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Leviathan Wakes by James S. A. Corey

Leviathan Wakes

by James S. A. Corey

Other authors: Daniel Abraham (Author), Ty Franck (Author)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Expanse (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,8351672,975 (3.97)186
Recently added bybragan, ElleGato, VLarkinAnderson, djk76, rena75, CassandraT, private library, thomasbraun, santhony
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    electronicmemory: Andy Weir and James S. A. Corey met at a book signing and agreed that The Expanse series and The Martian are set in the same time-line. So, if you're a fan of The Martian and want to find out what happened after Mars was colonized, read Leviathan Wakes. If you're a fan of The Expanse series, and want to read about the very first Martian colonist, read The Martian. For proof, check a 3 Oct 2015 tweet by @JamesSACorey for confirmation. One of The Expanse books also references a Martian ship named the 'Mark Watney'.… (more)
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Showing 1-5 of 163 (next | show all)
A friend of mine observed that I don't do things by halves after watching me add every single piece of fiction in the Expanse universe to by To-Read list after finishing both seasons of the TV show and getting about 70% of the way through Leviathan Wakes. The truth is, I do some thing by halves; there are series of books that I enjoy, but that I've been dragging my heels on for years for one reason or another. I let goals go half-completed, and even more often I abandon TV shows mid-season if they haven't sufficiently hooked me. But The Expanse is not one of those things. From the moment I finished the first episode of the first season of the TV show, I knew I was in; I knew that finally, finally, someone was making TV that reached down into my sci-fi loving, character-driven heart and hooked it. I watched the two seasons of the TV show that are currently out in eight days. I don't do that. For those of you that don't know me, know this. I don't do that. And when I was done with the TV show, I needed more, so I turned to the books.

Which is what I'm actually supposed to be reviewing here. The first book, to be exact. I promise, the context is important. My experience with the TV show had a pretty big influence on how I read this book. The first thing that I have to say about Leviathan Wakes is that it's more limited that The Expanse; while the in The Expanse (and in most TV) we have what amounts to a more omniscient narrator in the form of the camera so that we get to see what's going on with multiple characters, in the book we are pretty deeply in the viewpoints of two of our characters: Miller and Holden, and while what the camera shows is pretty neutral, and shows us what's going on around Holden and Miller, in Leviathan wakes we only get what they actively notice because we're so much closer to being inside their heads. While Miller is one of my favorite characters, and I'd be hard-pressed to pick any of the crew on the Rocinante that I did have fond feelings toward, Holden simply doesn't notice his crew, particularly Alex and Amos, in the same way that we get to see them on screen. They're the pilot and the mechanic, and they do their jobs, and they have opinions, and they have particular mannerisms that set them apart from each other, but Holden doesn't actively feel his affection for the two of them very often, which can't help but influence how the reader feels about these versions of Alex and Amos.

The positive of being in Holden's deep point of view, though, is how much attention he pays to Naomi. In the TV show she's a relatively mysterious character. She's clearly competent, but it's hard to tell what her motivations are until you're well into the series and she starts to open up some. We don't get much more of her backstory in Leviathan Wakes, but what we do get is Holden's rock-solid trust that if there's something that needs to be fixed, she'll fix it; we get her intelligence, and her unshakable dedication to keep the crew alive. We get the little details that Holden notices about her, and an overall deeper and more rounded feel for who Naomi is than I did from the TV show. Don't get me wrong, I love show-Naomi. But book-Naomi fills in some gaps that I was missing, and when I re-watch the show, I'll love her even more for having those gaps filled in. I just wish that I'd gotten that for everyone on the Roci's crew, not just Naomi.

There's also some plotlines & characters that were prominently featured in the show that don't show up until the later books in the series. I missed them here, but their absense really only whets my appetite for the later books in this series.

In the end, I'd have to say that this book was pretty damn good, and I'm going to be powering through the rest of the books in the series pretty quickly. I love this universe. I've gotta know what happens next. But. But. It's the TV show that hooked me first, and the TV show that's got the complexity of characters and plot that I really enjoy. Of course, this is just the first book in a series that I've been told definitely keeps up the quality; if it does that while adding more viewpoints and delving more deeply into characters that maybe we didn't have time for in the first book, I can't definitely see myself enjoying this series more the deeper that I go.

Highly recommend you check out the show, and once you finish that, come back here and get some of the worldbuilding, political, and character details that you'll probably be craving.

This review first appeared on my blog. ( )
  VLarkinAnderson | Sep 24, 2018 |
three stars means, I liked it. I didn't _really_ like, but I enjoyed it. I am embarrassed to admit that I get critical when a book is over 300 pages. I want those extra pages to count. I didn't think the ending warranted all those pages, but everything up until the end made sense for what the value was to the reader or to the main plot. I liked how well it set up the interplanetary conflicts and introduced the belters. ( )
  CassandraT | Sep 23, 2018 |
Sprawling science fiction series set in a time after humanity has colonized the Moon, Mars, and the Asteroid Belt. The world-building for this series is absolutely astounding. There's a lot of space ships and scientists and some politicians, and the crew of the Rocinante who are always somehow in the middle of the galaxy's latest disaster.

It read a bit choppy, more like episodes with a seasonal arc than like a novel. But since it held me rapt and entertained the hell out of me I don't care.

