Review: Leviathan Wakes (The Expanse, #1) by James S. A. Corey

leviathanwakes1Humanity has colonized the solar system – Mars, the Moon, the Asteroid Belt and beyond – but the stars are still out of our reach.

Jim Holden is XO of an ice miner making runs from the rings of Saturn to the mining stations of the Belt. When he and his crew stumble upon a derelict ship, “The Scopuli,” they find themselves in possession of a secret they never wanted. A secret that someone is willing to kill for – and kill on a scale unfathomable to Jim and his crew. War is brewing in the system unless he can find out who left the ship and why.

Detective Miller is looking for a girl. One girl in a system of billions, but her parents have money and money talks. When the trail leads him to “The Scopuli” and rebel sympathizer Holden, he realizes that this girl may be the key to everything.

Holden and Miller must thread the needle between the Earth government, the Outer Planet revolutionaries, and secretive corporations – and the odds are against them. But out in the Belt, the rules are different, and one small ship can change the fate of the universe.

Goodreads || Booktopia (AUS) || Amazon


The extraordinarily talented, and equally creative, due behind the pen name ‘James S. A. Corey’ have constructed a true science fiction masterpiece — George R. R. Martin is not wrong in describing “Leviathan Wakes” as a ‘kickass space opera’. I bought this book spontaneously after watching the trailer for the book’s television adaption on SyFy a month or so ago. The Expanse (the television series’ title, and the overall title for the books) looks incredible, though before I intend to watch the series, I wanted to read the book first. And that would honestly have to be the best decision I have ever made, because…

THIS BOOK IS DOWNRIGHT INCREDIBLE/AMAZING/FANTASTIC/MIND-BLOWINGLY-AWESOME! No, seriously. This book would have to be one of my favourite science fiction books of all time. Actually, perhaps my absolute favourite. I have never read a book (of any genre) that made me literally sit on the edge of my seat as I continued to venture further and further into its world.

When I was writing about my reading experience with “Leviathan Wakes” on Instagram earlier in the week, I had somebody comment asking whether or not this would be a good science fiction book to read, especially if someone hadn’t had a lot of previous experience with the science fiction genre beforehand. My answer: hell yes! This book is the perfect introduction into the science fiction genre, whilst also a wonderful and mind-blowing read for any long time science fiction fan. The writing is easy to read, the occasional ‘technobabble’ is relatively easy to understand, and there is so much action packed into each chapter that you won’t want to put this book down. (In fact, you’ll probably be exactly like me: waking up early just start off your day with this amazing read. Who cares if you’re late for work? Haha.)

The narrative is equally split between the two main characters James Holden and Joe Miller, but everything is written in third person. Initially, going into this book, I thought that this would make it kind of jarring. However, it is incredible how these two authors managed to make the two narratives fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. The two storylines (which, at first, seem as though they have nothing to do with one another) come together and produce a much larger storyline that encompasses Earth, Mars, the Asteroid Belt, and everything in-between and beyond.

Though, not only is the action incredibly written, but so are the vast cast of characters. Personally, I loved the character of Joe Miller (and I cannot wait to see this character come to life on my television screen). There is something so beautifully tragic about this character — especially when it comes to the investigation of the disappearance of Julie Mao. Throughout the course of this novel, Miller has gradually become one of my all time favourite literary characters. Ever. His character is three-dimensional, life-like.

And this can be said about the other characters of “Leviathan Wakes” as well. Each character is wonderfully developed. I want to climb aboard Holden’s ship, the Rocinante, alongside Naomi, Alex and Amos. I want to be a revolutionary with Fred Johnson. I want to go on an investigation with Miller. These are characters whose motivations and agendas may seem unclear in the beginning; yet, their passion and determination become so evident as each chapter progresses.

I would, without a doubt, read this book again. And again. And again, and again. After finishing this book earlier in the week, I experienced the biggest bookish hangover in history. I’m talking bigger than Lady Midnight. I wanted to continue onwards with the rest of the series, but at the same time I didn’t want to rush through it. Instead, I have decided to savour this series. Read it slowly. And appreciate its absolute epic-ness.



I am thinking that sometime during the next few weeks — depending on whether I have enough time (thanks university, thanks work) — I will write a post that discusses this book more in depth. Because there is so much that I want to discuss about this book (especially in regards to Miller and the rest of the characters), but I don’t want to give away spoilers in this review. Hopefully I’ve have that up some time soon!

2 thoughts on “Review: Leviathan Wakes (The Expanse, #1) by James S. A. Corey

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