This book is utterly amazing, I can’t stress that enough. It hits every single sci-fi button I have; space opera, crime, horror, and just enough of a touch of romance to give it an emotional punch. It has zombies, heroic sacrifice, interplanetary war, and some truly great action.
On paper that might seem like a book by the numbers but it really isn’t. The writing is clever but eminently readable and the story just blew me away. With such a heady mix of so many elements the plot could have been really confusing, yet I had no trouble following it.
The characters are believable, realistic and they quickly get into your mind, even those that are only present for a short time. I loved Captain Jim Holden and his somewhat naive and altruistic view of life. He’s written so well that the odd mix of both admirable and foolhardy decision making is believable. The authors have given us a hero that acts like one despite the consequences. The rest of the survivors were also well realised and added a lot to the depth and flavour of the story. As an aside I did laugh when Naomi figuratively had to smack Jim into sense, one of a number of comic moments that help break up the considerable tension.
Detective Miller is a bit of an enigma. A very strong character but obviously fundamentally damaged, and the complete opposite of Jim. He sees things from a much more realistic perspective and can look at the bigger picture. I thought the debates with Holden about his decisions, and them both being at opposite ends of the spectrum were very well written and thought out. Neither were right or wrong but I found my own feelings on the matter coloured how I looked at it. Miller’s involvement was excellent yet sad and the emotional writing of this character had me in tears towards the end of the book.
I thought the future technology side was well crafted and believable, taking into account physics and the forces at play when ships are moving. I felt it all was very smooth, understandable and very creative.
The plot and pace are very much tied together as each chapter unfolds and both increase in intensity nicely. I’ve seen some people say the ending employs deus ex machina, however I totally disagree because the groundwork had been building right from the start. To me it was just another example of the clever writing in Leviathan Wakes.
I didn’t find out until after I’d finished, that James S. A. Corey is actually the pen name for two people; Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck. I have to say I think they blended perfectly; sometimes you can get a feel of two voices in these situations but I was unaware and very surprised when I did realise.
An amazingly exciting space opera, and I absolutely can’t wait to see what happens in the next book!