Leviathan Wakes, the first in James S.A. Corey’s Expanse series (set to be at least nine novels now, and also the basis for a new show that’s apparently pretty good) was published in 2012. I bought it in 2013, and read it . . . last week. Such is the fate of books in my house.
The book follows James Holden, the executive officer on an ice hauler working the rings of Saturn, and Detective Miller of the Ceres security service, who’s handed a missing persons case that looks ugly. Both men are drawn into a web of intrigue that extends throughout the solar system. This is space opera, after all.
Leviathan Wakes is a sci-fi mystery, and it’s a great read. I’m definitely going to pick up Caliban’s War, the second book in the series, probably next summer—this kind of novel is a treat, like a yearly walk down to beachside clam shack.
If you’re on the fence, here are five reasons to give Leviathan Wakes a try:
- It’s a doorstop at 561 pages, but it reads fast: I stayed up late and then woke up early to finish it, and I love sleep. Each chapter is chock-full of tension, and the action almost never lets up.
- The setting is way cool: Leviathan Wakes is set in a middle future—earlier than Star Trek, later than The Martian. Humanity has colonized the solar system, but hasn’t reached the stars or other species yet. Corey (the pen name of two writers) does a great job exploring what it would take to get us to that point, and what the costs would be.
- It’s smart but not inaccessible: This isn’t a Michael Bay summer blockbuster kind of book, but it’s not as cerebral as Ancillary Justice (which I loved). There’s a nice balance of action with consideration of how race and class—and war—might look in our future.
- It’ll remind you of classic sci-fi movies and TV: Are you a fan of Alien, Blade Runner, The Abyss, or Firefly? Then Leviathan Wakes is going to ring your bell. It’s got the gritty noir of Blade Runner, the misfit crew of Firefly, the atmosphere and tension of The Abyss, and some serious callbacks to Alien and Aliens.
- It stands alone: I like a good series as much as the next person, but I dislike cliffhangers that try to force me to pick up the next book. Leviathan Wakes has a satisfying ending that whets the appetite for the next book. Just right.
Have you read any good sci-fi lately?