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Leviathan Wakes (The Expanse #1)

4.2  ·  Rating details ·  84,944 Ratings  ·  6,980 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
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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)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Jan 17, 2011 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 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
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
Jessica ❁ ➳ Silverbow ➳ ❁ Rabid Reads
9/6/17 - Today only, ON SALE for $2.99:

Reviewed by: Rabid Reads

Here's another Jessica quirk: I LOVE sci-fi on screen, but I rarely like reading it. I have no idea why. Some things just are.

BUT. I binge-watched The Expanse last week, and it was good enough that it made me curious. There were no giant-insects-as-aliens, no surplus of tech gobbledygook, and no discernible artificial intelligence (the things that make me avoid sci-fi literature, even though I can usually handle the movie version
mark monday
Sep 21, 2011 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
Jeffrey Keeten
Dec 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 02, 2011 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
Jun 07, 2013 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
Richard Derus
Jul 24, 2012 rated it it was ok
Rating: 2.5* of five

**UPDATE 22 December 2016** This is a mea-culpa of epic proportions. Syfy did a stellar job of making this series. I couldn't have been more wrong about the series, though I still don't like the books. This YouTube video of a Google Talk from 2014 is a terrific proof of why the series works so well. Excellent television! Binge on the series at Prime for the holidays.

**UPDATE 6 September 2013** More Suckass News Dept, from SFSignal: "Variety is reporting that scribes Mark Ferg
Sep 13, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
Jun 29, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: adult-fiction
3.75 - This space opera meets crime noir is a great start to a series I'm looking forward to continuing!
Apr 07, 2015 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
Mar 04, 2014 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.
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
Jan 12, 2013 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
Jan 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

“There were two sides fighting—that was true enough—but they weren’t the inner planets versus the Belters. They were the people who thought it was a good idea to kill people who looked or acted differently against the people who didn’t.”

There are many quotes I could have chosen but this one hit on one of the big themes and tropes of this novel - duality. James S.A. Corey (pen name of authors Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck) offers us an exhilarating novel that uses dichotomy on nearly all leve
Feb 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
(music: The Pastels - "Cycle (My Bloody Valentine remix)")

When Holden and his crew go check on an abadoned ship 'Scopuli' they find a secret and something that could (view spoiler) start a war. There is a certain missing girl of a wealthy family to be found, for detective Miller - of planet Ceres - that has been on this ship, who is now missing(view spoiler). What kind of damage can this secret make, if allowed to continue
Jan 29, 2011 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
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
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
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
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Jan 24, 2015 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
Dec 02, 2011 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
Apr 06, 2012 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
Rick Riordan
Nov 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
It had been a while since I'd read a straight-up space opera sci fi, so I gave it a try and loved it.

I especially liked the scope of the novel, which is set a few centuries in the future, when humanity has colonized much of the solar system but still has not reached the stars (or found alien life). Sadly, human politics and jingoism haven't changed much. Earth and Mars are in an uneasy alliance, and the humans living out on the asteroids of "the Belt" feel like exploited colonists. A fringe grou
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
Tom Merritt
Jun 02, 2012 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
Aug 04, 2013 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
Tudor Vlad
Jan 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I forgot how much a reread can improve a book, the second part of this novel is brutal and amazing. I don’t know if it was because I kept imagining how the show is going to adapt some of the things but the last 200 pages got me so hyped, I can’t even describe. I was already anxiously waiting for season 2 to start airing, but now I’m begging for time to fly by because I just can’t wait anymore. I guess it’s time to rewatch the first season too… again.
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The Expanse (10 books)
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“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.”
“What kind of half-assed apocalypse are they running down there?” Amos said. “Give ’em a break. It’s their first.” 49 likes
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