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Nemesis Games returns the Expanse series back to top form. With the Rocinante in serious need of repair due to the events of Cibola Burn, the crew disperses to take care of personal matters. At the same time humanity takes some big steps toward self destruction and things in the solar system go from bad to worse.
Four storylines full of character background revelations bear witness to catastrophic events from different perspectives with Amos on Earth, Alex on Mars, Jim on Tycho Station, and Naomi elsewhere in the belt. Each story is an individual thrill ride until they are all eventually woven back together toward the end of the book. Once the stories do come together it becomes obvious that there is more behind the events than meets the eye, but those details are left dangling for a reveal in the next book.
It is a blast to get more insight into the background of the Rocinante's crew with a healthy dose of Bobbi and Avasarala on top. Nemesis Games is a great all around story that any fan of the series won't want to miss. If you decided not to go for Cibola Burn because of the negative feedback on the narrator change then just skip it and come straight here. You will be glad you did.
21 of 22 people found this review helpful
After a disappointing prior book, Nemesis Games returns the Expanse series to fun form, though it increasingly seems like each book is written as an action movie (perhaps no surprise, given the TV adaptation) rather than the hard-ish science fiction that characterized the first couple of novels. That's not necessarily a bad thing, I really enjoyed the story, but you should know what you are in for.
As an action adventure movie, this book is terrific: there are narrow escapes, thrilling fights, and giant set piece events scattered throughout. The characters we have grown to love all get to star in their own adventures, and get to be clever and resourceful in their own ways.The bad guys are mustache-twirllingly bad, the good guys articulate why they are good in stirring speeches, and everything feels remarkably satisfying. There were times where I couldn't stop listening to see how the next cliffhanger was resolved.
As a more realistic science fiction novel, there are a number of problems. First, the entire plot is laid out clearly and telegraphed repeatedly (the writers seem to have taken the advice about Chekhov's Gun to heart - almost every character or subplot introduced in the book plays an important point in the plot later). The science behind the fiction is also dropping a way a bit, as ever more implausible events happen to propel things forward. Strangely, however, the events are not implausible enough either: the giant galaxy-spanning mysterious aliens plotline takes a backseat to Solar System heroics, for better or worse. Also, though each character gets a lot of "screen time" and some revelations about their past, actual character development remains rather slight, and the musings on family and crew are nothing new to the series, nor are the psychopathic bad guys.
So, given all of these issues, why five stars? Because the book was incredibly fun, and I have finally accepted the series as the space fantasy action movie it clearly wants to be. If you are coming expecting hard science fiction and semi-realistic plots, it is likely to be three stars. I can't wait for the next book, however...
27 of 29 people found this review helpful