Leviathan Wakes

James S. A. Corey
Leviathan Wakes Cover

Leviathan Wakes - Solid SciFi Drama


To me I found that Leviathan Wakes is a foundation novel for the following books in the Expanse series. LW is about relationships, the relationships between people, factions, colonies, and planets. As a result of the constant comparisons between these groups as a major element of the plot this novel is all at once interesting, suspenseful, exciting, and ultimately simplistic. I feel that the authors rely on cliche and a simplistic macro-setup of their galaxy. In some cases a single paragraphs of context is all that is give to lay the stage for that chapters narrative and even this further narrative development may seem like 'stock' storytelling. You get to see some play in the galaxies elements which does develop an effective nascent (if routine) suspense. It is not really until the latter portion of the novel that the storyline truely changes direction into anything unique.

Plot elements of the novel which mingle well include it's adventurousness, relationship dramas, military elements, aliens, zombies, and warring human factions. All said and done this was a very quick read, meaning that it was also a fun ride. There are the odd paragraphs which questioned the situation a little deeper but for the most part this is an easy book for a quick skim through. The author(s) kept the pace up and any lull in the action is punctuated with developing suspense (as predictable as it may have been) and frequent paradigm shifts between Millar and Holden. I enjoyed the Millar sections a little more than the Holden; however, Holden is given the better toys and impacts the larger story more often throughout. Character development is present although I got the picky feeling that Millar and Holden are sort of carried through one situation and onto the next rather than developing in the moment (with exception). It generally seemed that each person is getting flushed out rather than growing. Most of the main character development is saved for the sequel: Caliban's War.

Generally I feel that this novel is mainly a staging for Caliban's War and Abaddon's Gate (obvs.). I am currently about halfway through CW and have noticed marked improvements in the storytelling, the narrative ploys, diplomacy, and as mentioned character development.

I gave this novel 3.5/5 which is a good mark considering the low challenge and general lack of mind bending plot elements. The narrative is well done and some interesting SciFi elements are introduced. The galaxy is believable and complete. It is easy to say this is cliche plot development and forget the steady stream of unique elements and ultimate excitement. Going back in the time in took to read (about 5-6 days) I would definitely read it again. It is a great (and necessary considering the low investment involved) step to get into CW although the two could be read separately.