Reviews

Caliban's War, by James S.A. Corey

yvonnekins's review

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adventurous lighthearted fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

3.0

bookexplorer's review against another edition

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4.0

Count on Corey if you're looking for a creepy space adventure with amazing characters and a couple of good laughs.

I'm a sucker for books with great characters, and Caliban's War only strengthened my love for the characters and their bonds. Not only that, but we got some pretty stellar (heh) new characters as well. I absolutely loved Avasarala and Bobbie, and I really hope they play prominent roles in the next book. The plot was also pretty neat as well- I've loved the creepiness and horror from book one and Corey does not disappoint here. But most of all, the ending sealed the deal for me for me. I won't say any spoilers, but I will most definitely be buying book three in the near future.

robynldouglas's review against another edition

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5.0

Five stars because this was just a thrill-a-minute book. Wonderful additions to the cast of characters and a deepening of the political situation from Leviathan Wakes. AND THE ENDING! (It is hard to not immediately pick up the next book. So hard.)

emilm124's review

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adventurous mysterious tense fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0


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haldoor's review against another edition

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5.0

Caliban's War starts off where Leviathan Wakes ended in the first book of The Expanse series, and it's just as gripping as the first. The Protomolecule hasn't stopped, even though Holden thought they'd destroyed all of it except a small sample held in safe-keeping by a trusted friend and ally - or is he?

The crew of the Rocinante find themselves heading into more danger as it becomes obvious that the Protomolecule is still causing problems. We also meet Gunnery Sergeant Bobbie Draper of the Martian Marines, who has seen something of what the alien 'life-form' has become; Chrisjen Avarasala, a politician working for the UN, who is determined to do the right thing despite the odds stacked against her; and Praxidite Meng, a botanist from Ganymede where the latest trouble starts. Prax is just trying to find his lost immune-compromised daughter, who should have been in daycare on Ganymede when everything went crazy.

The way this is written is astoundingly good - as I knew it would be after reading the first book. The action moves naturally and with speed, but there's time enough to get to know all the wonderful characters. They're a hybrid bunch - people of many races and from a mix of Earth, Mars and Belter societies, and the attention to this mix never feels forced or 'token'. They all work perfectly with whom each character is and what they're doing where they are. I like that although there is a little sexism here, it's not a usual 'white male' perspective that acts as if it's normal and to be accepted; rather it's a true view from each of the characters' perspective of what they have experienced, and a part of the story as much as the hidden agendas behind the Earth politicians and scientists who are attempting to control the Protomolecule is - something that's wrong, but part of the human condition that people have to deal with.

And deal with it they do, in the most interesting and thrilling way. There's time for a little romance too, a lot of friendship, and there's finding family too, both in Prax's search and in the Roci's crew discovering their connections and how important that makes what they have together.

Brilliantly done, and definitely to be added to my favourites list. I can't wait to read Book Three!

jpv0's review against another edition

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5.0

It’s not healthy having God sleeping right there where we can all watch him dream.


After the events of Leviathan Wakes, the protomolecule is just hanging on doing strange things on Venus... or is it?

It grabbed an UN Marine in its huge hands and tore him in half like paper. Titanium-and-ceramic armor ripped as easily as the flesh inside, spilling broken bits of technology and wet human viscera indiscriminately onto the ice. The remaining five soldiers ran even harder, but the monster chasing them barely slowed as it killed.


Turns out it's not just on Venus anymore.

Caliban's War picks up where Leviathan Wakes left off, with tensions high between Earth/Mars/the Belters and an alien presence. There's another lost girl who has to be found (hopefully this isn't a trend throughout the entire series) and more things going horribly badly wrong.

Worldbuildingwise, the outer reachers of the solar system in general and the moon of Ganymede being made into a breadbasket are interesting. It continues to look like something we could very well see in a century or two.

On top of that, the protomolecule is doing all sorts of interesting things to Venus on one hand and has been weaponized on the other. Both are fascinating developments and make me want to keep reading just to see what will happen next. Although the former isn't actually that core to the plot, there are strong hints that it will be in the next book in line.

Characterwise, we have more Holden and his crew, which is fine. I still don't care overly much for Holden himself; it is interesting seeing him grow--especially his relationship with Naomi. And I like the crew. Amos in particularly is amusing to read.

Beyond that, we have a handful of new supporting characters but two new main characters. First, Chrisjen Avasarala.

“The same thing as always. Try to keep civilization from blowing up while the children are in it.”


She's a government official from Earth who's something of a power behind the throne--and a little old lady with quite a mouth on her. It's interesting seeing more of the political structure of the solar system, even if most of it involves Avasarala yelling at people.

Next, Martian Marine Bobbie Draper.

“Good, because I don’t use sex as a weapon,” Bobbie said. “I use weapons as weapons.”


She's a straight forward soldier who's seen some pretty terrible things (in the prologue) and gotten thrown head first into politics. I like seeing her opinion on things and she does a lot to flesh out parts of the world we hadn't seen before--for a solar system at war, she's the first point of view active soldier.

Finally, Prax Meng. He's a botanist on Ganymede whose daughter has been kidnapped in the midst of everything going wrong. He's a bit single tracked and annoying to read. Given that his daughter--literally his entire family--has been kidnapped, it's understandable, but that doesn't make him any easier to read.

Overall, a solid sequel. We're definitely in the thick of a series now with big cliff hangers at the end of each book, but that's workable.

catsutherland's review

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adventurous challenging dark mysterious tense fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.5

timgreenard's review

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medium-paced

4.0

kateofmind's review against another edition

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4.0

Almost five stars. Might change my mind. Still recovering from the happy surprise at the end. Actual write-up soon on zee blog.

shellbellbell's review against another edition

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4.0

Better than the first book - a good balance of political intrigue and sci fi action. Much better on the female characters front as well. However, Holden is still as irritatingly earnest, self-righteous, and oblivious as ever. Oh well, on to the next one!