I will start by saying that I typically do not enjoy sci-fi, but I found it hard to put this book down.
Leviathan Wakes primarily follows the Jim Holden, former military officer turned private captain of water transport ship, and Joe Miller, washed-up detective who doesn’t know he’s past his prime. Holden and his ragtag crew members start an interplanetary war after his ship is attacked. Miller investigates a missing persons case across multiple planets at the center of said war . Together, they discover a more sinister plot to take control of the universe than either of them could have anticipated.
What I appreciated most about this book was that the science felt ground. Authors Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck (together writing Leviathan Wakes under the pen name James S. A. Corey) clearly took their time mapping out the consequences of every science fiction choice that they made. The attention to detail in world-building is commendable. From the growth and development to bones on outer planets to slang that is so unique that it is practically its own language to the effects of high-speed (think multiple Gs) travelling on the body and mind. They thought of everything. The planning and careful dissemination information about their environment (social, geographical, intellectual, technological) makes the whole book a joy to read.
I find oftentimes when I read sci-fi that the problems that characters encounter are often diabolus ex machina. Problems and drama occur out of nowhere and for no reason. With every complication and dramatic turn in Leviathan Wakes, my response was always “Oh hell yeah! How are they going to figure that out” rather than my usual eye roll. I chalk this up to the world building.