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Abaddon's Gate (The Expanse, #3)
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SERIES—List & Discussions > The Expanse--Abaddon's Gate: Finished reading (spoilers!)

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message 1: by Shel, Moderator (new) - rated it 5 stars

Shel (shel99) | 2139 comments Mod
This thread is for discussion of Abaddon's Gate for those who have finished reading. Spoilers ahead!


message 2: by Shel, Moderator (new) - rated it 5 stars

Shel (shel99) | 2139 comments Mod
I zipped through this last week. I know from some of the community reviews that a lot of people felt it was slow going at first, but I didn't feel that way at all. Then again, I really enjoy character-building and don't need a lot of action to keep me engaged. I missed Bobbie and Avasarala, but Bull and Anna were interesting additions to the cast of characters. I was less interested in Clarissa/Melba and found her actions to be fairly predictable.

I thought the way that the various factions interacted was sadly true to life - how people have a hard time working together and trusting each other even when the universe's safety depends on it.


message 3: by Chris, Moderator (new) - rated it 5 stars

Chris (heroncfr) | 496 comments Mod
I'm with you, Shel - it's a fast read. I liked Bull and Anna. Bull reminded me of Babylon 5's Michael Garibaldi. James Holden is still righteous and honest, even when everyone else operates from political motives.

But I am really on a fence about Clarissa/Melba. I'm always leery of characters with unlimited funds and superhero powers, and I just didn't find her motives believable. I really enjoyed the overall story, though, and we ONLY have the story if we have C/M's actions driving it. It seems she's being established as a continuing character, so I'll have to see if she becomes more likable - and believable.


message 4: by Shel, Moderator (new) - rated it 5 stars

Shel (shel99) | 2139 comments Mod
Chris wrote: "It seems she's being established as a continuing character, so I'll have to see if she becomes more likable - and believable."

I suspect that Anna will be instrumental in helping her move past her thwarted vengeance. I hope she becomes more interesting if she's around to stay.

Any thoughts on Naomi's past? It was definitely hinted at that there's something she's hiding from Holden, regarding her previous life. I wonder if it has anything to do with her definitive statement that she's never going to have children.


message 5: by Chris, Moderator (new) - rated it 5 stars

Chris (heroncfr) | 496 comments Mod
I think you're right about Anna and C/M. The Rocinante is becoming more and more like the Serenity with each book .... what a collection of characters!

There is a separate novella with Amos' backstory. I wonder if we'll see a Naomi novella in the future? She clearly has some secrets, but it left her with a rock-hard sense of social justice and fairness, and she's not afraid to put everything on the line for the greater good.


message 6: by Kathi, Moderator & Book Lover (last edited Oct 03, 2017 02:17PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kathi | 3103 comments Mod
This is why I read SF. Thought-provoking themes, interesting & fully-formed characters, pulse-pounding action. People pushed to their limits, in impossible situations, and learning about themselves, their relationships with others, their beliefs.

While I found all of the POVs held my attention, I liked reading about some of the secondary characters—Ren, Pa, Serge, Sam. The author made each of them real, even if they were not POV characters.

The power and influence of memory is a strong theme in this installment of the series as well, after we’ve seen what it meant to Miller (Julie’s memory) and, to some extent, Holden (his parents). This time it’s Anna’s memories of Nami and Nono, Clarissa/Melba’s memories of her father Jules and of Ren, and, to a lesser extent, Bull’s memories of Fred Johnson.


Silvana (silvaubrey) Anna's POVs were really boring at times.
I enjoyed Clarissa's more. Not often do we get a psycho's POV. It's like reading Cersei's POV in ASOIAF.
Bull's forgettable to.
All in all, the plots here are still page turning.

As for Naomi, in later books there will be more about her past.
You know there's also the Comixology version of Expanse Origins, right? The one with Naomi was when she first met Amos.


message 8: by Kathi, Moderator & Book Lover (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kathi | 3103 comments Mod
So, how about the title? I had to look up Abaddon, which is a Hebrew name of the angel of destruction & death, the Destroyer. It also apparently can mean the place of utter ruin, death, desolation, or destruction.


message 9: by Jim (last edited Oct 05, 2017 01:21PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jim Mcclanahan (clovis-man) | 480 comments Comments on characters:

Holden is the Dudley Doright of the series. He may sometimes be annoying, but he provides something of a benchmark for the Roci crew. Amos is the yin to his yang. It seems both are needed to augment one another.

