Tag Archives: space opera

Review of Leviathan Wakes (The Expanse #1), by James S.A. Corey

I borrowed a copy of James Corey‘s Leviathan Wakes from my local library.

Book Description:
Humanity has colonized the solar system – Mars, the Moon, the Asteroid Belt and beyond – but the stars are still out of our reach.

Jim Holden is XO of an ice miner making runs from the rings of Saturn to the mining stations of the Belt. When he and his crew stumble upon a derelict ship, the Scopuli, they find themselves in possession of a secret they never wanted. A secret that someone is willing to kill for – and kill on a scale unfathomable to Jim and his crew. War is brewing in the system unless he can find out who left the ship and why.

Detective Miller is looking for a girl. One girl in a system of billions, but her parents have money and money talks. When the trail leads him to the Scopuli and rebel sympathizer Holden, he realizes that this girl may be the key to everything.

Holden and Miller must thread the needle between the Earth government, the Outer Planet revolutionaries, and secretive corporations – and the odds are against them. But out in the Belt, the rules are different, and one small ship can change the fate of the universe.

Review:
This was so good, you guys! I mean really good. I found the writing snappy, the humor on point, the banter witty, the diversity appreciable (even if the only significant female characters were the love interest and girl in need of rescue), and the moral quandary interesting. I liked the way the Belters’ and Inners’ cultures were notably different in ways that caused conflict; two men could do the right thing and it would be different things in the same situation.

There were a few leaps of logic that were maybe a bit too drastic to believe and the characters seemed to solve complex problems with relative ease. But all in all, I basically fell in love with them and can’t wait to get my hands on more of the series.

Review of Medusa Uploaded (The Medusa Cycle #1), by Emily Devenport

I borrowed a copy of Emily Devenport‘s Medusa Uploaded from my local library.

Description from Goodreads:
The Executives control Oichi’s senses, her voice, her life. Until the day they kill her.

An executive clan gives the order to shoot Oichi out of an airlock on suspicion of being an insurgent. A sentient AI, a Medusa unit, rescues Oichi and begins to teach her the truth—the Executives are not who they think they are. Oichi, officially dead and now bonded to the Medusa unit, sees a chance to make a better life for everyone on board.

As she sets things right one assassination at a time, Oichi becomes the very insurgent the Executives feared, and in the process uncovers the shocking truth behind the generation starship that is their home.

Review:
I thought that this was basically ok, but it didn’t blow me away. I liked a lot of the characters, I greatly appreciated the diversity and that women played a big role in the revolution (even if they played almost none in the power structure of society), and I thought the whole thing had an interesting premise.

But from the blurb and cover I’d thought Oichi would be an actual worm and I was disappointed to find that was just a particular human slur. Further, since Oichi seemed to be able to tap into all technologies and impersonate anyone, I felt that everything happened far too easily. And that without considering how no one on her team turned out to be duplicitous, everyone she trusted turned out to be trustworthy (even children). How lucky that is.

Lastly, though I know the music played an important role, all the music references got tiresome. I was also skeptical about how they’re all contemporary. How many generations in the future and Bach, Holst, and Louis Armstrong are still the go-to composers? The movies references are all from modern-ish times too. After a while I found the references anachronistic. Surely the Earth that these generation ships departed from (or wherever) had written at least something new that was worth remembering.

Review of Of Treasons Born (The Treasons Cycle #1), by J.L. Doty

I picked up a copy of J.L. Doty‘s Of Treasons Born from the book exchange shelf at a local cafe.

Description from Goodreads:
As a lifer in the Imperial Navy fighting in a war that has lasted for generations, York Ballin’s only hope for an honorable discharge is the grave. But what events led up to his reluctant enlistment? What spawned York’s almost fanatic loyalty to his friends–and his doubts regarding the imperial uniform he once wore with such pride?

York rarely recalls his childhood, which began with a mystery and ended at age eleven when he was given a harsh choice: Join the navy or face certain death on a prison asteroid. The navy has its own code of justice, but a youngster with curiosity and grit is able to rise in the ranks . . . if he’s given a fair shot.

A few rigorous years later, as a newly commissioned ensign, York is assigned to the hunter-killer ship The Fourth Horseman. But when an unexpected foe kills his superior officer and leaves the crew stranded in enemy territory, the young ensign must do whatever he can to save the ship–even if it means he’ll be court-martialed for treason.

Review:
This started off fairly well, with an 11-year-old sentenced to life on a mining asteroid for a crime he was coerced into participating in. Thus starts York’s lifetime of being strong-armed into things.

The book progressed well for a while, as we watch York find his feet in the adult world. But then, about halfway through, the whole pace and tone of the book changed. Suddenly, where we’d followed the day-to-day minutia of York’s life, whole months and then years passed in mere sentences. “The next year he X, Y and Z,” for example. Until the book ends at one seemingly random point. Yeah, there’d been a little bit of an upswing in action and down-shifting in pace, so we followed one actual event for a while, but no questions were answered. No conclusions come to. The book doesn’t culminate into anything.

I’m curious enough to want to know the mystery of York’s birth and why he was being singled out. But I’m annoyed to have to read more for ANY answers. Come one, throw readers a little bone to keep us reading! The fact that nothing was even addressed (York doesn’t know there is a mystery), let alone answered, left this particular book feeling anchoress and random.