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Leviathan Wakes
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on March 5, 2016
Leviathan Wakes is, without a doubt, the beginning of something amazing. I have the next two books in the series and I am looking forward to reading those as well as the additional novels I don't own yet.
I owned this book for about three years without ever picking it up from my book shelf (I had pretty much forgotten about it) and I may have continued to neglect it were it not for The Expanse being produced by SyFy. Sadly, I watched the first season of the series before reading this novel and I don't like doing that...but I don't feel like it was detrimental in any way. I'd like to discuss a couple of the differences for those who have only either read the book or seen the television show before I do anything else.
There are some pretty dramatic differences between the book and the series, the biggest being that the first season ends about 3/5 of the way through the narrative of the first novel, which is something I truly hope SyFy addresses with the second season since there is a lot going on in that third act of the story.
The other major difference between the book and the television series is that we aren't introduced to the political environment and maneuvering taking place on Earth in the novel, though I appreciate that additional subplot from the show and actually kind of wish it had been part of the book.
Beyond that, the differences are really quite minimal, some characters who don't quite line up between the two mediums (either because of descriptions that don't match up with the casting for the series or because the personalities/interactions are just a little bit off) and a couple of plot points that play out a touch differently or occasionally in different sequence...but those aren't as troubling as they could be.
Written by James S.A. Corey (a fictional person, really the collaboration between Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck), this is one hell of an ambitious novel, successfully weaving space opera, militaristic science fiction, and noir mystery into an exciting, intense, and sometimes even scary tapestry.
The stated goal of the authors was to fill in the gap that is almost always present where science fiction is concerned. Typically we either end up with near-future cyberpunk or dystopian stories or distant future space operas and the like taking place after we have spread throughout the galaxy or even the universe itself. This book (and presumably the whole series) provides the reader with a suitably rich and detailed vision of what we have between those intervals, during the time when we are still colonizing our own solar system and only just considering setting our sights further into what we have beyond our galactic neighborhood.
The interactions between Miller and Holden (as well as their separate storylines) are fantastic and well-written enough that the two protagonists really do provide vastly different lenses through which the same events are being experienced. We see a lot of that in The Expanse, but there is a lot of subtext that gets lost in translation between the two mediums.
After reading this book I am determined to pick up some of Daniel Abraham's fantasy novels, which I might have ended up doing anyhow. The man is an excellent author and Ty Franck clearly learned a thing or two while working for George R.R. Martin where grand, sweeping narratives and visceral (almost punishing) inevitability in narratives are concerned.
Whether you have already seen The Expanse or simply want to read an excellent science fiction novel, I have to recommend reading Leviathan Wakes.
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on July 18, 2017
Finally found another series I can sink my teeth into. Characters were well developed. Amazing world building! Just takes me away every time I pick up the book. A lot of details that I found myself having to go back to remind myself what had happened exactly because almost every detail counts. Story was well-paced with lots of suspenseful moments. The chapter transitions where the POV of the storytelling changes from Holden to Miller was done almost seamlessly but you are almost immediately aware of the change because the characters each have their own voice (and the chapter titles of course). The one thing I didn't pick up on is why Earth and Mars are always at the brink of war. Maybe one of those details I fail to remember.
All in all great read and looking forward to reading the rest of the series.
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on June 1, 2017
One of the best science fiction novels I've read in quite some time. George R.R. Martin got it right describing it as 'kick-ass space opera'.

Ty and Daniel have created a story here that falls perfectly in the sci-fi gap between not far enough in the future and too far. You won't find multi-galaxy battles here. You will not find hordes of aliens fighting it out against the human race. You will however find a feasible plot that rests on the backs of realistic and diverse characters, each bringing life to the world in their own way. Character driven, fun, gritty. This was an extremely promising beginning for The Expanse. I'm excited to see where the series goes.
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on February 26, 2017
One of the best modern sci-fi books I have read. I thoroughly enjoyed the well-developed characters, the believable setting, and the overall story. While this book could be read as a stand alone it is the first in a long series (6 books as of this review) and I think book 2 and 3 are even stronger than this one. I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a new take on sci-fi. Bravo to the authors of this book!
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on February 7, 2015
I was first attracted to this book when I heard that the SyFy Channel was coming up with a new series this year based on a book collection called “The Expanse.” Leviathan Wakes is the first book in that series. It’s classified as space opera, which generally means its an adventure written in the context of space.

