Leviathan Wakes (The Expanse #1) by James S.A. Corey

Leviathan Wakes

This might be my new favorite Sci-fi series. It has just enough science-y, techno space stuff that it feels believable but it isn’t too dense. Everything reads plausible and is easily understood.

Humanity has conquered the stars! Or at least our own solar system. Earth is maxed out and so humanity has moved out to other locations. Mars, where the people are all working hard towards terreforming and settling the notoriously difficult planet. And the people living out on the Belt, called “belters” by most people, who most treat like second-class citizens at best and non-human slaves at worst. This is definitely a book that looks at what it would mean to actually grow up in a zero G environment. What sort of changes would humanity go though? how would others treat you if you no longer looked 100 percent “human”? The answer, of course, is terribly.

Earth views themselves as the top dogs. This is where we came from and they have the most resources for living comfortably. What they don’t have is space. We have taken all the available space and now most people on Earth don’t even work anymore. Mars on the other hand are tough and resourceful. Everyone who is on Mars is working for a single goal: Colonizing and terreforming the planet. They view the Earthers as weak and lazy. They gained their independence from Earth a while ago and now Earth and Mars are stuck in a Cold War. Each of them stands to lose everything if they fight it out, so they just pretend everything is fine between them and plot to out gun the other.

Then there are the Belters. They have grown up on The Belt and as such their bodies have changed. They have heads that look to large with extremely long bodies and limbs. They have lived so long in zero G that they can’t go to Earth anymore, they can’t handle the gravity. They also do all the mining work and terrible jobs and most people treat them like slaves.

Jim Holden is our main character. At the start of the book he is the XO of an ice hauling ship called The Canterbury. He is relaxed, sarcastic, and doesn’t take anything very seriously. As the book opens they are attacked and tragedy occurs and a small band of people must pull together to survive.The other characters in the group are: Naomi, a Belter engineer who is smart and tough. Alex, the navigator from Mars who is nice and easy-going. Amos, a mechanic who is nice on the surface but has a deep anger just under the surface. I found myself really rooting for Holden and his small crew. They have their differences, and they do fight a lot but when needed they pull together and have each others backs. In the end they become a small family who would literally die for each other.

The other character I consider a Main Character is Miller. Detective Miller is a Belter who lives on Ceres Station and tries to uphold the Law. Or at least keep people from killing each other. He has been doing this job for a long time and it has worn him out and turned him very cynical. He is given a kidnapping job, a rich couple wants him to find their daughter and ship her home. He just shrugs and takes it. Another shitty job to do in a shitty place. This story-line is very noir. Through the days of searching he grows to respect and even love the missing girl, Julie Mao. She is tough and is a true believer in the rights of the Belters to be treated better than slaves.

I liked that the authors went with different viewpoints for each chapter in a very Game of Thrones style. Since I am used to the style I found it very easy to follow and I was never confused about the plot. Which was a good thing because this plot MOVES. After SPOILERS The Canterbury is blown up END SPOILERS  the plot never really slows down. Twists and turns come fast and steady, and I never felt the book drag at all. The separate plot threads in the book come together very nicely in the end in a very thrilling way and leaves us with a nice hook for future books.

I found all the characters to be believable and compelling even if I wasn’t sure I liked them much. The plot moved quickly and once I started reading I couldn’t put it down! I am extremely excited and happy I started this series. I was on the hunt for a lighthearted space adventure and that is exactly what I got here. A fantastic Book!

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