If you haven’t heard of The Expanse series by now, you probably aren’t a fan of science fiction and never will be. But I implore you, if you’re thinking about getting into it, do it.
This is the seventh (!!) book in the series, which I have recently found out is going to top out at 9 total novels. It is undeniably one of the most readable and original sci-fi series out there, in that it’s essentially a great tv show in the later seasons. Is it past it’s prime? Yes. Have the characters gone through enough trauma to kill eighteen Teddy Roosevelt’s? By far. But you stick with it because goddammit you love it you sick bastard don’t you?
Thankfully, we have a time jump here. Thirty years since the events of the previous novel and Holden and crew are still kicking. How old are they now? The authors refuse to say, but I’m pretty sure they are in their fucking seventies. Which is fine, this is sci-fi, but you have to give me a breakdown of how long humans can live in this universe. Some crazy medication or vitamin supplement that keeps us strong and youthful. And don’t take the cop out of having done it in a previous novel. I read that over a year ago, refresh me.
Earth has nominally recovered from the almost planet ending attack it suffered earlier. The Belters have firm control of the Ring trade union and control all interstellar commerce. And everyone seems to have forgotten the traitorous factions of the Martian navy that broke free to found the planet of Laconia. But the Laconians have decided to come back, with a serious Cesar complex in tow.
They’ve got a few tricks up their sleeve, in the form of protomolecule designed ships, and time-space continuum wrecking weapons.
And as usual, Holden and crew are smack dab in the middle of it.
There’s a couple new perspectives in this one. Of special note is Captain Singh, a Laconian tasked with holding Medina Station as Bobbie Draper turns it into her personal terrorist nightmare. His descent into cruelty is fun to read because you understand his emotions and how they lead him. His narrative arc has a particularly satisfying end.
Otherwise it’s the same Expanse you know and love. There’s a few decent twists and a little more sci-fi action that felt missing from previous novels. It’s nice to have a new, clear baddie to deal with. But hopefully the next books do away with most of the plot armor and give us more answers on the aliens who started this whole journey.
3 out of 4 stars.