Review: Leviathan Wakes (The Expanse #1) – James S.A. Corey

8855321Verdict: I have mixed feelings.

My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Published by Orbit, 2011

Genre: Science Fiction

Find it on Goodreads.

James S.A. Corey delivers compelling SF that ranks with the best in the field. In Leviathan Wakes, ice miner Jim Holden is making a haul from the rings of Saturn when he and his crew encounter an abandoned ship, the Scopuli. Uncovering a terrifying secret, Jim bears the weight of impending catastrophe. At the same time, a detective has been hired by well-heeled parents to find a missing girl, and the investigator’s search leads him right to the Scopuli.

This was so far outside my comfort zone that I am not all that sure how to review the book. I did enjoy it (for the most part) and I am planning on continuing with the series but I had some issues with parts of it.

This is relatively hard science fiction compared to some other books in the genre I have read and I have to admit that some of the rather drawn-out descriptions of life in the Belt and of galactic war did make my eyes glaze over. I am not very good at visualising fighting scenes; and man, are there quite a few of those. I did, however, love the world building a whole lot. I loved the differences (subtle and not so subtle) between people born on planets and those born in space), I loved the way the societies evolving made so much sense, I love how central conflicts were based on different life-expiriences.

I thought the book had some pacing issues; the beginning being slow did not bother me, I liked how the authors put their pieces into place and took the time needed to expand the world organically; I loved the middle (I had so many theories!); but thought the last 150 or so pages dragged (I did like my theories better!).

I also had issues with the main characters: they felt tropey and represented tropes that annoy me (hard-boiled detective past his prime with an alocohol problem. Naive but righteous captain with womanizing tendencies of the “let’s put women on a pedestal”-variety). I want to hit them on their heads repeatedly. I also learned way more about their testicles than I would want to. I do want to see where they characters might go next which is a good sign.

I am trying to read a wide variety of Science Fiction novels and novellas this year because I am so very sure there will be books that I will absolutely adore; it is a genre I have not read enough of and I think that needs to be remedied. It also means I will read some books that might not work for me completely. This is one of those books. I buddy-read this with my boyfriend and even though I hopelessly overtook him (and cannot talk about my spoilery thoughts just yet), I did love reading this together. That feeling of spending time with my boyfriend really did help the book and is one of the reasons I am excited to keep reading the series, at least another book.

9 thoughts on “Review: Leviathan Wakes (The Expanse #1) – James S.A. Corey

      1. Yes and no… the first season of the show covers only about 2/3rds of the first book, so you are already ahead storywise. However… a major character from the second book (Avasarala) is already introduced in the TV show from the start. So… But she is a cool character in both the books and the show so that might inspire you to read the second book too.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I completely agree with your feelings about the main characters in this one, but it gets a LOT better next book – both because of the new characters introduced, and because existing ones get less irritating. Indeed, aside from some weird choices in Book 4, I think Leviathan Wakes is the weakest book in terms of POVs, so it’s mostly better from here on out…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh I am very excited to hear that! I will have to take a break and read some other books (at least until my boyfriend finally finishes the book!) but I am definitely planning on continuing.


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