In this situation, the story is told by two men: James Holden, an executive officer on a ice freighter hauling water in the form of glaciers from Saturn’s rings to a colony in the Meteor Belt on the other side of Mars. The other man, Detective Miller (seriously; it never gives his first name!) works for a security firm that has taken the place of police on the colony of Ceres, which consists of a colony inside a meteorite. Miller is hired to find and kidnap a girl; Holden’s ship answers a rescue call and promptly gets destroyed as well. It takes a while for their crosses to path, but they inevitably do.

The universe described is fascinating because it’s believable yet fantastic. This is a solar system we might be living in in a few hundred years, with Earth overpopulated and Mars the new rising power. Spaceships don’t zoom or instantaneously go from planet to planet; even with special drives it takes weeks to get where you’re going. The outer planets are the slums, inhabited by adventurers and those too poor to go anywhere else. The characters are credible and interesting, the dialogue is fascinating, funny and intriguing, and there are scary and exciting parts.

But “bipolar” is probably the best word to use to describe this book. It reminds me of the Katy Perry song, about a guy being hot, then cold. The book starts off with a bang, then promptly leaves you with 200 pages of slogging. Remember that this book is 582 pages long, and even though the beginning showed promise, the book bogged down after the first 50 pages. More than once I almost put it down. And then it took off again at the 50-yard line. The last half of the book doesn’t disappoint.

The good parts of this book are great; it’s just those pages from about 50 to 250 that are slow. I suspect that when it shows up on SyFy they will cut that section to the quick, but then, you never know.
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on April 28, 2017
I liked it a lot, good old hard-core sci-fi. Of course I had seen the series so had certain preconceptions. But the book and book 2 are arranged somewhat differently in event sequence from the series, and I like the book organization better. I am into book 3 now and i like the whole series so far. Good development of characters I believe. There has been time to do that. Only reason for not a 5 is that there are still magnificent classic sci-fi works that I think of as 5s, the foundation series for example, or red mars, blue mars, green mars. I'd give 4.5 though if allowed. And by the time I read books 3, 4 etc. this may be another all-time '5' for me.
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on July 22, 2016
I must admit that I watched the SyFy program before I got this book. I usually do it the other way, that is, I read a book and then see a movie or TV program.

This book is far superior to the TV program. I will say that the Earth/Mars politics with Shohreh Aghdashloo was very interesting and might have added to the book but the characters in this book are so interesting.

Holden, Naomi, Alex and Amos are a fascinating crew and Miller.....he is such a great character. His obsession with Julie drives this story and the ending is so frightening and lovely, all at the same time.

I intend to read all the books in The Expanse series. If they are anywhere near as good as this one, I will be thrilled. A good read.
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on December 13, 2017
I've been reading science fiction all my life. And this story is keeping me awake!

I've been reading Volume 1 of the series and also watching Season 1 of the TV series at the same time. Both are great - and the storylines are really close.

I think part of why this story is interesting is that it takes place only in our solar system where we all know all our planets and where they are in relation to each other, and some of the characteristics of the planets and asteroids.

By the way - if your name is Epstein - you need to install a brake!
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on July 20, 2016
I adored this book. I paid $9.99 for the Kindle version and I almost never do that. It was worth every penny. It was absorbing, well written, had complex characters, multitudes of twists and turns and intriguing relationships. The descriptive qualities were so good, I felt like I was immersed in each setting. I think I went through withdrawals when I finished it. Needless to say, I am going to read every one in this series. And I will pay full price since I cannot wait till the price goes down.
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on December 6, 2017
POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD

I liked parts of the book, and I disliked other parts. The biggest issue for me was Miller's unhealthy fascination with Julie in the second half of the book. It even stated that he loved her. This was also a major plot point for the conclusion. But I do not feel like this was earned. At no point do we get an indication early in the book that Miller begins to fall in love with the girl he is investigating. Most of the first half of the book is Miller solving other cases and trying to figure out what the OPA is going to do. After he gets fired, he continues investigating Julie. His love for Julie seems contrived to add tension in the second half of the book and to help with the conclusion. Speaking of which: the conclusion was not very satisfying. It also felt rushed and lacked depth.

However, I gave the book three stars because it has an iteresting setting with background conflict that has the potential for great storytelling. I will be reading the next book in the series based on this fact. It wasn't the best book, but I think it makes for an interesting read. Definitely worth areas if you are between book.
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