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Babylon's Ashes (The Expanse) Hardcover – December 6, 2016
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This is a high-octane continuation of a series that has quickly become the biggest thing in science fiction.―The B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog on Babylon's Ashes
"The science fictional equivalent of A Song of Ice and Fire...only with fewer beheadings and way more spaceships."―NPR Books on Cibola Burn
"Combining an exploration of real human frailties with big SF ideas and exciting thriller action, Corey cements the series as must-read space opera."―Library Journal (Starred Review) on Cibola Burn
"The Expanse series is the best space opera series running at full tilt right now, and Cibola Burn continues that streak of excellence."―io9 on Cibola Burn
"Corey's splendid fourth Expanse novel blends adventure with uncommon decency."―Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) on Cibola Burn
"A politically complex and pulse-pounding page-turner.... Corey perfectly balances character development with action... series fans will find this installment the best yet."―Publishers Weekly on Abaddon's Gate
"It's been too long since we've had a really kickass space opera. Leviathan Wakes is interplanetary adventure the way it ought to be written, the kind of SF that made me fall in love with the genre way back when, seasoned with a dollop of horror and a dash of noir. Jimmy Corey writes with the energy of a brash newcomer and the polish of a seasoned pro. So where's the second book?"―George R. R. Martin on Leviathan Wakes
"An excellent space operatic debut in the grand tradition of Peter F. Hamilton."―Charles Stross 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
"Literary space opera at its absolute best."―io9.com on Abaddon's Gate
About the Author
James S. A. Corey is the pen name of fantasy authors Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck. They both live in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Find out more about this series at www.the-expanse.com.
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With the latest book in "The Expanse" series "Babylon's Ashes" does propel the over all story arc for the series forward but also feels padded out with unnecessary subplots and secondary or even third string characters that had very little to the series except for minor subplots that, honestly, get in the way of our main characters and their goals.
Like some others here I felt that the Free Navy (set up in the last book) is a villain that doesn't hold much promise particularly after the villains in the previous books and the introduction of the protomolecule. The mystery at the heart of who developed the molecule, what happened to them and why it was developed (and even more importantly, who they were afraid of) take a backseat here. While the development of the various human factions continues to be interesting, I'm less interested in them taking center stage and more interested in the protomolecule story line and where that was headed after the last novel where humans landed on a planet that was the staging ground for the creation of the aliens behind it.
As others have noted, the authors have been great about telling their stories from multiple point-of-views and, often times, this adds to the suspense of the novels. Here, however, it has an effect of diminishing the suspense and many of these newer characters just don't hold my interest quite as well as those developed in the first three books of the series. The resolution of the story lines also isn't handled quite the way I had hoped (or was hinted at) in the book.
That's not to suggest that this is a bad book. It just isn't the story I was interested in reading or, at least, the way I had hoped this one would develop. If you are committed to the series, you'll still enjoy the book.
Ending was maybe a little less grand than I would have liked, at least in terms of how the multiple book plot resolved.
I guess I was just hoping for a more personal resolution to the central conflict with the Free Navy. Though the ending was clever, it just felt anticlimactic. This series has such great characters that it's a shame to see major ones (Marcos in particular) killed off in such a way.
THOUGH this does open the possibility to Marcos, Fillip, and everyone else to find a way out of "limbo." They technically aren't dead, so I'm curious to see how this plays out in later volumes. The threat of the Free Navy is not 100% gone.... so there's that....
Looking forward, unless the authors execute the kind of 5/10 years later yada, yada elision that GRRM abandoned, it is hard to realistically see humanity in a place where they are actually able to fight the looming alien threat. The authors left our race holding on to a sheer cliff with one hand, and triumphing over ancient aliens now would be like that climber besting an attacking squadron of A-10s. So, while I hope they will be able to carry me to a place where such a feat seems believable, right now, I am skeptical.