expanse

Strange Dogs

Book Review

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 Review

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

Blog

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.

Celebrated.

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 Review

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 Review

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 Review

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 Review

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 Review


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.

Abaddon's Gate

Book Review

This is what you do when you are sick and at home all day: you read. The best sick times, relatively speaking, are when you have good books to read. This book qualifies.

Oh, boy, does this book qualify.

Unlike the first two books in the Expanse series, this book isn't ALL ABOUT HOLDEN, and that makes it both better and worse. Though, really, "worse" is, again, relative, because I still enjoyed this book so much.

This book skips a year or two since the last book, and we very quickly have Holden, Naomi, Amos, and Alex in a pinch. Through out the book we have way more gore than the previous books, more death (mostly glossed over), more puzzles, and, thankfully, a hell of a lot of personal growth that counteracts the power-blinded asses in the book. Of course, we cheer for the sane people, and weep for the deaths of some of the characters we've been following for books. I had a couple points where I had to put the book down.

I'm excited there are two more books to read, with the sixth book in the series coming out in only 6 months.

Of the three books I liked this one the least, which is really saying nothing, because I love and recommend them all. Read them, read them in order.

Caliban's War

Book Review

Well, that didn't take me long to read book two of The Expanse series, which is really unsurprising, given how much I enjoyed the first one.

Reading the second book of a series is often risky literary-wise. In trilogies, book two is usually the boring one. In a longer series, the author (or, in this case, the singular-pen-named authors) usually starts out strong with the first book, stumbles with the second book (*cough* *cough* Dobby, *cough* *cough* loup-garou), and hits a stride with the third (unless you're Jordan, then, well, book 8 is where you fall completely flat on your face).

This particular book two was just as exciting as the first. Without losing any continuity, we are immediately back with Holden and Naomi and Alex and Amos in the Rocinante, off on another "o. m. g. you have the most incredible, and highly plausible, luck imaginable" adventure.

"Adventure"

This is a space opera.

The time frames of the book are similar to those of the Saga of the Seven Suns, but the telling in the time frames isn't as jarring or as boorrrrrrrrrrinnnnnnggggg as that series. You still have days of travel, you still have death from and serious health consequences of high G forces, you still have the fear of immediate death beyond that thin shell of a hull.

This book is much faster paced, much more interesting and much more entertaining. I absolutely f---ing adore Chrisjen Avasaralad and hope we see her again in later books. I was also hoping Bobbie Draper might join the crew of the Rocinante (such a great ship name). We'll see if she shows up in a later book or two.

Zipped through this book as fast as I could. Started the next one, Abaddon's Gate, immediately.

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