I can absolutely see why the series had to end with this book, and I can see why they adapted things they way they did, and I can see why the next books have a time skip forward. I really do understand, I am a reasonable mature adult.
But. But but but.
I just wanted more? MORE.
Babylon’s Ashes is the culmination of six books that ask a different sort of sci-fi question. Unlike authors like Becky Chambers or series like Star Trek, which ask, “How humanity could be, but in space,” Expanse shows us, “how humanity is, but in space.” It’s an infuriating, upsetting, depressing answer most of the time, shot through with moments of grace and hope. It’s realizing that we can build Epstein drives to power us to the rings of Saturn but use them to send resources to the highest bidder. It’s realizing that we might have a common enemy but the chance of gaining a shiny weapon can bring out all of our old tribal in-fighting.
I could talk at length, too, at how authors Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck renewed my faith in the ability of white male authors to write strong, flawed, central female characters. Naomi, Avasarala, the-multiple-characters-who-make-up-one-Drummer, Anna, BOBBIE–they’re not just one note Strong Women, they’re interesting characters who happen to be women and from different cultures of the universe with differing viewpoints and motivations. Some of them are good, some are bad, some are self-serving. It’s massively refreshing.
And I could also talk at length at how amazing a job the TV adaptation was, which makes sense in this review because said adaptation was done hand in hand with the authors. I won’t, because I’m already a million words in and I haven’t even talked about this book, but I will say that there are a handful of changes Drummer which Drummer make Drummer the DRUMMER TV DRUMMER adaptation DRUMMER in DRUMMER my DRUMMER DRUMMER opinion better DRUMMER DRUMMER DRUMMER DRUMMER.
What is there to be said of a book that is a culmination of an arc five books in the making, which does a fantastic job of finishing said arc while also driving you to read the next three books? All I can say is that these are some of my favorite books of all time, and everyone should read them. A small spoiler-y tag for one of my small bits that I think was done quite a bit better in the book than in the TV show, partially because that’s what you can do in a book: [the cadence of Naomi figuring out how to use the Dutchman properties of the rings to destroy Marcos’ fleet was done so well–while the show had to sort of rush the whole process, the book was able to lay the crumbs of the discovery bit by bit over so many pages that the realization felt very earnt.]