After the events of Abaddon’s Gate, a group of refugees from the Ganymede incident have made their way to one of the thousand new uninhabited planets contained on the other side of The Gates. It isn’t long after they’ve settled that they discover the planet is rich with Lithium. Planning to mine it and sell it, the residents of the newly named “Ilus”, may have found a way to become self sustaining.
Unfortunately for them, someone failed to notify the settlers that the corporation RCE, had already been given first rights of exploration and mining. Upon the company’s arrival to what they’ve dubbed “New Terra”, RCE is immediately attacked by a few rogue settlers and fearing that a war is about to erupt, Earth sends James Holden and the crew of the Rocinante to act as mediators in an escalating conflict.
We’re at the fourth book and The Expanse saga is as strong as ever. Is there any wonder though? I recently watched an interview with the two authors masquerading as James S.A. Corey (Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck) and they revealed that before they had even started writing the first book, they already had a massive binder filled with all the world-building needed to sustain the core of the series. When you have that already at your fingertips, you can spend more time establishing characters and less time worrying about where the story is headed.
I was a little worried early on in the series that the core characters (Holden, Amos, Alex and Naomi) were little more than paint-by-numbers in their presentation (i.e. the brave one, the stubborn one, the loyal one and the critical one). However, by book four, they’ve all grown on me – which I would hope for the sake of the series – and I can’t wait to learn more about them. They’ve grown as a family and you really feel their sense of commitment to one another. It helps to make the action scenes more important as the reader becomes increasingly invested in their survival.
Cibola Burn is the funniest of the books so far. In saying that, I don’t mean a laugh on every page mind you, but the exchanges between Holden and Miller later on in the story managed to pull big, boisterous laughs out of me. I’m interested to see if the TV show can capture the same chemistry between the two actors as audiences will not be disappointed.
At this point, I’ve read all four books back-to-back. I’ll be taking a break until next month when I can get my hands on book five – Nemesis Games – as it becomes available in paperback. For now, I want to collect them all in a similar format, but I’m not sure how I will resist getting book six when it hits stores in hardcover this summer.