For new characters: I was a little bothered by the introduction of a Methodist preacher in Anna. (Full disclosure: I've been a Methodist since age twelve) But she proved to be a catalyst for some definitive events during the course of the tale. Even if some of it was chemically enhanced. Bull was sort of one dimensional, but tragically heroic.

Melba/Clarissa seemed a little too conveniently offered as the villain du jour.

I was happy to see a version of Miller emerge and play an important role in the otherwise arcane milieu of the Ring. And the dialogue at the end seems to promise his continued imvolvement in the next episode. Which also means that Holden will continue to be a mainstay.

So now we have opened Pandora's box regarding travel to new worlds and it remains to be seen what effect that will have on the continuing Inner/Outer/Belter conflicts and the major players that involves, e.g., Avasarala and Fred Johnson.


message 10: by Jim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jim Mcclanahan (clovis-man) | 480 comments Kathi wrote: "So, how about the title? I had to look up Abaddon, which is a Hebrew name of the angel of destruction & death, the Destroyer. It also apparently can mean the place of utter ruin, death, desolation, or destruction. "

Yep. Gotta be careful where you tread. Go too fast and you get mooshed. Has me thinking now about the next volume and the fabled cities of gold.


Random (rand0m1s) | 807 comments Finally managed to finish. The first three quarters of the book had me fascinated. The last quarter bored the crap out of me. The whole fight for control and to stop the laser just dragged on way way too bloody long. I turned it off on my way home from work and listened to talk radio because I couldn't stand it anymore.

I have to admit, I get a geeky kind of kick with titles that hint at more than they seem to at first glance. The voices of the damned and dead are mentioned a few times in regards to the gate earlier in the book.

The only characters I didn't like were Ashford and Cortez. They were just a little too one dimensional for me. Their only point was conflict. It would have been better if they had a little more depth. Instead they were just assess. Bull actually kept reminding me of Miller in some ways. I'm glad it looks like we'll see more of Miller going forward. Sam's death made me sad. She was just a minor character but she's been around since the first book.

So, what I really want to know is who or what took out the hive mind civilization. From what Holden saw it does sound like there was something. Are they still out there? With the gates now, will they find humanity?

Doors and corners.

So it looks like the protomolecule was just a machine or automated system sent to the solar system to build a gate?

I disagree with Miller when he said that what he finds out from his investigation won't mean anything. Looking forward to the next one.


message 12: by Jim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jim Mcclanahan (clovis-man) | 480 comments Random wrote: "So, what I really want to know is who or what took out the hive mind civilization. From what Holden saw it does sound like there was something. Are they still out there? With the gates now, will they find humanity? "

A similar situation was explored by Alastair Reynolds in Revelation Space, i.e., a mysterious ancient intelligence bent on destroying sentient beings.


Travis Foster (travismfoster) Just finished and really loved this one. Some caveats are there, of course, like that I agree with Random that much of the last quarter of the book bored me -- it felt too much like the Blockbuster film that the io9 blurb on the cover of my edition uses to characterize the series (I think mostly wrongly). Do the writers think we really need a one-dimensional villain like Ashford to keep us going? (We don't!)

Re. Anna, full disclosure: I'm gay, a parent with young children, and a Methodist, and encountering another such creature--in a sci-fi novel, no less--was so delightful that it's pretty unlikely I wouldn't adore her. It was also refreshing to encounter a gay character that we approach primarily through her theology. And while I found that theology sometimes on the thin side, there were other times when I thought it was usefully complex and moving and helped the narrative shift in ways that were unexpected.

I thought Clarissa's evolution was fun to watch unfold, though it would be nice to have some characters who (a) aren't villains and (b) can't stand Holden. Does she really want to be his friend at the very end? Really?

I'm super excited about seeing what's beyond and how the opening might create new narrative possibilities for the next volumes. Can't wait for the next one!


message 14: by Bill (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bill Burris (wburris) Here I am about 60 pages to go, and I am wondering when they are going to stop killing each other and start having fun with some alien technology.

