Review: Caliban’s War

Caliban's War (The Expanse, #2)Caliban’s War by James S.A. Corey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read this book in 10 min – 1 hour chunks so maybe I missed something. But who the (expletive) is Caliban and why was this his war? (If it’s a spoiler don’t tell me. If it was (view spoiler) first name, you can gently remind me.

There are multiple times I found myself staying up so late I’d only get a few hours sleep before work because James SA Corey found a way to make this book even more action-packed and exciting than the first one. Perhaps that’s because this is the second book in a nonology instead of a trilogy. Or maybe it’s because of the introduction of such awesome characters as Crisjen Avasarala and Bobbie Draper along with more time with the amazing Alex. Seriously, I never knew political thrillers could be this great (and I already appreciated the genre), but I think Avasarala made it so great. And her magnificence made the twist in her plotline land even harder.

Someone, probably Dara since she’s more or less the only Goodreads friend/acquaintance who comments on my reviews, mentioned Holden falling further for her in this book. I can see that, especially as this book brings the rest of the crew to the fore when they were mostly sidelined for the Miller-Holden plot in book one. But I felt his redemption arc worked quite well and I thought Avasarala was the perfect person to call him on his naivete. Also, the introduction of the Rocinante Corporation. I also thought Fred dealt with him in a realistic way.

In fact, I think what made this book work so well for me was its realism within the bounds of a fictional universe that has to have some continuity for nine books. After what happened to Julie, Miller, and to a less extent Holden in the first book – the stakes were raised for this one. Again, acknowledging that a narrative is going to suffer from some Storm Trooper Academy riflery lessons on the part of the bad guys, I thought many of the twists and turns were handled realistically. It makes me scared for some of the neat-as-a-bow endings that some of the characters got. I wonder if it’s a fake-out, although the new menace to emerge at the end of the book may have sidelined the importance of the antagonists that we’ve seen up to this point.

I’m definitely continuing on with the series, even if I’m taking a break to read some of the books I already own while waiting to see if the series goes on sale when the new season of the TV show starts.

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