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: The End of All Things by John Scalzi

You know what’s great about John Scalzi and the Old Man’s War series? I’ve never been disappointed with it. I know that when I pick up one of the books in the Old Man’s War series, it’s gonna be good, I’m going to love it, and I’m not going to be able to put it down until I’m done. This is all true for The End of All Things, the latest installment in the series.

end of all thingsFrom Goodreads:

Humans expanded into space…only to find a universe populated with multiple alien species bent on their destruction. Thus was the Colonial Union formed, to help protect us from a hostile universe. The Colonial Union used the Earth and its excess population for colonists and soldiers. It was a good arrangement…for the Colonial Union. Then the Earth said: no more.

Now the Colonial Union is living on borrowed time—a couple of decades at most, before the ranks of the Colonial Defense Forces are depleted and the struggling human colonies are vulnerable to the alien species who have been waiting for the first sign of weakness, to drive humanity to ruin. And there’s another problem: A group, lurking in the darkness of space, playing human and alien against each other—and against their own kind —for their own unknown reasons.

In this collapsing universe, CDF Lieutenant Harry Wilson and the Colonial Union diplomats he works with race against the clock to discover who is behind attacks on the Union and on alien races, to seek peace with a suspicious, angry Earth, and keep humanity’s union intact…or else risk oblivion, and extinction—and the end of all things.

This book, like the previous book, The Human Division is broken down into different novellas, but in the larger book format they just come across as long chapters or different parts of a whole, so it’s no big deal.

One of the things I really liked about this book was that it took (for me anyway) 2 notably different first person points of view – these two points of view were from characters who were not part of the CDF and one wasn’t even part of the CU. I really enjoyed that. It made me feel more connected with different parts of the storyline than I have before, and it more firmly entrenched the series plot line away from the “us vs. them” plot that the series started out in.

Some of your favourite characters from previous books obviously make an appearance or are stars of the show for a little while, which is always nice when you get to see what your favourite characters have been up to while you’ve been gone and time has moved along. I really like Harry and Dani – and there’s this one scene with Harry and her over breakfast that I highly enjoyed.

This book is an excellent edition to the Old Man’s War universe, and I would recommend the series to anyone. It’s so awesome. The only distressing point I had with this book is when I finished it. I realized that now I’m all caught up. There are no new books to read in this series. *sigh* It’s a hard-knocked life I tell ya.

Review Tuesday: The Human Division by John Scalzi

I love John Scalzi’s work and The Human Division was no exception. The Human Division is book five in the Old Man’s War series, and it follows Lieutenant Harry Wilson and the diplomatic team that he works with.

human divisionFrom Goodreads:

Following the events of The Last Colony, John Scalzi tells the story of the fight to maintain the unity of the human race.

The people of Earth now know that the human Colonial Union has kept them ignorant of the dangerous universe around them. For generations the CU had defended humanity against hostile aliens, deliberately keeping Earth an ignorant backwater and a source of military recruits. Now the CU’s secrets are known to all. Other alien races have come on the scene and formed a new alliance—an alliance against the Colonial Union. And they’ve invited the people of Earth to join them. For a shaken and betrayed Earth, the choice isn’t obvious or easy.

Against such possibilities, managing the survival of the Colonial Union won’t be easy, either. It will take diplomatic finesse, political cunning…and a brilliant “B Team,” centered on the resourceful Lieutenant Harry Wilson, that can be deployed to deal with the unpredictable and unexpected things the universe throws at you when you’re struggling to preserve the unity of the human race.

The first thing to note about this book is that the chapters were originally all published as separate e-books in a serial format. This book brings all of those chapters together into one unit. It doesn’t really change the flow of the story at all, but at the beginning of some of the chapters there is a bit a rehash for readers of what has happened before. It’s a wee bit irritating, but it doesn’t detract from the story at all.

