Prior to getting into this book, I should point out that this is a review of the fifth book in an ongoing series called The Expanse. I’ll just summarize for you by saying t’s an awesome, space opera series that I’d recommend to anyone. I will try not to spoil anything from this or previous books, but I’m only human, sasa ke?
While the predecessor to this book, Cibola Burn, was dark, this book is really dark. A problem with an ongoing series is that you get the feeling that your main characters are going to make it through (unless it’s George R.R. Martin). For the first time in this series, I really was worried about the crew of the Rocinante. Not only that, I was worried about the fate of humanity in general in real life. As the official publisher hype for the book stated:
Terrorist attacks previously considered impossible bring the inner planets to their knees. The sins of the past are returning to exact a terrible price.
Without saying more than that as to the specifics, I’ll tell you what the book feels like. After an unexpected massive terrorist attack is successful, the book very accurately captures the confusion, aimlessness, panic, anger, loss, and dread that comes next. Most disheartening to me is how quickly civilization devolves. Maybe reading this at the same time as a 9/11-related non-fiction book wasn’t the best idea for my summer.
This one feels like a real shift in the series, which makes sense because I believe the writers expect nine or ten books total. They have me in a Thronesian place in which I want to know what happens next, but I also kind of don’t.