Or why you could read Leviathan Wakes
by James SA Corey
Leviathan Wakes is a good 'ol fashion space opera. It tells the story of a future solar system where humanity has escaped Earth's gravity well and begun colonizing some of the other rocks orbitting the sun. The vast majority of humanity lives down a gravity well on either Earth or Mars, which are distinct nation states locked in a state of dubious truce or active cold war. Meanwhile the asteroids of the belt are also colonized by a loosely affiliated band of rugged Belters living on the edge of survival and burning with a revolutionary spirit. It is in this environment that an ice mining ship is attacked by a mysterious warship and destroyed when answering a distress call for Scopuli, a Belter freighter. Jim Holden, the surviving XO, resolves to avenge his ship and to find out why someone would kill to conceal the Scopuli. Meanwhile, Detective Miller, a hard nosed cop working on the asteroid Ceres, is sent on a routine mission to find the missing daughter of wealthy clients, a missing daughter with revolutionary fervor and a berth on the Scopuli. In their hunt for answers these men will uncover a grand conspiracy that threatens the fragile peace of the solar system and may alter the very fate of humanity.
Leviathan Wakes is a Science Fiction quilt built from archetypes and familiar tropes and action sequences. It mostly functions as a fun action adventure novel built with a few pleasantly heady Sci-fi concepts and generous dollop of the Science Fiction zeitgeist. It is by no means a challenging novel, but it's fun in a kind of turn-the-brain-down kind of way: the pages will keep turning and enough exciting stuff happened to keep me invested. It's Sci-fi novel comfort food.
But it is far from a perfect book. For one it is really predictable and familiar: it's comforting quilt-iness also makes it really easy to accurately project major points and developments to most Sci-fi fans. Even worse, there are moments where characters do unbelievable stupid and contrived things for no reason other than to advance the plot. And then there are the radioactive space zombies. Actually.
I very nearly rage quit the book on a few occasions.
But I didn't! For whatever reason, despite moments of infuriating stupidity, I found myself largely enjoying the novel. I even found myself sufficiently invested that by the time Leviathan Wakes ended I was curious enough about where the story is going that I pretty much immediately bought the next novel in the series. It's not a great book, but it's fun.
Would I recommend Leviathan Wakes to you? Well, if you are only going to read a few books this year, no. There are far too many great classic and brand new Sci-fi novels to read something so derivative. However, if you are the kind of person who reads twenty or more novels in a year and want something fun and fluffy between more challenging books, then yeah, Leviathan Wakes could by the comfort food Space Opera you are looking for.
Post by Michael Bround