Also, how awesome would it have been if Miller was a woman? ( )
  tldegray | Sep 21, 2018 |
Leviathan Wakes is a wonderfully satisfying space opera, set in the asteroid belt a few centuries from now. Earth is old, wealthy, powerful, but maybe not so energetic and innovative anymore. Mars is younger, poorer, but more vigorous, innovative, and on the rise. The Belt--it's a very working class area, mostly owned by Earth-based or Mars-based corporations, but with its own emerging culture. They make do, waste nothing, live inside converted asteroids, and call their homes holes. Ceres, Eros, Tycho, and the ships we see are all very lived-in, well-used by people who mostly have never lived anywhere that air can be taken for granted. The beginnings of an independence movement, the Outer Planets Alliance, or OPA, exists, but the dangers of disrupting the status quo are obvious to Belters, so there's a somewhat tense and uneasy balance. There's no interstellar travel, but the first generation colony ship is preparing to leave within the next couple of years.

Our two viewpoint characters are Joe Miller, a police officer on Ceres, and Jim Holden, an Earth man serving as the XO of a Belter ice miner, the Canterbury. They have very different worldviews and values, and we get their stories in alternating chapters.

It's against this background that Miller gets a extra assignment: find Julie Mao, daughter of a wealthy shipbuilder on Luna, and ship her back to her parents--involuntarily, because she's not going willingly. Meanwhile, XO Jim Holden leads the boarding party to investigate a derelict ship called Scopuli. It's abandoned, and while there's evidence of a struggle, the motive clearly wasn't robbery. Scopuli's own distress signal had been disabled, and the signal Canterbury picked up was added by whoever boarded, and is powered by a Martian battery.

Scopuli is bait in a trap, and with terrifying speed, Jim Holden finds himself the captain of Canterbury's shuttle Knight, and of the few surviving crew. And shortly after that, having broadcast events and what they think they know about them to the entire listening solar system, they're prisoners aboard a Martian military ship.

After that, things start to get complicated and disturbing.

Julie Mao, the missing Earth woman Miller has been assigned to find, kidnap, and send home, was part of the crew of Scopuli. They'd stumbled onto someone's very nasty plan to set up a little experiment. As the political situation in the Belt gets rapidly more dangerous, Miller is first pulled off the search for Julie Mao, then fired, then takes off on his own to track her down. The Martian ship is attacked, and destroyed, by heavily armed stealthed ships, and the last thing the Martian commander does is send a couple of officers to get Holden, his crew, and the evidence out and away.

Miller and Holden each separately follow the evidence they have to Eros, and become uneasy allies in the face of a truly evil plot involving a very dangerous, very alien piece of biotechnology. And while Earth, Mars, and the Belt blame each other for the growing incidence of disappeared or destroyed ships and the system rushes headlong toward war, Miller and Holden discover another hand at work, engineering the war as a distraction from what they're really up to.

Attempting to say any more risks far too many spoilers. I'll just add that the politics of the solar system feel real and complex, with no improbably good Good Guys, and legitimate interests and natural greed on all sides.

Leviathan Wakes has all the Good Parts of space opera of the forties and fifties, a lived-in universe, adventure, intrigue, and sense of wonder. At the same time, James S. A. Corey, or rather, Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck, whose pen name this is, didn't grow up in that era, and write smart, tough, capable female characters with no more apparent conscious effort than when they do the same with male characters. It's apparently the first of a series, The Expanse, but while the set-up for the rest of the series is there, and quite obvious, this particular story is satisfyingly complete in itself. With or without the later volumes, this one is worth reading, and is a lot of fun if you like good space opera.


I received a free electronic galley of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. ( )
  LisCarey | Sep 19, 2018 |
Fantastic space opera, even more fun than the series. 4.5 stars for me, but I'm rounding up 'cause I'm feeling generous today and it was just so much immersive fun! ( )
  _rixx_ | Aug 30, 2018 |
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» Add other authors (22 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
James S. A. Coreyprimary authorall editionscalculated
Abraham, DanielAuthorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Franck, TyAuthorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Benshoff, KirkCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dociu, DanielCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Jayné and Kat, who encourage me
to daydream about spaceships
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The Scopuli had been taken eight days ago, and Julie Mao was finally ready to be shot.
"Sure," Holden said. "I just needed to feel sorry for myself for a minute there. Let's go get killed by the mafia."
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0316129089, Paperback)

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 that someone is willing to kill for - and kill on a scale unfathomable to Jim and his crew. War is brewing in the system unless he can find out who left the ship and why.

Detective Miller is looking for a girl. One girl in a system of billions, but her parents have money and money talks. When the trail leads him to The Scopuli and rebel sympathizer Holden, he realizes that this girl may be the key to everything.

Holden and Miller must thread the needle between the Earth government, the Outer Planet revolutionaries, and secretive corporations - and the odds are against them. But out in the Belt, the rules are different, and one small ship can change the fate of the universe.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:38 -0400)

When Captain Jim Holden's ice miner stumbles across a derelict, abandoned ship, he uncovers a secret that threatens to throw the entire system into war. Attacked by a stealth ship belonging to the Mars fleet, Holden must find a way to uncover the motivesbehind the attack, stop a war and find the truth behind a vast conspiracy that threatens the entire human race.… (more)

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