Babylon's Ashes by James S.A. Corey
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Somehow, I feel the further along the Expanse universe gets, the more backwards it seems to fall. The first introduction showed us a dazzling, living solar system populated with factions, personalities, nations and technology, coexisting, fighting, exploiting, and most of all, alive. The interstellar distances were too huge and too immense for a convenient plot device to navigate; Epstein drives were a necessary evil but one that made sense. The introduction of a protomolecule to Julie Mao was an instance of first contact so strange and frightening, it felt truly alien.
Then the books progressed, the Gate opened, and all of mankind's struggles seemed tiny and pointless in the face of something far greater, a whole new universe, a chance to discover and explore something on a far greater scale.
Then the Gate closed.
That's what it feels like now - there's still stuff happening, but by focusing on the struggle between humans, still caught in the same system, might be an ode to humanity's, ah, humanity, but compared to what was opened up earlier - feels small, pointless, and petty.
In the face of what could be happening, it feels very precious.
And I hated the deux ex machina added on to complete the story - it was stupid, improperly and incompletely explained, and just felt like a cheap cop-out compared to everything else that had happened before. It's still a fascinating universe, just the storyline sucked.
View all my reviews