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Abaddon's Gate (The Expanse (3)) Paperback – June 4, 2013
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"An excellent space operatic debut in the grand tradition of Peter F. Hamilton."―Charlie Stross on Leviathan Wakes
"If you like science fiction with great characters and set in real space, you'll enjoy this one."―Jo Walton, author of Farthing on Leviathan Wakes
"It gnaws at your soul."―Sun on Leviathan Wakes
"High adventure equaling the best space opera has to offer, cutting-edge technology, and a group of unforgettable characters bring the third installment of Corey's epic space drama (after Caliban's War and Leviathan Wakes) to an action-filled close while leaving room for more stories to unfold. Perhaps one of the best tales the genre has yet to produce, this superb collaboration between fantasy author Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck should reawaken an interest in old-fashioned storytelling and cinematic pacing. Highly recommended."―Library Journal on Abaddon's Gate (starred review)
"Politics, philosophical ideals, and humor mingle in a tale that will shock and surprise."―Publisher's Weekly on Abaddon's Gate (Starred Review)
"Literary space opera at its absolute best."―io9.com
"[T]he authors are superb with the exciting bits: Shipboard coups and battles are a thrill to follow."―Washington Post
About the Author
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The premise of the novels is humanity has explored the solar system and colonized both Mars as well as the Asteroid Belt. Unfortunately, this hasn't come with prosperity for all mankind. Poverty and conflict remain with humanity as the need for resources has become greater than ever. The conflict between the three factions has been made worse by the existence of the protomolecule, a billion-year-old alien artifact that has opened up new areas of technology as well as science. One of these is a massive celestial gate on the other end of the solar system.
A group of priests, priestesses, reverends, and other religious leaders have been assembled on a publicity mission to investigate it. Meanwhile, Clarissa Mao, daughter of Jules-Pierre Mao, plots to frame Captain Holden and the crew of the Rocinate in order to avenge her father. This frame-up job ends up forcing Holden and the crew through the gate to become the first people to see what lies
across the universe.
The mystery of Abaddon's Gate is an interesting one as we get to see hints of what species created the protomolecule and why. The continued lack of actual aliens in the series is something which is both to its benefit and deterrent. It's really a series about humanity's reactions to alien life versus alien life itself. I don't know if we'll ever solve the mystery of what happened to them but it seems very likely we will and I'm not sure that's a great direction for the series to go. Then again, I compare it to A Song of Ice and Fire. I'm much more interested in the events in King's Landing versus the White Walkers.
An interesting element is the novel it is a surprisingly religious novel. The character of Anna is a devoted Eastern Orthodox priest (or so I believe--things can change a lot in Russia in 200 years) who wants to save the soul of Clarissa Mao as well as end the fighting without further bloodshed. She spends a lot of time contemplating God, the universe, destiny, and alien life which is not the sort of thing you usually find in hard science fiction novels.
The crew of the Rocinante are decent in this book but nothing really interesting happens with them. Yes, Holden is framed but no one believes it for very long nor is there much tension from the crew. We also lack interactions with Bobbie Draper, which is a shame as I really liked her character. I will say that Holden is starting to grate on me as a character since his naked idealism only works with very cynical characters to contrast him to.
I also have to give the author's props for the fact they created the Behemoth--a converted Mormon generation ship which the OPA has turned into a completely useless military vessel. It can't fire any of its weapons due to the fact it's not structurally built for combat but it looks like it is. I will say, though, the book's handling on drug dealing offended me. One of the supposedly heroic characters spaces a man for dealing them and lost all sympathy as a result from me.
Indeed, my biggest issue with the book is the character of Bacca. One of the major plots of the book is how he has to seize power from his insane military commander who is grossly underqualified for his position. When, in fact, I think Bacca is a dangerously unstable murderer who mounts a mutiny for flimsy pretexts. When you actively hate one of the main characters and think he should fail, something has gone wrong.
In conclusion, Abaddon's Gate was....okay. I hope the next book is better, though.
The new protagonists for this book Bull; head of security for the OPA, Anna the pastor, and Clarissa/Melba are all fantastic.
Bull, the stubborn old dependable earther who has to shoulder the responsibility without the official authority due to belter prejudiced.
Anna, the pastor with the heart of gold and compassion of an angel without the zeal of James Holden.
Clarissa, daughter of Jules Mao hell bent on revenge willing to do what ever it took to take down Holden and his crew.
Instead of having a flat out evil entity like protogen and Jules in the first two books the antagonists in this book are more in the grey area. The main antagonist can be two dimensional at times but given the extreme circumstance it isn't implausible.
Aside from the new protagonists my favorite part of the book is of course the return of (or whats left of him) the hardboiled cop, Detective Miller.
As a stand alone book I would give it three stars but if you are like me following the story and enjoyed the first two books this is a must read and the end of this book sets up the stage for something amazing.
