6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
A gritty and human take on sci-fi,
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This review is from: Leviathan Wakes: Book 1 of the Expanse (Kindle Edition)
Leviathan Wakes has a sci-fi scenario with many of the bells and whistles associated with the genre, but at heart it's simply a story of the human condition that happens to be set in the future. It deals with issues of ethnic division (through differences in physical development due to the presence or otherwise of gravity), the familiar prejudices created between the haves and have-nots, the power of Governments and corporations in the control of knowledge, and the associated sci-fi staple of the responsible use of alien technology. All of these are reflections of our current global problems and help to create a universe that the reader can relate to fairly quickly.
This leaves a lot of room for the characters and narrative, which is what keeps this book moving along nicely and engages you in the storytelling. There are main characters rather than heroes, all of whom have the requisite number of foibles and failings to keep you interested, unsure where they're going, and wanting to know more.
While trying to avoid spoilers the main thrust of the story is: naughty corporation stirs enmity between opposing forces to hide their dabbling in alien technology that gets away from them, and it then falls to the two main characters to overcome their failings to try and stop the end of human life.
The gripping part of the writing is the clever use of doubt. There is never a clear and unequivocal decision, from the minor to the massive. It doesn't even try to hide behind doing what is 'right'. It makes the characters unpredictable and perhaps more difficult to warm to, but ultimately reflects the reality of people in a situation where life and death cannot be measured by doing the right thing.
This is gritty rather than grand, scuffed instead of shiny. The pacing, characterisation, and narrative carry it well and cover a slight lack of depth in the story. It just made four stars for me, which means I'll definitely be reading the next book in the series but it doesn't have to be right this instant.