This book is also a departure from the main characters that have made up the series so far – John, Jane and Zoe. Like John Scalzi said at the end of the previous book those characters deserved a happy ending and it’s good to let them be. This book like the description says is about Lieutenant Harry Wilson. Harry was in Old Man’s War. He and John were on the same ship that took their newly enlisted butts to space, and they became friends. Harry has been working a tech on a diplomatic ship, but he quickly finds out that there is more in his job description than being a technician and the fate of the universe starts to depend on him with (I’m sure for him) alarming frequency.

The book flows really well and has a good pace. It’s nice to still be in the Old Man’s War universe with some different characters. There is also a brand new plot arc in this book – or at least a twist that I definitely wasn’t expecting. I’m very excited to read the next one (the paperback version of the next books releases at the end of May!) and to see what happens with this new arc.

This is a fantastic series and one that you should definitely jump into if like science fiction or are even remotely interested in it. You will not be disappointed.

Review Tuesday: The Last Colony

The Last Colony by John Scalzi is book three in the Old Man’s War series, and this series is awesome. I don’t read a lot of science fiction but I love this series.

last colonyFrom Goodreads:

Retired from his fighting days, John Perry is now village ombudsman for a human colony on distant Huckleberry. With his wife, former Special Forces warrior Jane Sagan, he farms several acres, adjudicates local disputes, and enjoys watching his adopted daughter grow up.

That is, until his and Jane’s past reaches out to bring them back into the game–as leaders of a new human colony, to be peopled by settlers from all the major human worlds, for a deep political purpose that will put Perry and Sagan back in the thick of interstellar politics, betrayal, and war.

In this book we run across John and Jane again. Jane was in book two, but more as a secondary character, and John wasn’t in it at all. This book brings the two of them back and a bunch of time has past since book two.

They are put in charge of a new human colony that of course it not what it seems, and they and their teenage daughter Zoe move there. Cue, the intergalactical politics (and you thought earth politics was ridiculous at times).

The book was very well paced, and I just about flew through it. You see some character development from book one to book three, but these are mostly plot drive books, and the plot can definitely hold your attention.

The book ends on a surprising note for me. I was definitely not expecting it, and I’m very intrigued to see how book four unfolds. A book I will be picking up very soon.

Review Tuesday: Saga Vol 5 by Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples

Saga is a series that I’m really enjoying, and volume 5 is no exception.

From Goodreads:

Multiple storylines collide in this cosmos-spanning new volume. While Gwendolyn and Lying Cat risk everything to find a cure for The Will, Marko makes an uneasy alliance with Prince Robot IV to find their missing children, who are trapped on a strange world with terrifying new enemies.

CAUTION SPOILERS AHEAD

Saga Volume 5The last volume left everything on a cliff hanger with Marko’s family being kidnapped. This volume deals with Alana and Marko’s mom trying to rescue themselves, and Marko and Prince Robert IV are trying to find them.

In this volume we’re also introduced to a new set of players. They are rebels essentially who don’t belong to either Landfall or Wreath, but who want to fighting to stop. These people though of course are not good people. Like very much not good people, and their way of stopping the fight is of course handing over Hazel.

Marko while searching for his family is also doing some soul searching of his own. He has become a pacifist, but is now rethinking that as his daughter and wife and mother have been kidnapped and their lives are in danger. A really bad drug trip also enlightens him in perhaps not the ideal way.

In the other plot line there is Lying Cat, Gwendolyn, Sophie and The Brand (The Will’s sister) are hoping to find a cure for The Will, which they do, but nothing goes according to plan, and The Will is not happy about what was sacrificed to get it.

The story line ends with Hazel being kidnapped again, and the next thing you see of her is years later. She’s been separated from her family for a long time, and it hurts to know that. I hate when people get separated – especially children. And I really want to know what happens to everyone in those years where she’s missing.

This was a very basic straight forward plot line, but it was engaging, and I’ve invested enough that I really want to know what happens to these characters. The artwork is stunning as always, and you definitely have to pause in reading just to take it all in. There is one rather disturbing image in this volume and while it is funny it’s also rather gross. Just an FYI.

This is a good series so far that I’m really enjoying. If you’re into scifi, and a rather different set of characters this is probably a series for you.