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Monday, December 26, 2016

Review: Leviathan Wakes

Leviathan Wakes is the starting novel in the Expanses series, which has spawned a TV series of the same name. The TV series got outstanding reviews from various friends of mine, but let's face it: I'm never going to have the time to watch that much TV! My recent attempts to watch Daredevil in 5-10 minute chunks basically made the series very disjointed in my memory.

Fortunately, it's fairly straightforward to checkout books from the library, and once I got it I dove into the novel n rapid order.

The good news is that the book's very readable, with great characters, transparent prose, and interesting situations. The two alternating viewpoint characters (Detective Miller and Captain Holden) have diametrically opposed life experiences, as well as attitudes towards information. Miller views information as currency, to be used and withheld or bargained with, while Holden sees that information should be shared as much as possible and that humans would do the right thing if they were given all the information. The latter is very much in line with views many techies hold in Silicon Valley, but Miller is clearly by far the more sympathetic character in the novel, and comes off as being far more effective, while Holden's naive approach brings one disaster after another.

The setting is also intriguing, set in the relatively near future, with a humanity on the verge of colonizing the entire solar system and making use of all its resources.

The bad news is that you pretty much have to turn off your brain for many of the plot points because they simply do not make sense. Even the villain of the novel could probably have gotten what he wanted a lot more easily than hatching the nefarious plot he eventually did.

All in all, while an enjoyable read, this is more along the lines of Peter F. Hamilton-style space opera rather than Alastair Reynolds. I'll probably place more holds at the library, but am not running out in a hurry to pay full price for the other novels in the series. Mildly recommended.

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