. Of. Them.

Don’t take my word for it—just go read Tiamat’s Wrath.

We’re getting into the endgame, folks. Buckle up!

“We’re all going to lose each other eventually, and that’s been true since before we were a crew. That’s what being born means. Everything else is just specifics.”


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Profile Image for Rob.
848 reviews535 followers
November 30, 2021
Executive Summary: It's hard to say why I gave this book 5 stars without massive spoilers, so I'll simply say that I was always looking for reasons to keep listening, and had I been reading it instead I would have finished it much sooner.

Audiobook: Another great job by Jefferson Mays. Early on I didn't find him that impressive, but when he didn't do Cibola Burn I realized how much I liked him for the series. I'm not sure if he's a narrator that I'd pick up another series for, but he's the only one I want narrating this series now.

Full Review
This series has quickly become one of my favorites and each new book was always one of my most anticipated and best reads of the year. I still really enjoyed Persepolis Rising, but I wasn't happy with all the turn of events.

When they announced this one was delayed from December to March I figured it was due to the the time they've spent writing the show, and was happy to wait if it meant a return to form. It was definitely worth the wait.

I'm really happy the show got picked up by Amazon and I hope they get to complete the series because once the final book is published I'd have a big Expanse (get it?) in my reading schedule.

If you haven't read the books, or watched the show you're missing out and I highly recommend checking out one (or both) because I think they are fantastic. Now I'm going to eagerly await the release of Season 4 and then (hopefully) book 9.
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