Leviathan Wakes

James S. A. Corey
Leviathan Wakes Cover

Leviathan Wakes


Straddling the gulf between noir and sci-fi, with pretensions towards the epic, and a promise of dramatic, Leviathan Wakes filled a much needed hole in my reading schedule this summer—that of the best read of the season, if not the year.

Miller and Holden, each with their human qualms and quirks, more grey than heroic, are just as interesting as the plot they are unraveling and the events they are, however unintentionally, subject to and at the same time causing. They are unwilling actors thrust into the center of the future of intelligent life in the solar system, and they act on the small and personal, for revenge and for vengeance, for justice and for escape. Their personalities are flawed, but the flaws only make them more empathetic.

Leviatan Wakes ranges across the entire spectrum. We meet characters on every level of innocence, power, or peculiarity. From sociopathic scientists concerned with power to military commandos afraid of it, to giant engineering projects that move moons and build city size space ships aimed for generation long trips to distant stars, Leviathan Wakes is full of colorful and credible characters (from powerful megalomaniacs to bottom feeding asteroid dwellers, Mormons headed to stellar colonization, Martian marines, and families that boast several mothers, multiple fathers, but only one off-spring), exotic locations, imaginatively rendered space battles and a plot that never lets up until the final page. Oh, and Corey (which is actually the nom de plume for Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck) even comes up with a whole version of pidgin English spoken after generations of dwelling in the asteroid belt.

It's incredibly creative, and I had a ton of fun reading it.

Leviathan Wakes fulfilled the promises it made, proving to be just as epic as the name sounds, putting just enough emphasis on the science, but never forgetting that it is, first and foremost, a story about people. In the end, it provides what every good space opera should—a sense of wonder. Not only at the vastness of space, of how big it all is, at the immense distances between planets and stars, but also at just how small, weak and amazing life is in all that vastness. It provides a backdrop for both the petty and violent politics of nations, as well as the gallant and noble acts of the individual, a place where great acts can shift the movements of nations, even civilizations.

Not one page loses focus on the story, the real struggles—human and fantastic—of the protagonists. It's a great tale, and I can't wait to pick up its sequel.