Thursday, July 5, 2012

Book Review: Caliban's War by James S.A. Corey

Caliban's War, by James S.A. Corey, is an exciting sequel with plenty of combat, political machinations, and some monsters. There are also nice intimate character moments where we get to know some of the characters as more than just chess pieces. And while we see the killer alien protomolecule from Leviathan Wakes continue to stew and evolve on Venus, we don't yet learn much more about it, but it does continue to be a significant threat to the solar system. 

The protomolecule on Venus seems to be affecting events way out on Ganymede, a moon of Jupiter, it's causing political unrest within the solar system - between Earth, Mars, and the fledgling government of the outer system. Jim Holden, from Leviathan Wakes, gets caught up in this political turmoil yet again as he continues his tilting at windmills.

In addition to continuing Holden's story, along with the rest of the crew of the Rocinante, we meet some new people. Prax Meng is a botanist on Ganymede. His 4 year-old daughter, with a compromised immune system, has been kidnapped and he'll do anything to get her back. Chrisjen Avasarala is a UN diplomat, but wields much of the true political power on Earth. And Bobbie Draper, a Martian Marine who, through some unfortunate events on Ganymede, ends up working with Avasarala .

I really enjoy Holden as a character. He's forced into the hero role, and doesn't really know how to do that. As a result, he's pretty much only has one thing he knows to do when he's handed all the information: tell everyone and let them sort out the ramifications themselves. Luckily this time around, there are people around him who help him learn and grow as a character and as a major player in this world. The new characters Bobbie and Avasarala are also quite interesting with great stories. The character of Meng, however, didn't resonate with me. I'm a father, like Meng (though with two girls and boy) - the thought of someone taking one of my kids sickens me, and I'd think I'd relate more to Meng. I felt for his plight and his frustration at not being able to do much, but I didn't take to the character.

That's not a big deal though. On the whole, I loved this book. It's a fantastic follow-up to Leviathan Wakes, and I'm excited for the next installment of the Expanse Series.

(I bought Caliban's War myself for my Nook Color.)

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