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Minireview: Caliban's War, by James S.A. Corey

Caliban’s War is the second book in James Corey’s (pen name of Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck) “The Expanse” series, and it doesn’t slow down a bit from the pace of the first book – and is just as dangerous for causing sleep deprivation. The plot continues from where the first book ended, with some new people getting introduced. On Ganymede, Gunnery Sergeant Bobbie Draper is witness to her whole squad getting wiped out by some sort of “supersoldier”, while in the halls of power (U.N.) Chrisjen Avasarala, and elderly politician with a foul mouth and quick temper, tries to figure out what the hell is going on. There’s also Prax Meng, a scientist on Ganymede, whose daughter has been abducted by parties unknown, perhaps involved in the recent violence.

…and then of course there’s James Holden and the merry crew of the Rocinante, now loosely allied with the Outer Planets Alliance. They get swept into the events, and (predictably) all hell breaks loose. Oh, and there’s also the alien “protomolecule” building who-knows-what on Venus, which makes pretty much everyone very nervous. Not that they weren’t already.

Like the first book, it’s tightly plotted and written in page-turner fashion. It’s almost an exhausting read, but in a good way. The plot twists keep on coming, and things escalate in a logical but still surprising fashion. Avasarala is a fun character, and provides a new viewpoint character for the series. Bobbie, the U.N. marine, is also a nicely nuanced character. Sure, some of the bad guys are almost cartoonishly evil, but it works here – their motivations (power, money) are classic but mostly believable.

A great read. While it is largely a self-contained tale which does (mostly) wrap up within this book, this book should be read as part of a series and after reading Leviathan Wakes, otherwise you’ll miss out on lots of details and character development.

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