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The Expanse Novels - All with Spoilers

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Here is our topic to discuss the books all the way through volume 8, Tiamat's Wrath.  Here there be spoilers!

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I just finished Tiamat's Wrath. I really enjoyed it, though some of the problems were solved a little too easily (explanation in spoilers)  I was satisfied by the resolution, and looking forward to just one more book.

I thought that having Duarte just self destruct was a bit too easy a resolution, though it was brought on by his own hubris. And I never quite understood what happened to the mad scientist doctor. Duarte did something to him to cause him to die, but what exactly? I was surprised to discover that Timothy was Amos, because I had forgotten what happened at the end of the last book. Not sure I like the idea of Zombie Amos (Zamos?) but he seems to be pretty much himself, and I prefer that to dead Amos. Bobbie went out a super hero! Thank heavens the band is back together and in the Rocci by the end. 

 

 

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Phew, finished - all worried that I would miss a massive thread here before I was done 😉

I enjoyed it more than the last three volumes because we're finally getting to the real question: who are the creeps that destroyed the 'Romans' and created the bullets?

This was basically what I had been waiting for ever since 'Cibola Burn'. Occasionally the books started to feel a bit like watching GoT with lots of stupid fights and intrigues while nobody is caring about ice zombies on the march. It always felt pretty idiotic to me to use the ring gates so carelessly (of course you could argue that's human nature) - 'flying through a dragon's mouth' indeed!

I will never not hate game-theory and I was really happy to see that Laconia trying to implement it with the 'angry gods' went haywire beyond imagination.

Losing Bobbie hurt, I thought I had made it without needing any Kleenex but then the call-sign 'Draper Station' came and the flood gates opened. It's been a while that I cried over the death of a fictional character - so, well done!

I loved Alex and Naomi's reunion on the Roci - all the feels! I actually enjoyed that more than Holden and Naomi's reunion. 

I liked Teresa's journey but I hope we're done now with powerful fathers and rebellious daughters. But I'm glad Muskrat made it and the logistics of a dog on a space-ship were addressed, he!

As for Amos: pretty clear he was Timothy and that he would return as Zombie. Neat timing though. But still creepy, like Cara and Xan. I wonder if Elvi becomes some sort of surrogate mother to them now.

Glad we got rid of Cortàzar - the character had served its purpose. Not so sure we're rid of Duarte - he's still around and dangerous. I guess we'll see what happens with him in the last book.

One thing I thought a tad convenient though was the fact that human brains are apparently of sterner stuff than the Romans' equivalent. But there you go. 

Looking forward to the last book!

Edited by MissLucas
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I have to get this off my chest first - Teresa was annoying.  I'm just tired of teen angst showing up seemingly everywhere lately.  I get it, she was raised in a bubble, had no real friends and her father allowed himself to be contaminated with protomolecule.  I wasn't pleased about her leaving poor Muskrat behind, who had been her only friend.   Yes, it would have been a bit much for her to expect the ship to take him too but I was still annoyed.  I'm actually not really sure she's supposed to be terribly sympathetic, though she gets points for rescuing Holden.  

So I was a little wary before reading this because the description talked about Teresa and the fact that Holden was so old.  However, my annoyance with Teresa aside, I really liked this one.

Bobbie's arc was so satisfying and really true to the character.  Of course she would be concerned with the generations growing up under Laconia's rule and would they want to continue the fight?  The detail of most in the resistance being older was a good one.  I could also relate to Bobbie's inner dialogue about "did I make a difference". 

Holden - I found it kind of amazing that he was planting the seeds for Elvi to hopefully take over way back in Persepolis Rising (he tells Duarte to look for her).  Talk about a long game!  I floved when he stepped in front of Muskrat when Ilich threatened to shoot her.  Yes, I'm one of those people. 

I'm glad we still have Amos, even if it's as a sorta zombie. 

My two favorite POVs were Naomi and Elvi.   Naomi taking over as leader of the underground and leading the fleet into Laconia was very well done.  I've always liked Elvi so I enjoyed her here.  Her working the science and interacting with the military were highlights "Send the underground a fruit basket, I don't care" Ha!  I liked how she tried to protect Teresa and I was moved when she let Cara and Xan out of the cage.

On 4/4/2019 at 2:17 PM, Jodithgrace said:

Duarte did something to him to cause him to die, but what exactly?

