Leviathan Wakes (The Expanse 1) by James S. A. Corey [Book Review]

The Shield meets Firefly

This is a shiny new space opera trilogy called The Expanse. It explores the idea of humanity spreading out in a universe that is stranger and more hostile than they ever expected while keeping it about the characters.

Most of the solar system is colonized with the Belt, Mars and Earth as the major political blocks. Venus was never colonized due to technical and economic difficulties. Tension is high with a looming war of Belter independence the inner planets are not too happy about when they are not plotting against each other.

The two point of view characters are Ice Miner captain Jim Holden and Ceres Detective Josephus Aloisus Miller.

Detective Miller is on a downward spiral as we meet him. He used to be someone in the force. Suspicious thing are happening with the police, but someone don’t want Miller to investigate that. Instead he gets assigned a lost girl case, Julie Mao. Her powerful earth family wants her kidnapped and brought back to earth.

Captain Holden and his crew stumble on a derelict ship and a secret someone is willing to kill for. Now Holden has to find out what is really going on and stay alive. Eventually his search converges with Miller’s.

Miller’s partner Dimitri Havelock from Earth serves as an example of the mistrust the Belter feels. His story is interwoven with Miller’s even if it takes a different path.

This weave of plots eventually becoming one is on par with the best detective novels I have read. Some of the parts are pure horror but most is divided between Miller’s noir reminding of old Hammer novels and Holden’s optimism and camaraderie reminding of Serenity and Firefly. I would compare it to The Shield meets Firefly.

Levithian Wakes is an easy to read cop procedural slash space opera with great ideas. It has what it looks like its own take on the Fermi paradox. The human interest parts are great and Miller’s obsession slash love story is epic if it continues in the next book. I liked it quite a lot.

James S. A. Corey is a pen name for fantasy author Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck, George R. R. Martin’s assistant. They are both new to me and this is Ty Franck’s first full length novel. The novel started out as a MMORPG pitch, went through paper and dice rpg before Daniel offered to co write the novel with Ty.

The trilogy continues with Caliban’s War next year before the concluding volume Dandelion Sky 2013.

Bottom-line it is a perfect summer read for you to enjoy.

Book Information

Leviathan Wakes (The Expanse 1) by James S. A. Corey (Orbit 2011) – Amazon US | UK

Welcome to the future. 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.