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My husband and I watched The Expanse on Amazon Prime a couple of months ago. It was good but not great. I am not a hard sci fi consumer. I usually go more towards sci fi/fantasy or sci fi that is not has heavy on the sci part. I decided to check out the book that The Expanse was adapted from because the book is always better than the movie or tv series (it is a law of the universe which someday scientist will discover written with stars). I am really, really glad I did.
Leviathan Wakes is the first book in The Expanse series. The TV series uses seasons 1 and 2 to cover the story. There are significant differences between the series and the book, all of them lining up on “the book is better” side.
Leviathan Wakes takes place in mankind's future. We have spread ourselves through our solar system but have not quite reached the stars yet. There are humans living on moons of Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn and in the large planetoids within the belt between Mars and Jupiter. People have been born, lived and died outside of Earth’s gravity. There are physical and cultural differences between Earthers, Martians and Belters which create a tense political situation.
The story is told from several points of view, all third person.
Julie: a poor little rich girl leaving her privileged life behind to fight for the rights of Belters
Holder: an Earther, now serving as the XO on an ice hauler
Miller: a Belter and native of Ceres who serves as a cop
Fred: an Earther and former United Nations general who now fights for the rights of Belters
Ninety-five percent is told from Holden and Miller’s viewpoints. It gives the story a much better diversity of scope than had it just been from only Earthers or Belters. There are several other characters who have large parts in the story. There is diversity in gender, ethnicity, politics, and where they call home in the solar system.
Jefferson Mays narrates this almost twenty-one hour epic. At no point did my attention lag or wonder. He really brings all the tension and wonder to life through his voice. I am currently trying to figure out how I can possible afford the rest of the series right now instead of waiting for sales or a birthday. It is just incredible. I think I may have started a love affair with hard science fiction thanks to James S. A. Corey, Andy Weir and the wonderful narrators of their books.
90 of 94 people found this review helpful
When I started this book I could NOT stop listening. The prologue opens with a hook and I HAD to find out whatever happened to Julie. I appreciated that the story bounced back and forth from following Detective Miller for a space of time and then switching to following Holden and his crew. You got to see into their heads and their different points of view coming from very different backgrounds, which was cool. It was also interesting to see the different pieces of the puzzle fitting together, and exciting once their separate storylines finally converge.
While starting out with a bang, for some reason about 3/4 of the way through I just got tired of this book. And then I'm looking at how many books are left in the series (5 more already published, and 3 more slated to be published in the next couple of years, not counting the 1.5 type inbetweener novellas) and I was left going "Eghhhhh... Do I HAVE to finish this?" I'm glad I plugged through, because the last hour or so picked back up again. I don't feel any need to read the rest of the series, though, and feel like this first book of the series can stand alone with the way it ends and not FORCE you to read the rest of the series - specifically, no cliff-hanger ending but instead wrapped up nicely enough that it can be left alone with enough open-endedness to segway into the rest of the series should you so choose.
I listened to the Audible version narrated by Jefferson Mays, who did a great job narrating. I could tell which character was talking, and he managed to do a credible female sounding/feeling voice for the female characters that wasn't high/squeaky/awful like I've found a lot of men do. He also didn't read with the endless droning monotone that so many male fantasy/sci-fi narrators seems to bore me to tears with, so thanks, Jefferson Mays! 10/10 would listen to you again (but not this book again, sorry).
31 of 32 people found this review helpful