Somehow he manipulated atoms,  causing his chest to blow out through his back and I think he destroyed half of his head.  I think it's interesting that Duarte is still around and possibly so submerged in the protomolecule world that he doesn't really focus on anything else.  We know he CAN - Teresa got his attention when she told him Cortàzar wanted her dead.  I'm curious what part he will play in the final book.

Avasarala and Bobbie are my two fave characters so I'm sorry to lose them both.  I do think we have a good set up for the final volume.  Holden and Amos both are aware that the aliens are coming for all of humanity and I am so glad to have everyone together, in whatever state they're in. 

I really do appreciate the universe building.  At one point Naomi tells Alex that she likes to see how the air is contained around her, which honestly kind of freaks me out.  Then again, I've never been in space, hee.  It's those details I like, that get me thinking about what living and working in space would be like.  I'd probably still keep my butt down the gravity well 🙂 but I like thinking about the possibilities.

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Thanks for the thread!

I liked it, but I do have some problems with the world building and the plotlines. Mostly though, this is the second or third time whatever problems there are have been solved by the alien whatevers. Laconia gets most of its power destroyed by the anti-ringers, and Duarte is taken off the table completely by the same thing. The evil doctor gets destroyed -- and the power base shifted -- by Duarte using some sort of telekinetic superpower thing he hadn't shown before. Amos is resurrected  by the zombie-making dogs. And given what we've seen of protomolecule technology, I've got no idea how the standard weapons of the Sol system were even able to take out the building platforms. 

On a character front, I didn't love how Trejo, who has been shown as a sort of noble-but-obedient soldier, quickly stepped in to become as Draconian as Duarte. Likewise with Teresa's tutor, who just became bad for no real reason. And I would have liked to have seen what exactly the rebels were rebelling against. The book said that most things were left alone -- the Laconians put in rules, but for the most part the different parts of human civilization were on their own, still. That had been the case since the books began, except with different overlords, so why were so many so eager to force out Laconia? It would have served us to see some reasons for the kind of displeasure that builds a rebellion. Laconia was, in the end, just an extension of Martian philosophy, so i would have liked to see that displayed a bit more -- I would think Duarte and Laconia would be very popular, especially with the chip Mars has always had on its shoulder. 

Also, one of the things Avasarala said when the gates were proven harmless was that this was the end of the dream of Mars -- that the presence of real worlds would take away the idea of terraforming the planet. I would imagine it would have made life in the belt different, too, that they had places with actual sky, oceans and gravity to live. So I wonder how popular the belt remained, even before Laconia. And did Laconia then try to force migrations? Just a bit of the universe it would have been good to get some better understanding for. 

On the plus side, I would not have though Holden had that kind of cruelty in him toward Teresa, but it was a very cool move. I was sort of surprised that there wasn't any Holden/protomolecule/Miller interaction -- with so much of it nearby, Holden would have been a contact point I'm surprised they avoided. I liked Teresa, as sympathetic as they were making her, had the arrogance of a princess. That was a good trait to build in and one that could have been ignored by pushing her one way or the other. 

Bobbie went out well. Original Amos not as much. And as they go into the last book, I've got no idea who they'd ever think to even stand up against someone who could just make a star go black hole. Duarte's idea at the end of Persolopis -- "storm heaven" -- was proven to not only be futile but disastrous. So i don't know what ZombieAmos was suggesting Holden do at the end Tiamat. Humanity's only real chance is to lay as low as they can for a few millennia and hope everyone can just get along. 

None of these are great works of art, but I thought this one felt rushed, like they were relying too much on magic instead of really working out their characters and stories. They needed a book between this one (but they also needed a book between the last one, too). I imagine they're a little tired of the story (can't blame them), but I do hope they take a deep breath and really work at closing it out instead of having unknowable aliens save the say again.  

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A bit disappointed.  Didn't care much for Elvi or Teresa. Duarte was a paper tiger. Not enough Holden. No Miller.

I also figured there would be more ring gate traveling.

They have one book left to wrap this up.  It better be chock full of exposition and not used as a bridge to another series.

