Abaddon’s Gate: Book 3 of the Expanse
by James S. A. Corey
narrated by Jeffery Mays
The proto-molecule discovered and malevolently exploited in books 1 and 2 is back and has formed a mysterious gate out near Uranus. Martian warships are guarding it while science teams ponder where it goes and will something nasty come out. Turns out the more important question to be asking is will something nasty go in…humanity.
Squabbling Earthers, Belters, Martians and OPA flock for the chance to get edge up on each other with Jim Holden and the Rocinante getting stuck in the middle. Earth put up a fleet of older ships since their pasting at Gannymede and they had to hire a corps of contract maintenance civilians to service them. Seems a great place for a psychotic terrorist to infiltrate and cause mountains of mayhem.
Our buddy Detective Miller is back with his Fedora that Holden hates. He’s making a career out of causing Holden to question his sanity with his ghostly apparitions. “Corners and doors kid.”
The threads are multiple. Holden, the psychotic vengeance seeking terrorist, the dried out ex-subordinate of Fred Johnson who is the head of security on the Behemoth, Anya (whatever her Russian last name is) the Methodist minister who takes action then asks forgiveness are all the POVs. The author has kept to his propensity for making you care about characters and then offing them, just saying.
This was a really good book and I liked the narration. Four out of five enjoyment points are awarded.
New Sky: Eyes of the Watcher
by Jason Kent
New Sky starts out as a Space Opera and turns into a steampunk adventure that kind of fits in with Firefly, The Expanse Series and maybe some of the old quest fantasies like Shannara or Lord of the Rings.
A non-quitter type of cadre gels around a woman named Kate Thompson who has gazed into the face of the enemy and now her eyes glow. She also foretells the future, figures out how to deal with most things non-electrical and communicates with a grand being.
The bigger picture is that Sol is engaged in a war with a splinter civilization of humans called the Tailinn, who have forsaken most advanced tech and made Steam technology embrace the stars…with some help from this grand being. It turns out there was another uppity bunch of humans before them who tried to come back and take over things. Back then Sol and the Tailinn joined forces. Some things just aren’t forever.
I enjoyed the storyline and the character building. This work needs another editing pass but nothing I found detracts enough to spoil the story. The character of Sparrow actually seems like something William Gibson might have dreamed up. I enjoyed it and I’m giving it three out of five stars.
The Prefect (Book 5 in the Revelation Space series)
by Alistair Reynolds
narrated by John Lee
Back in the Yellowstone system this story is set amongst the Glitter band, a group of ten thousand human space habitats that are governed democratically via an organization called Panoply. Each of the habitats have a central stalk that houses a poling core, using abstraction (a hand waving term for network), representatives from each habitat rotate through the civic duty of voting.
This idyllic thing comes crashing to a halt as an Alpha level imprint from the Silvestri 80, Aurora, takes over four habitats and manufactures warbots called Weevils to spread. Meanwhile, a creature from the past called the Clockmaker which was thought destroyed resurfaces to threaten the maybe invincible Aurora.
Field Prefect Tom Dreyfus, Deputy Field Talia Ing, Deputy Field hyper-pig Sparva are just some of the key spicy characters leading the fight against the dark annihilators of humans in this installment. I enjoy how the author juggles multiple story lines into a mesmerizing tapestry of entertainment. Five out of five for this one. Excellent job!