The undisputed king of book series with titles and cover images that have nothing to do with the book itself is back. And goddamn I forgot how much I love this series until it was in my hands again.
The previous novel in this now 8 book series really put a damper on things. Just when everyone thought a truce had been reached, Laconia decided to jump in, guns blazing, with technology superior enough to dominate all human space. Many months later, Holden is still captive on Laconia, Chrisjen has died, Amos is missing, and Naomi, Bobbie, and Alex are running and gunning trying to keep the underground resistance alive.
Little do they know, the odds are about to shift in their favor.
Wrath spends most of its time with two side characters. Elvi, who I completely forgot from one of the earlier books. And Teresa, the daughter to the dictator of Laconia. And their storylines are rightfully the more interesting in the novel. Elvi is knee deep in the exploration of the ancient race that created the ring gates. And what killed them. Her story is partially frustrating because she is dealing with universe ending discoveries and everyone else is still fighting over who runs humanity. Which is squarely where Teresa is. The heir to the Laconian empire, she slowly discovers more truths about herself and her life. And she doesn’t like what she sees.
Tiamat’s Wrath works off the assumption that Laconia is a bad thing. But I think the novel forgot to remind us enough why they are the bad guy. Sure, they are a little authoritarian, true. But so were the governing bodies of Earth and Mars. It’s honestly a little bit like Game of Thrones. Hey Westeros, we have the best stuff (dragons), we need to rule right now so that we can defeat the army of the dead coming at us. Naomi and Alex’s little fight for liberty among the stars seems naive when humanity clearly needs to pool it’s resources under one banner right now. Because the protomolecule is doing weird stuff again and they are not close to figuring it out and it might kill them all.
The novel is well written and a welcome return to the world of The Expanse. Engaging ship combat, intense science fiction tech and debate – it’s time to get nerdy. It’s a little more setup for the final novel than I want, but it doesn’t mean I have any idea where it’s going to go. And that’s just fine with me.
3 out of 4 stars.