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Just started reading the novels (I'm about two-thirds of the way through Leviathan Wakes). I've also read one of the short stories (The Butcher of Anderson Station, which I enjoyed). Has anyone here read the rest of the short stories? Do they mostly flesh out characters we already know from the books like The Butcher of Anderson Station, or are they offshoot stories that introduce new characters?

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8 hours ago, Gillian Rosh said:

Just started reading the novels (I'm about two-thirds of the way through Leviathan Wakes). I've also read one of the short stories (The Butcher of Anderson Station, which I enjoyed). Has anyone here read the rest of the short stories? Do they mostly flesh out characters we already know from the books like The Butcher of Anderson Station, or are they offshoot stories that introduce new characters?

It's a mix:

The Churn provides background on Amos.

The Vital Abyss is about the scientists from Eros, including Cortazar.

Gods of Risk is a Bobbie story; you haven't met Bobbie yet but will in Caliban's War, the second book.

Strange Dogs is about a human family on a different planet from Earth.  What happens in the story provides some background for the later novels.

There's also Drive, about the man who invented the Epstein drive we hear so much about.

Here's an article with a suggested reading order.  I read all of the novellas at once and liked them all to varying degrees (I was least interested in The Vital Abyss) but this may be a help to you.

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Thank you, raven. I'm going to finish Leviathan Wakes, then move on to The Churn before I start Caliban's War.

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Got into the show earlier this year, and now I am catching up on my Expanse reading. So far, I've read

  • Leviathan Wakes
  • Caliban's War
  • The Butcher of Anderson Station
  • The Churn
  • Drive

I've loved all of the above to varying degrees. Leviathan was a bit slow, but once I got into it, I really enjoyed the world building. In Caliban's War, the Bobbie/Chrisjen dynamic was a delight. The Butcher of Anderson Station gave me a fuller picture of Fred Johnson, who is one of my favorite characters. Reading The Churn was hard, but it helps me better understand Amos. And Drive was surprisingly poignant. Just started reading (well, listening to) Abbadon's Gate. I'm only five chapters in, so I'm still setting into the new characters that have been introduced (Bull and Anna). 

I'm just enjoying getting more immersed in this world. 

Edited by Gillian Rosh
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8 hours ago, Gillian Rosh said:

I'm just enjoying getting more immersed in this world. 

I remember  when I started CW and it starts with Mei and Bobbie, I was thinking "who the heck is Bobbie?  where are my characters" and now Bobbie and Chrisjen are my favorite characters.  I love the books to varying degrees (I do have a least favorite); they do a good job of expanding their universe and introducing new people.  Glad you are enjoying it.

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I'm halfway through book seven, after putting it off for the longest time, and honestly it's just depressing me. The passage of something like twenty years since the last book has everyone feeling old, creaky, tired or slowly dying, including the Roci herself.

It just isn't particularly fun to read about all these characters, who I really love, coming to the end of their lives. I know they needed this time jump in order to tell the story of Laconia becoming a threat, but it's not really working for me.

The Laconians simply don't seem menacing enough to be a real concern. They're on a par with the Martians of the early books, when it comes to militarism, and the idea of a single strongman replacing the disparate, committee structures of humanity isn't really grabbing me. I don't know, Duarte just doesn't have the presence (either in terms of his personality and menace, or in terms of actually being in the book) to play the role that Ty and Daniel seem to want him to play.

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From all I hear I’m going to skip the 2 most recent books. That’s disappointing. 

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Yeah, I finished the seventh book and found it disappointing.

The 'unstoppable enemy, constantly demonstrating new powers and effortlessly beating the supposed heroes' trope is one I simply have no interest in. Right about the time that the Tempest fired about a thousand torpedoes at once and destroyed most of the EMC navy, I actively rolled my eyes.

This whole Laconia plot just feels like (and I hate this phrase) a shark-jumping moment for the series. 

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Just finished Abaddon's Gate, and it's my favorite of the novels that I've read so far. I loved all the characters we followed, but especially Bull (RIP). And surprisingly, Melba/Clarissa grew on me. But Anna was by far my favorite character. Maybe it's because I'm a preacher's kid and grew up around people like her, but I loved watching her navigate the increasingly bonkers circumstances - first on the Thomas Prince and then on the Behemoth. When she told off Cortez for siding with Ashford, I may have cheered in my living room.

Already downloaded the audiobook for Cibola Burn, but I'm going to read Gods of Risk first.

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