Tiamat's Wrath

Book Notes

This is Book 8 The Expanse series. And yes, I thoroughly enjoyed this book, except the shit at the end. I swear the authors have decided to take a page from George R. R. Martin's playbook. That doesn't reduce the enjoyments of the book, but does add a bit of bittersweetness to the end.

This book continues where the previous book left off, with Holden a prisoner, and the Resistance against Duarte gaining steam.

The book has a couple "wait, no, that didn't just happen, did it, wait, what's going on" moments, which are explained in the Expanse novellas. I liked how a couple of the this-doesn't-make-any-sense plots of a couple of them fold in upon this storyline, and, yes, make sense (even with an "of course").

I really need to be better about writing down the plots as I read the book, so that these reviews can be complete and utter spoilers for everyone else and good reminders for me. Today is not that day, so I'm stunningly vague here.

If you're reading the series, keep reading. If you're not reading it yet, but enjoy the SyFy series, worth reading. If you're a science fiction fan, totally strongly recommended.

She taught us to use everything shameful in our lives as a weapon to humiliate people who would diminish us. That’s the secret, you know.” “What’s the secret?” Kajri smiled. “The people who have power over you are weak too. They shit and bleed and worry that their children don’t love them anymore. They’re embarrassed by the stupid things they did when they were young that everyone else has forgotten. And so they’re vulnerable. We all define ourselves by the people around us, because that’s the kind of monkey we are. We can’t transcend it. So when they watch you, they hand you the power to change what they are too.”
Page 4

Persepolis Rising

Book Notes

This is Book 7 of The Expanse series

Ah, yes, the Expanse series. Again, as before, reading this book was like coming home. Yes, the plot starts twenty years after the end of the last book, yes, the book includes Holden and his righteous ass, yes, everyone is the same and everyone isn't the same, twenty years changes a lot.

The ship is transferred to Bobbie, we all saw that coming. The dynamics of the power exchange are tense, we all, also, saw that coming, if only because we react similarly when our worlds shift, and James S. A. Corey, I mean, Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck, know how to write people.

I read enough "but I don't want to spoil it for you!" blurbs to know someone dies somewhere in the book, so I went ahead and read the plot summary on Wikipedia, which does spoil that particular plot point for the reader. I actively wanted to know so that I could read the book in peace, ymmv.

I noticed I started reading more slowly in the second half of the book, and recognized I was going it so that the book would last longer. I did enjoy the book (unlike Cibola Burn, which nearly turned me off the series), and would recommend the series to any science fiction fan (if only so that they could see Holden's actions at the end, so worth it).

In the time he’d worked with Winston Duarte, Paolo had found much to admire in the man. The high consul was intelligent, given to astounding leaps of comprehension on complex topics but still measured and thoughtful in his decision making.

Duarte valued the counsel of others but was decisive and firm once the information was gathered. He could be charismatic and warm without ever seeming false or insincere. But more than anything else, Paolo respected his total lack of pretension.

Strange Dogs

Book Notes

Oh, look!

An Expanse book! (And another book with a title that I confuse for another title, this one I read as "Strange Days" the entire time, until I wrote this review.)

OF COURSE I'm going to read it.

Okay, maybe not. I read this one because it was an Expanse book, knowing it might not have Holden in the plot. It didn't. I didn't find the main character particularly compelling, so this book took me a little longer to read than the Holden books do, even though it's a novella instead of a full novel.

The book is an on-the-ground, back story on one of the planets through the Ring. It left more questions than it exposed with the characters and dialogue, which might be the point of it, as a lead-in into the next book.

At this point, if not a hard-core, I'm-going-to-read-everything-Expanse fan, skip this one.

Her mother said that honey was better than molasses, but there weren’t any bees on Laconia. Cara had only ever seen pictures of them, and based on those, she didn’t like honey at all.
Location: 87

I giggled at this when I read it. Small children often don't like foods just because they are different from what they know. Except that adults do this, too, and spend a large amount of effort justifying why they don't like something, when, in reality, they don't know enough to know they don't like said something.

The focus of the family spotlight had moved past her. Momma bird was over. She couldn’t put her thumb on why that bothered her.
Location: 154

One of the hardest things about death is that life goes on.

Babylon's Ashes

Book Notes

That this book took me a week to finish would have me concerned about my reading speed, except there are so many good parts, so many relevant parts, in it that I'm okay with my reading it slowly. The arc of the book is predictable, the character development is expected, the action is as imagined. What caught me in this book is the wording, the details, the smaller message, and the underlying lesson in the book.

That, and the relevancy of the book to today's politics. If I didn't know any better, I would swear that Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck KNEW how the election would turn out and published the book as a road map to dealing with the aftermath and provide comfort to rational, good people around. There were so many good quotes from the book, so many places where I had to stop reading and just think about what I had just read, that I highly recommend this book. Problem is, to read this book, you kinda need to read the previous five books in the Expanse series (including the one that just pissed me off).

I have been really enjoying the series (minus that one book), so yeah, have to say read it read it read it, but will temper it with, "If you can get through the previous five."

Sitting with the thought


I'm in the process of reading Babylon's Ashes, book six of the Expanse series. In it someone important, one of the main characters, dies. Now, part of me is thinking, ugh, I don't want to give away any of the plot, but really, come on, of COURSE someone dies, a billion people died in the previous few books. That, and the George R.R. Martin effect: every author has to kill off a main character these days.