I haven't read any of the comments in this thread yet.


message 15: by Bill (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bill Burris (wburris) I was thinking the book was going to get a lot more interesting when Holden was on the station, but then the Martians came along and spoiled that. Now we have to wait until the next book to see if the fun begins.


message 16: by Cassandra (last edited Oct 28, 2017 06:11AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Cassandra (cassandrat) I think the titles of the books are very good. Thanks for looking that up, Kathi!

James Holden was much more stomachable in this book. I guess because he has such a small role. Pivotal, sure, but I didn't have to spend a lot of time hearing his thoughts, and when I did they are the alien parts and very interesting, which was good.

I really liked Bull as a deplorable good guy. Sure he kept sexualizing his relationship with Sam (why are all the women characters evaluated for their eff-ability?), but overall the situation on the Behemoth/Nauvoo was great. It parallels nicely with the Melba/Claire. Though, the Melba stuff was a little over the top in its craziness... which makes it perhaps more forgivable character-wise because it was so incredibly irrational it wasn't even psychopathic. It was just nuts. Writing-wise, I'll probably always hold a grudge against the character for having a lame backstory.

overall, the world building is excellent! the alien archeology at the Ring reminded me of The Dig video game. I will need to read that book. I really look forward to more alien archeology.

I agree with Random, Travis, and Bill that the battle was kind of boring. I didn't need every character's recap of every minute. I only need each minute once. I skimmed a lot of that.

Looking forward to getting Avasarala back!


Travis Foster (travismfoster) Cassandra wrote: "Looking forward to getting Avasarala back! "

Me too!


message 19: by Gary (new) - rated it 4 stars

Gary Gillen | 25 comments The Bull and Anna characters are not as strong or compelling as Bobbie and Avasarala from Caliban’s War, but they had their moments. I think the real miss here is the potential of the Melba character. She faced a mental battle with her hidden, secret, true identity. It felt like she was having a split personality break and I think it would have been more interesting if the author had explored this break more.


Brian | 7 comments The lateral movement reader empathy toward Melba was fascinating. When she's introduced, I was rooting for her to overcome the lowlifes trying to blackmail her for cooperation. Then it turns out she's mentally unstable, suffering from an inferiority complex with her late, elder sister and a daddy complex as big as the solar system.

How they resolved leaving her alive was problematic for me, but I am so enthralled with the priest, Anna Volovodov, and her desire to allow people to redeem themselves, that I find myself rooting for Melba again.

Good call, Chris, on Bull and Garibaldi being similar. You made me realize that I'd been visualizing Garibaldi in that role automatically.


Brian | 7 comments Silvana wrote: "They just cast Clarissa:
https://www.spoilertv.com/2017/10/the..."


I'm surprised that they didn't cast the same actress they had for Julie Mao. Holden is described in the book as mistaking Clarissa for Julie in the video footage.


Travis Foster (travismfoster) Brian wrote: "Silvana wrote: "They just cast Clarissa:
https://www.spoilertv.com/2017/10/the..."
"


I can definitely see her in the role. Still waiting for Amazon Prime to begin streaming the second season .....


Helen I've not watched any of the series so as not to spoil the reading. Am I safe then? Have we read further than they've made?

So this was my least favourite book so far. That said, I'm in my first ever reading slump and nothing is holding my attention over the last couple of months.

Something that was funny: when Sam was killed, I fully expected her to not be dead. I was trying to work out how she could be alive but thought she would be as previously characters that you thought were dead survived


Travis Foster (travismfoster) I've watched just the first season and you won't find any spoilers past the first two books there.


Helen Cheers Travis.


message 26: by Nick (new) - rated it 4 stars

Nick (doily) | 966 comments Bill wrote: "Here I am about 60 pages to go, and I am wondering when they are going to stop killing each other and start having fun with some alien technology.

I haven't read any of the comments in this thread..."


II find the delaying of info about the aliens to be the fascinating thing about the series. Abaddon's Gate is as far as I've read. I think the delay of info is intriguing. But I, like you, wish that the revolution/war/whatever would start getting past itself. Too many other multi-universe possibilities exist to be in awe of for the individuals caught up in these circumstances.


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