These books are just a hair too short to really get your mind into the Expanse mode. They’re almost best read rapidly after finishing the novel that directly precedes it, so that you’re already ‘there’ and don’t waste any time. In that sense, I read it in the wrong order, because I didn’t realize that it existed until after I finished Leviathan Falls.
That being said, knowing the ending of that book makes the story of Auberon (and every other Ring Gate world) that much more resonant, in a way?
Auberon introduces us to a character that I had very recently encountered (Erich, just a season back in the TV show) on a new planet where Laconia is attempting to establish their form of rigid, no bends order. But you know what they say about those that don’t bend…
Our protagonist (antagonist?) is a newly minted Governor sent to establish the rule of law on a planet with strategic importance but a bit of lawlessness as well. It’s all very non-Core planet in the Firefly universe vibe, except instead of quippy space cowboys we have…sardonic space dons.
It’s interesting how at the outset I was pulling, a little, for Governor Rittenaur and his attempts at stamping out corruption. While his rationale is warped (he’s…a conqueror and a colonizer) that there is grift on Auberon is undeniable.
But in a world (here a literal world, but equally applicable to many cities/countries/ethnic groups/racial groups/etc/etc in our world) (it’s almost like…the same issues in our world…still exist in space…) where there’s no guarantee that following the rules will get you results, why not try to carve out a slightly criminal enterprise that nevertheless largely takes care of a city’s denizens?
It’s not a real secret that the ending will be a Sophie’s Choice/Warped Gift of the Magi type affair, and while I can’t remember all the pieces I do remember the overall sense and look into the Expanse universe. And I will take as many of those as I can