After the character dies, different parts of the solar system (yes, read that correctly, the Expanse series is a space opera after all) react in different ways. The side that liked the deceased mourn the loss. The friends of the deceased mourn the death. The side that was against the deceased celebrated the death.


Party and joy at the death of a person trying to make the human-known (fictional, of course) universe a better place.

Vital Abyss

Book Notes

Okay, when do I ever start a review without an "okay?" The answer is, "Never," though usually I delete the "Okay," before a actually post the review.

Speaking of review introductions, man, am I starting to dislike reviews and tutorials and articles that have 50% "why I'm writing this" and like 30% actual meat of the story, and 20% wrap up. Kinda like these two paragraphs so far.

I am really liking the Expanse backstories that I've been reading. They fill in the gaps where events, movtivations, and circumstances are just assumed (rightly so), in the plot the reader follows in the main books. Just as with the Churn where we learn of Amos' backstory, and Gods of Risk where we see more of Bobbie, and The Butcher of Anderson Station where we understand the conversion of Fred Johnson, this book provides the backstory to the scientists doing the research into the protomolecule. It also explains some of the questions about just how people can do experiments on a population in the millions and not question the morality of such an action.

Fans of the Expanse should, of course, read this book, too. I wish the four shorter books were combined into one book, but, hey, more money as four smaller books than a compendium.

I kinda wonder if I should include plot lines so that I remember these books I'm reading. See? That was the lingering, unrelated 20% conclusion in this review.

Gods of Risk

Book Notes

While not normally a fan of same-universe stories that aren't about the main plot of a saga, say, with this book being a supplementary book to the The Expanse series, I have to say that Jim Butcher rather broke me of that dislike with the extra Harry Dresden books. When you enjoy a series a lot, you want whatever sized book and whatever plot line the author (or authors) want to write.

Such is the case with this book.

In this book, we have a glimpse into Bobbie's world after her ordeal, "treason," and homecoming from Abaddon's Gate. It's only a glimpse, as the story is actually about her nephew, but that's okay, because we learn more about the universe, more about the school systems, and more about Bobbie. All good things.

I enjoyed this book a bit, it being in the Expanse universe and all. If you're reading and enjoying the series, include this one in your reading.

Now, where's my rocketship?

The Churn

Book Notes

After finishing Nemesis Games, book five of The Expanse series, I was thinking, "Well, crap, I've read them all." Except there's book 6 which is out, but it's in hardback only and not available at the library quiet yet, and I'm trying not to buy so many books (yes, I have a stack 4' tall of books to read, one more can wait), so I haven't read it yet.

Except! Except!

There are four books, novellas, set in the same universe and omg yesssssssssssssssss!

This one is the story of how Amos Burton ended up in the stars. We know a bit of the history from Nemesis Games, where we learned the histories of most of the Rocinante crew.

There are also references to the Churn in the book. Had I read this book before Nemesis Games, I would have caught the references. Instead, I caught the latter book's references in this book.

I enjoyed this book, once I understood what was going on. If you're reading the series and enjoying it (let's ignore book 4, shall we?), then read this one, too. Who wouldn't want more Amos?

Nemesis Games

Book Notes

Okay, wow, now we're talking. Back into the Expanse world, and back into the Holden future.

After the last Expanse book, I was very very hesitant to read this one. I hemmed and hawwed about it, wondering if I was going to dislike the next one as much as I disliked the last one, and oh, that would just ruin the series for me, because I read a series until 2 in a row are bad, and then, nope, you can't recover.

Oh boy did this one recover. Loved this one. This one might have been my second favorite of the series. We follow Alex and Amos and Naomi and Holden as they have their adventures. We learn about them, their pasts, their futures, their fears.

The book still doesn't (books still don't) convey time scale well, but I think it works. We don't see how the days are filled on a spaceship (always, always, always fixing things), or how long time passes, which is fine.

Really really really liked this book, almost as much as the first one. Wheeeeeee! Can't wait for book six!

Cibola Burn

Book Notes

Okay, to start, I love the Expanse series. I love the writing styles (because there are two authors). I love the Rocinante crew.

I did not like this book.

Here's the blurb:

"An empty apartment, a missing family, that's creepy. But this is like finding a military base with no one on it. Fighters and tanks idling on the runway with no drivers. This is bad juju. Something wrong happened here. What you should do is tell everyone to leave."

The gates have opened the way to a thousand new worlds and the rush to colonize has begun. Settlers looking for a new life stream out from humanity's home planets. Ilus, the first human colony on this vast new frontier, is being born in blood and fire.

Independent settlers stand against the overwhelming power of a corporate colony ship with only their determination, courage, and the skills learned in the long wars of home. Innocent scientists are slaughtered as they try to survey a new and alien world. The struggle on Ilus threatens to spread all the way back to Earth.

James Holden and the crew of his one small ship are sent to make peace in the midst of war and sense in the midst of chaos. But the more he looks at it, the more Holden thinks the mission was meant to fail.

And the whispers of a dead man remind him that the great galactic civilization that once stood on this land is gone. And that something killed it.

Great. But you know what this book is really about?

That "corporate ship" and the "independent settlers" and just how much assholes people can be to each other when property, life, and liberty are in question.

Seriously, I could not stand this book because it was how much people follow large personalities blindly and how much people are asses to each other.