A leviathan indeed wakes in Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey, and stays awake.
James S. A. Corey is a pseudonym for the team of Daniel Abraham and Ty Frank, George R.R. Martin’s assistant. The team weave their first tale of The Expanse Trilogy. And what a tale they weave.
This book bridges the gap many sci-fi books leave between leaving the Earth and colonizing distant stars and galaxies – humans have colonized the solar system; Mars, Moon, and the Saturn’s asteroid belt.
Jim Holden, first officer of The Scopuli, an ice miner that is hauling ice across to the Belt, is forced to become a captain of small crew in an escape vessel when their ship is taken down. Upon investigation, the clues point to Martian Navy as having engineered the attack. This enflames the Belters (residents of the Asteroid Belt). Martian Navy denies the attack and feels that a third force (Earth?) is trying to cause a divide between the Mars and the Belt.
Detective Joe Miller, a belter has seen glory days as a detective, but that is past now. He is tasked to find a rebel Earther (resident of Earth) girl. Her rich parents wants her to be shipped back to them, so that she does not get caught up in the events in the solar system.
Needless to say, that there is some link to the destruction of The Scopuli and the girl gone missing. As both Holden and Miller investigate, they start to see that there is more to it than what seems at the surface. Can’t say more without telling the story.
Book has some strong characters. Jim Holden is a righteous guy, emotionally driven. He tends to do the right thing, and many times at a great cost to himself and people around him.
Miller, a detective seasoned by the criminals of the Belt, works logically. His is stubborn and once has his brain wired with his logic, he imparts quick justice.
Together they form the heart and brain of the story. The chemistry between them is depicted extremely well, and their relationship is that of love, hate and respect.
Fred, another strong character, has his own agenda. He sometimes help and at other times use, both Holden and Miller. He seems to be a nice guy, but keeps readers guessing what his intentions are.
Rest of the characters provide the perfect support to taking the story ahead, although you wish to know more about them.
All characters cross paths and before long you get to see everyone making an attempt to survive in dangerous world.
The narrative moves at a brisk pace, the language and the terminology makes it a believable space opera. There are intelligent and unexpected twists & turns which keeps readers attention in the story. And towards the end, things get hairy as story progresses. As you turn the last few pages of the book, the things go from believable to interesting. Ending gives you a satisfaction of good read, but leaves a lot more open questions like – what happened to few characters, and what happens next. In other words, a perfect ending to story that is going to span a trilogy.
The author(s) have taken a page from George R.R. Martin’s page. Tie few loose ends, leave other open for the next book.
The story has big space battles, hand to hand combat, near death experiences, some love stories, and the big bad evil lurking around. All in all, everything a good story should have.
Personally, I loved it, however there were few things that were farfetched for me. One may ask “like the whole colonizing the Solar System is not?”; still few things didn’t work out for me (can’t say without spoilers).
The novel has a great narrative (this is how books should be written) – fast pace, keeps readers attention, a good sprinkle of action, and many wonderful twists and turns.
And it is a good story with a potential to become great as the series progress.
Do I recommend this book? Hell, yes.
I got the eBook and 10 chapters into the book, I knew I should get analog. I have shared the real book with 4 of my friends and they could not put the book down till it was over. In fact all of them finished it before I did. It is a must read for a sci-fi fan.
As George R.R. Martin puts it, it is a “kick ass space opera”. We just have to wait to see where the story goes from here.
Click here for the James S.A. Corey’s website.
Jatinder PS Nagi
September 18, 2011