Review Tuesday: Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey

One of the endorsements quotes for Leviathan Wakes was from George R.R. Martin, which since I hated Game of Thrones (I’m pausing here for a moment for you to blink in shock and then curse at your computer…over it now? Good. Moving on.), was not an endorsement for me. I bought this book in spite of his quote. And I was not disappointed.

From Goodreads:

Humanity has colonized the solar system – Mars, the Moon, the Asteroid Belt and beyond – but the stars are still out of our reach.

Jim Holden is XO of an ice miner making runs from the rings of Saturn to the mining stations of the Belt. When he and his crew stumble upon a derelict ship, the Scopuli, they find themselves in possession of a secret they never wanted. A secret that someone is willing to kill for – and kill on a scale unfathomable to Jim and his crew. War is brewing in the system unless he can find out who left the ship and why.

Detective Miller is looking for a girl. One girl in a system of billions, but her parents have money and money talks. When the trail leads him to the Scopuli and rebel sympathizer Holden, he realizes that this girl may be the key to everything.

Holden and Miller must thread the needle between the Earth government, the Outer Planet revolutionaries, and secretive corporations – and the odds are against them. But out in the Belt, the rules are different, and one small ship can change the fate of the universe.

I was excited to start this book because I was looking for a new series to get into, and this series is at least 5 books, I think, and about 500 pages long. I ended up getting it originally from the library, and then halfway through it, I decided to buy the first 3 as a box set.

The book, at the very beginning, is a little bit challenging to get into only because there are a couple of different factions, languages, and politics to understand/learn about. Once you get the basics sorted out in your head then you fall into the story very easily.

The story was engaging, (though definitely gross in parts. This is not a book to read while you eat), and the characters memorable, (though I have to admit that I wasn’t a fan of Miller’s storyline from about the halfway point onwards). I never fully guessed what was coming down the pipeline, and I was always interested in finding out what was going to happen next.

I have not started watching the tv show yet, and I’m not 100% sure if I’m going to or not. (The gross parts really creeped me out, and I don’t know if I want those visuals in my head). However, I am definitely going to be reading book 2. I want to know what’s in store for humanity in The Expanse.

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Review Tuesday: A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

I love the fantasy genre. It’s just about all I read growing up, and while my reading tastes have expanded over the years, I still love it. My problem though is that I’ve become quite picky and/or selective about what I read in the genre, and thus sometimes have a hard time find something to read. For instance, I hated Game of Thrones. I only got halfway through the first book and stopped because I completely despised it. I actually threw it across the room in disgust, something I’ve never done to a book before.

darker shade

But for all that I’m picky when it comes to fantasy, it’s always the first section I head to in the bookstore and the first section I comb through hoping for a good find. This is how I found A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab. What drew me first was the cover. I was immediately intrigued as soon as I saw it. I wanted to know what was happening. So I picked it up and I was done. It was coming home with me.

From Goodreads:

Kell is one of the last Antari, a rare magician who can travel between parallel worlds: hopping from Grey London — dirty, boring, lacking magic, and ruled by mad King George — to Red London — where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire — to White London — ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne, where people fight to control magic, and the magic fights back — and back, but never Black London, because traveling to Black London is forbidden and no one speaks of it now.

Officially, Kell is the personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between the royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell smuggles for those willing to pay for even a glimpse of a world they’ll never see, and it is this dangerous hobby that sets him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a dangerous enemy, then forces him to take her with him for her proper adventure.

But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save both his London and the others, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive — a feat trickier than they hoped.

What I loved about this book was the world building. It was done so well and in a way that didn’t draw or slow the plot line down. That’s usually the fail for me when it comes to some fantasy books. It’s like they pause to detail and show you the world at the expense of the plot and the flow of the story. That didn’t happen here. Everything was explained in an organic way that really worked with the story.

I also really loved Kell and Lila. Kell starts out as a cocky but lovable little shit who grows up in a hurry when everything starts to fall apart. He is understandable and there is something about his past that even he doesn’t know and that the reader really wants to find out. He’s a great character, with some definite flaws, which to me makes him all the more enjoyable. Lila is badass. She is all about herself and looking out for number one. She has very little desire to do the right thing or to think about others, and while she does help out Kell, she remains very much herself throughout the book, and I loved that she kept her identity as a character and didn’t become to Kell.

Overall, this was a fantastic book, and I recommend it to anyone who likes the fantasy genre. Book two in this series just came out a couple of weeks ago, and I will definitely be diving into that soon. A great read!