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Babylon's Ashes (The Expanse (6)) Paperback – October 24, 2017
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An Amazon Book with Buzz: "Sweet Sorrow" by David Nicholls
"With fully fleshed-out characters, terrific dialogue, bountiful humor, and genuinely affecting scenes, this is really the full package of a rewarding, romantic read."—Booklist Learn more
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The book itself, or perhaps I should say "story", not only never becomes something greater than it's parts, it actually manages to be much less. The many gems I described above didn't connect...I felt like a fair analogy would be going on a tour through an art gallery, lots of little interesting pieces that I quickly grew bored waiting for them to come together.
There are a number of serial authors that I've become completely disenchanted with, Weber and Martin pop to mind. I wouldn't say this book left me feeling totally negative though, because it had the feel of the author trying on a new suit that's still in need of tailoring. The Storytelling got sublimated to the craftsmanship here, which is not only something that can be fixed next book, it has the potential to be one of the best.
But only if Mr. Corey recognizes where the narrative and plotting just fall totally flat here. The forest got lost in the trees...I sure hope things get back on track.
The book uses the same switching of point of view characters for each chapter as the previous 5 have done.. And of course one of the major characters in the series dies.
There is a lot of politics and flipping of viewpoints, but they do tend to drag. The book sets itself up as a possible end to the series or as the possible set up for a continuation with a more galactic rather than just a solar system viewpoint. Time will tell.
This was not a great addition to the series, in fact I would call it the weakest, but isn't that the way many final volumes are?
Such alternate POVs are also necessary because everyone on the Rocinante is pretty sorted. They still have their issues, but the crew has established itself as a family. It's other characters who still have work to do. My favorite character arcs in this novel are not my favorite characters, but Filip's story is poignant and Michio Pa's is dramatic. I'm sure both of them will pop up again in the future, and I look forward to seeing them.
The dark line that threaded this book reminds me of the collapse of Ganymede earlier in the series. This time, it's a collapse that's system-wide. I appreciated that not every character was completely aware of the issues, but I definitely finished the book with a sense of weird dread about future events.
On the other hand, despite the multiple vivid scenes involving ship-to-ship (and occasionally closer) combat, I loved that at the end of the day, the plot was solved by SCIENCE. The story of the missing ships becomes relevant, if not necessarily explained (which I'm totally okay with).
Avasarala is still my favorite. Bobbie continues to be a BAMF. Naomi also achieves a different sort of BAMF status in this installment. I'm ready to dive into book 7.
I see a lot of people complaining about the death of "books", but I always see it as less a death of the medium, than a death of the method! Our story-telling must evolve to fit the way that we now consume information (synchronized "channels"). As an example, the ability to set the "detail level", so that we get a story that can be consumed like an action packed movie of mostly action with minimal exposition, or a setting for a highly detailed character thoughts/exposition included narrative, or anywhere in between.
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I didn't enjoy reading a book where so much of the plot was spent exploring the problems faced by a single parent familiy bringing up a troubled adolescent. If I had wanted that, I'd have been better off watching a daytime TV soap or the Jeremy Kyle show. Yes, there were other threads to the storyline, but too often I was bored and impatiently waiting for the other story elements to develop. All this while a teenager contemplated his relationship with his father and absent mother.
But I loved the previous books so now I face a dilema - should I bother to read next next book(s) in the series?
That is clearly not the case, and the reviews now longer mention the passage of so much time. Clearly it was either an error in the reviews, or a misdirect by the authors. So if you read that, and wonder why it reads like about 3 weeks or months passed, that is because that seems to be about the right time frame.
Otherwise, for me it’s just as good as preceding volumes.
Yet the state of said ecosystem was too big a cliffhanger to end the book on, in my opinion.
If the author can tear himself away from the distraction of the TV series and deliver a follow-on book I will no doubt buy it with fingers crossed for an improvement.