Top international reviews
This is high octane space opera of the absurdly action-packed variety, and if I missed the political wiles of Chrisjen Avasarala, it was (mostly) made up for by getting a glimpse – if only a glimpse – of what awaits beyond the solar system. It's another epic episode with lots of excellent set pieces, although it took me a long while to warm up to the new characters.
My only real criticism is that given just what’s out there I’m a bit disappointed that we’re still wallowing in humanity’s worst flaws for our villains. I’m hoping that the future will hold something different to arrogance, pride and self-interest.
So I was a little disappointed with this 3rd instalment . Why? Well i think some of the personal story-lines are becoming a bit more predictable, which is perhaps to be expected in a 3rd book, the author uses the same phrases about the same characters several times throughout the book (which can break the 'escapist-spell' of the story and bring you back to reality, when you realise this is the third time he has used that simile, but mostly because, bizarrely religion features heavily within the story.
Religion within a science fiction setting is a difficult thing to master and even the best at it, Frank Herbert, didn't always get the balance right. This book certainly doesn't.
BUT.... this book does open the gates to a huge potential for future stories in this series. I hope that the potential is in fact realised. (I have just 5 minutes ago bought the 4th book in the series, so I will let you know.
As with the first two books, the story telling method of using the points of view is fantastic, this was reinvigorated with book three with who the book follows. In offering us often opposing view points the authors made this book feel different from what had preceded it, I still love the first two books but I welcome this change.
As to the actual story, wow! Continuing with the incredibly fleshed out and well conceived universe, this book then pushes the story, along with its characters into uncharted territory. This feels like the first part of the main body of the overall narrative, with the first two books almost acting as prologue and scene-setting.
I can highly recommend this book and the novel series as a whole. As good as the tv show is, the books are just that bit better with their added detail and the ‘inner voice’ context that tv and film struggles to portray.
If you're reading this then odds are you already know what the Expanse is about, with its characters, plots, sub-plots etc... So I won't get into that here. Suffice it to say that after reading the previous two books you ought to be hooked enough to get the 3rd one anyway.
I'd have given it 4.5 / 5 but not possible here and 4 would be a tad too harsh. Where's the missing 0.5 then? Two reasons actually... +++SPOILER ALERT +++
- One of the new POV Characters, Anna, didn't float my boat. I found her rather bland. Liked her sidekick Tilly though, that one is fun!
- This technical question hit me towards the end. If anything faster than say a baseball is "locked in slow orbit" by and around the alien station following its introduction to a nasty Martian grenade-launcher at some critical point in the book, then how come we've got so much of a gunfight and bullets flying around after that? Surely that can't be possible??? Or perhaps I missed something somewhere...
But never mind, inconsistency or not, that certainly didn't spoil it for me and I'll be reading the rest!
Almost found myself skipping a few lines which to me is nearly always the death knell of any book so although I finished it and have purchased the fourth in the series I’m a little apprehensive as to if I’ve spent wisely or not. Time will tell.
This over-egged anticipation was, however, a little misfounded. This story focuses on the various human factions as they race to the strange ring built by the protomolecule and vie to become the first to metaphorically plant their flag. The chapters featuring Holden and his crew are, as ever, superb but it all rather grinds to a halt with the ship-load of ecumenical types trying to shoe-horn God into a multi-species universe – a sure fire winner for killing a bit of sci-fi stone dead. The Melba/Clarissa single-minded revenge thread adds a bit of spice as do the Bull segments but the chapter per character structure, which usually keeps the pace bowling along and the tension building, sags more than a little with each Anna segment. Unlike the other two books, this feels like a book written by two people.
I do, however, like the thought given to the names of ships; as well as being the name of the ship in Rush’s excellent Sygnus X1, Holden’s Rocinante is the name of Don Quixote’s skinny horse; the ultimate futility of aristocracy (in this case plutocracy) is nicely echoed in Melba / Clarissa Mao’s ship the Cerisier (aka The Cherry Orchard); and the naming of the religious ship ‘Prince’ is a wickedly appropriate allusion to Machiavelli’s most famous work. Also, as with the other volumes, the title has been carefully considered and again suggests well read and educated authors, Abbadon being a dwelling place of the dead in the Hebrew bible – most appropriate.
If the first two books hadn’t been so rip-snortingly brilliant then Abbadon’s Gate would have been a perfectly acceptable and enjoyable read and, as such, it deserves a four star rating. Also, notwithstanding the above, the ending is very satisfactory and tidily achieved – a fairly uncommon accomplishment in science fiction where a convenient deus-ex-machina is all too often pulled out of the bag.
My only beef is that I have had to wait patiently for each subsequent release, much like waiting for the next episode a gripping TV series. But, if this is your first time, you are probably in for a treat.
If you are looking for other authors, you could try Mark Cooper (Merkiaari Wars), Michael Hicks (The Last War etc), Evan Currie (On Silver Wings etc), Jack Campbell (The Lost Fleet) or James Corey (The Expanse series). Please read inserts or sample downloads before spending your hard earned dosh.