Leviathan Wakes by James S A Corey

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Leviathan Wakes by James S A Corey

Buy Leviathan Wakes by James S A Corey at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: Science Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Becky Hazlett
Reviewed by Becky Hazlett
Summary: Enjoyable and very readable space opera mystery in which inter-planetary conflicts are seen through the eyes of a few individuals, who grow on you.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 576 Date: June 2011
Publisher: Orbit
ISBN: 978-1841499888

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Humanity has managed to venture into the solar system and colonise Mars, various moons and some asteroids and stations in the (asteroid) Belt between Mars and Jupiter. Those inhabiting the Belt have evolved to be significantly thinner and elongated compared to Earthers and Martians, due the low gravity in which they live; their difference in appearance and a difference in attitude form the basis for a lot of the tension and uneasy relationships in the novel.

Through alternate chapters, the novel follows the experiences of two characters: Holden and Miller. Holden, the more obvious hero, captains a small band of surviving crewmembers following a mysterious attack on his water-hauling spaceship, the Canterbury; Miller, the more complex character of the two, is a 'Belter' detective on the trail of a missing girl somehow connected to the attack. Holden is doing his own investigating and when he openly broadcasts a discovery, it threatens to disrupt the precarious peace between superpowers Earth and Mars, and the OPA (outer planets alliance).

The above brief outline of the plot might sound a bit political but it's easy to follow. There is also not so much of the techie nonsense that I had expected about how spaceships and weapons work, which is nice but on the other hand, means I'm a little less convinced by it. The novel is more concerned with relatively ordinary people who get caught up in the centre of something of great importance and how they respond to it. They find themselves holding all the power and influence but don't exactly know what to do with it or how to play it at first, generating sympathy from the reader as they make tough moral decisions.

When I first started to read the novel I have to admit, I wasn't overly impressed; I think it took a while to establish the background and longer to get to know the characters and to care, however, it was also very easy to keep reading, so Corey must have been doing something right. The prologue was sufficiently disturbing to make me want to read on and find out what it meant although it took a while to get there. Mystery plays a large part in the novel which becomes more exciting as it develops. The split narrative builds up the tension and suspense as the two main characters are drawn leisurely but inevitably closer to each other until their narratives almost overlap.

It's well written, not at all predictable and has flashes of humour, particularly in the interaction between Holden's crew members. Lots of action; guns, battles in space and on the ground, kidnappings, rioting etc to keep you entertained. The incomprehensible dialects of some Belters are a nice touch, adding depth to the novel as a whole. I also like the descriptions of the effects of travelling under different strengths of gravity.

I ended up enjoying Leviathan even if it was a little bit unbelievable.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

For great characters in another action-packed space opera, you might try The Algebraist by Iain M Banks.

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Buy Leviathan Wakes by James S A Corey at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Leviathan Wakes by James S A Corey at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Leviathan Wakes by James S A Corey at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Leviathan Wakes by James S A Corey at Amazon.com.


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