A review by singalana
Leviathan Wakes, by James S.A. Corey

adventurous dark tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated


From the back cover of this book: “Praise for the expanse: “The future they way it was supposed to be.” - Wall Street Journal”. Hell, if this is Wall Street Journal’s idea of what the future is supposed to look like, then sign me OUT. Oh boy, where to begin with this one. The main feeling after finishing this book was confusion. Maybe it was too smart for me, or perhaps this is just the prelude to the series. But this book is over 500 pages long, and I felt like I ended up with more questions than I started with.

This is a space warfare sci-fi and a detective story rolled in one. The story follows two characters: Jim Holden, an ice miner who stumbles on a dangerous secret, and detective Miller, who has been tasked with finding a girl and bringing her home. The story takes these characters through all kinds of trouble as they navigate governments, organisations and corporations in order to save humanity.

As you might imagine, this story is extremely action packed, and the stakes are always high. Even so much so that it becomes exhausting at times. The characters feel very flat to me, and so much more could have been done to develop their personalities and made them stand out a bit more. I just read 500 pages of them, and I would struggle to write one sentence about who they are as a person. 

The writing was okay. The events were partly confusing but I’m not sure if I can pin that on the writing or if I just don’t understand space warfare enough to be able to follow. The plot and events were confusing, but I’m hoping that more will be revealed after the first book. After this book I’m still interested enough to give the next one a try.

One thing that bothered me about this book was how much there were casual mentions of hookers, brothels and prostitutes. And they all seemed to be women. You’d think that if they wanted to display a gritty hellscape, then there would be at least a variety of prostitutes. The women in this book appeared to be either prostitutes, victims or love interests, especially during the first half of the book. It got slightly better in the second half, perhaps due to the fact that none of the characters had time to think about brothels anymore. 

And I read more sentences about the main characters' balls than I would have liked.

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