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Leviathan Wakes (The Expanse #1)

Leviathan Wakes - James S.A. Corey

As promised, more detailed thoughts about my like, not love, of this book, in descending order. Just as a warning, this review will not make sense unless you've read the book, so I guess that makes me an asshole (SPOILERS AHOY):


STUFF I REALLY LIKED: . . . well this seems to be the problem. I thought for sure I would at least have one thing to put in this category, but it turns out I don't. Everything I liked about the book, I just liked. No strong emotions or attachments to characters, situations, or events in the novel whatsoever.


STUFF I LIKED: I liked Holden and his crew on the Rocinante, especially when they were first on the run. His crew is also just really likable, even if the characterization for everyone but Holden and Miller was pretty shallow. I could also appreciate the way that Ty Franck and Daniel Abraham (the joint authors behind the penname James S.A. Corey) built up their world. There was a vast amount of detail that really brought it to life, even if I was mostly uninspired by the results. I liked this as an audiobook -- in fact, because it was an audiobook my chances of actually pushing through the yick parts grew exponentially. Not sure I could have made it through this whole thing very fast if I was reading a hard copy.


STUFF THAT TERRIFIED ME: The vomit zombies. Holy shit. The alien doomsday device, the giant pulsating being that controls the Eros space station. That time Holden and Miller got irradiated to shit and almost died. That fucking molecule taking over an entire planet. The realities of space travel. Julie Mao's desiccated corpse. Basically everything.


STUFF I DIDN'T LIKE: Miller spends almost the entire book searching for a missing girl named Julie Mao, and when he finds her she's dead. He then proceeds to fall in love with her. I get the impulse behind Miller falling in love with the ghost of Julie Mao, I really do, but I still find it way creepy. He was an old fuck with murder issues, and she was a young girl who was dead. Sure she was representative of everything he'd ever lost in his life, but that doesn't make it not creepy as hell. Also creepy? Holden having four mothers and five fathers -- no, literally, it was a genetic soup up in there. And I find it completely implausible. I also thought the novel was about 100 pages too long. Towards the end, I was just like, come on, get it over with already.


IT'S JUST NOT MY THING: The book was split evenly between alternating POVs of Miller (old Belter detective on his way out, in every sense of the phrase) and Holden (idealistic ship captain from Earth who gets pulled into a situation way over his head and proceeds to start a war out of his good intentions). Almost all of Miller's chapters. I just found Miller to be exceptionally uninteresting as a hero, even if I could see the point of him conceptually. So dour and dark. So creepy with his love of young Julie Mao. If Holden was the maruading space hero, Miller was the space noir detective, and I'm just not that into noir. Exploring seedy underbellies makes my skin crawl in the bad way. I also acknowledge that the Belter lingo was accurate in terms of worldbuilding, but it was seriously annoying in practice -- same goes with the Belters/Inners war. Like, okay I get it. People suck even hundreds of years in the future.


With all of that said, I am interested in seeing how all of this plays out, which should be obvious by the fact that I'm currently listening to book two. For other, more eloquent thoughts, Ceridwen's review would do nicely.