LEVIATHAN WAKES – James S.A. Corey (2011)

Leviathan WakesExcellent science fiction needs two things: a great story and great ideas. Leviathan Wakes doesn’t offer much of both.

The universe it portrays feels small and not fully fleshed out – the only science that is tackled more or less thoroughly is g-acceleration, and it’s mentioned ad nauseam. (On a sidenote, the book hardly classifies as Hard SF imo.) The world building is just a vague backdrop to the action. There’s hardly anything original in the book – even the horror aspects are routine.

The story is okay, but generic too, and drags in the beginning: it takes about half of the 561 pages to become engaging. It’s a fast, uncomplicated read nonetheless, but still, it should have been trimmed down at least 100 pages – I found myself skimming multiple times over a couple of pages because they didn’t advance the story nor offered any else that was interesting. The two main characters are rather clichéd and all other characters are just functional sides. It generally lacks depth.

The io9.com-quote on the cover nailed it: it’s a book equivalent of a Hollywood blockbuster. If that sounds up your alley, give this book a try. But if you’re short on time, and want your mind truly engaged by a book in a similar setting, read 2312 instead.

As a big fan of Daniel Abraham’s The Long Price Quartet (*), I had high hopes for this series… I hoped that what I gathered from reviews – not to expect a lot of originality or refinement – would prove untrue. It didn’t. So, is this lack compensated for enough by other good stuff, like thrills, fun and general coolness? Not much. Leviathan Wakes is just run-of-the-mill space opera. It’s entertaining most of the time, but nothing more. Yes, it might become a great TV-show. I hope so. I might read book 2, but given the monstrous size of my ever growing TBR-list, it’s more unlikely than likely.


(*) James S.A. Corey is the shared pen name of Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck.

originally written on the 31st of May, 2015


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