10 June 2019

Review: The Expanse: Abaddon's Gate by James S.A. Corey

Trade paperback, 569 pages
Published 2013

Acquired October 2016
Read December 2018
Abaddon's Gate: Book Three of The Expanse
by James S.A. Corey

I continue to enjoy reading The Expanse. It might not have the literary complexity of, say, the Ancillary series, but Corey's prose is effectively straightforward, the story is interesting and moves in unexpected directions, the characters are (mostly) well drawn, and the themes are more complex than a book of this type arguably requires. Do you like book about interesting, mostly well-meaning, people doing things in space? Then this is the book for you, and it's definitely the book for me. Parts of Abaddon's Gate make it the strongest Expanse novel yet: a real sense of scale and the unknown, and the complexity of the characters of Rachel and Melba. I liked Rachel a lot; she's in an action series, but her power as person doesn't come from her combat abilities, but her ability to talk to others empathetically. It's very well done, and I hope she pops up again in future installments.

Parts of Abaddon's Gate also make it the weakest Expanse novel yet: the crew of the Rocinante, aside from Holden, are sidelined for much of the book. That's not necessarily a fault of the book, but of my expectations; they're the main characters of the tv show, but they were never the main characters in the novels. It's interesting how the point-of-view characters rotate. Book one gave us Holden and Miller; book two Holden, Avasarala, Draper, and Meng; and now book three Holden, Bull, Rachel, and Melba. Holden is the constant but everyone else changes. But Naomi, Amos, and Alex are never among the point-of-view characters; it's not them who have the emotional arcs, so why would I see a lot of them? Still, I want to, and I hope book four uses them more than this book did. The other thing that bothered me is that Bull is interesting at first, but kind of fades in interest as the novel proceeds; he felt like he was selected as a POV character for plot reasons, not because the character himself was intrinsically interesting. (Also, isn't it odd that most of the "good" OPA characters are not native Belters? It feels very "white savior" in an allegorical sense.)

So, altogether a quick read despite its length that kept me interested and also has me interested for the next book. Good twists and turns, and interesting challenges.

No comments:

Post a Comment