Title: Leviathan Wakes
Author: James SA Corey
Release Date: June 2011
Buy from: Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com
Welcome to the future. Humanity has colonized the solar system – Mars, the Moon, the Asteroid Belt and beyond – but the stars are still out of our reach.Leviathan Wakes has been making waves this year with many people regarding it as one of the best SF releases of 2011. Daniel Burton reviewed here earlier in the year and had only good things to say about it. I just had to get around to it before the year was out, it would have been remiss of me to not read it this year. And I'm pleased I did!
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.
When Holden and his crew stumble across a derelict ship and discovers some things that certain people want to be kept hidden they're stuck firmly in the middle of a struggle to get them and keep them quiet. With implications that are far reaching and could alter the course of the human race they travel from place to place trying to find answers and sanctuary. Miller meanwhile is a detective on Ceres on the case of a missing girl, a case that leads him to dark secrets. Crossing paths with Holden is inevitable, yet his dedication to the investigation affects him on a personal level and he will not settle for half-answers, he wants the whole truth.
Leviathan Wakes starts with a bang, that's for sure. The prologue got me instantly hooked and wanting to read more, which is good because without it I wouldn't have felt the need to turn the pages quite as quickly. Sounds strange, but it really does make a huge difference. While the story is interesting and gripping, knowing that something huge is lurking makes it all the more worthwhile.
The other major plus point for Leviathan Wakes are its relatively short chapters that alternate between the viewpoints of Holden and Miller. Each starts off seemingly unrelated, but this soon changes and all hell breaks loose. Because of these short chapters it's always easy to read 'just one more', and they also keep the pace quick, punchy and to the point. I can't name another book in recent memory that manages to do it quite so well. The story itself initially seems to be mystery and, while with big implications, it doesn't come across quite just how big they could be. By the halfway point I was completely hooked and powering through eager to find out what happens next.
All in all I was very impressed with Leviathan Wakes. The characters are enjoyable to read (even if some of them are not all that likable), and the story is told with flair. It ends in such a way that I very much want to get my hands on the sequel, Caliban's War. Who knows what's in store, but I will be doing my damnedest to find out the moment it hits the shelves next year!