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Coming Soon: Nemesis Games by James S. A. Corey

 June 2, 2015

Title: Nemesis Games

Author: James S. A. Corey

Series: The Expanse #5

Genre: Science Fiction

Release Date: June 2, 2015

The Overview: A thousand worlds have opened, and the greatest land rush in human history has begun. As wave after wave of colonists leave, the power structures of the old solar system begin to buckle. Ships are disappearing without a trace. Private armies are being secretly formed. The sole remaining protomolecule sample is stolen. Terrorist attacks previously considered impossible bring the inner planets to their knees. The sins of the past are returning to exact a terrible price. And as a new human order is struggling to be born in blood and fire, James Holden and the crew of the Rocinante must struggle to survive and get back to the only home they have left.

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I haven’t even read the fourth book in this series yet, but I already know I’m going to be absolutely thrilled when Nemesis Games comes out in June. These are the kind of books that keep you up all night – partly because they’re so good, but mostly because they are fricking intense! I also think The Expanse series contains some of the most well-written characters of any series I’ve ever read – to the point where I feel like I’m reading about real people, not just figments of someone’s mind. Overall, I consider these books a must-read for anyone who loves a good space opera (Firefly, anyone?). You better believe I’ll be picking this one up in hardcover the day comes out.

What book are you waiting on?

by Niki Hawkes

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Book Review: Caliban’s War by James S. A. Corey

caliban's warTitle: Caliban’s War

Author: James S. A. Corey

Series: Leviathan #2

Genre: Science Fiction

Rating: 5/5 stars!

The OverviewThe alien protomolecule is clear evidence of an intelligence beyond human reckoning. No one knows what exactly is being built on Venus, but whatever it is, it is vast, powerful, and terrifying. When a creature of unknown origin and seemingly impossible physiology attacks soldiers on Ganymede, the fragile balance of power in the Solar System shatters. Now, the race is on to discover if the protomolecule has escaped Venus, or if someone is building an army of super-soldiers. Jim Holden is the center of it all. In spite of everything, he’s still the best man for the job to find out what happened on Ganymede. Either way, the protomolecule is loose and Holden must find a way to stop it before war engulfs the entire system.

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The Review:

I was a little hesitant to pick up Caliban’s War because the first book (Leviathan Wakes) was so amazing, how could the second book possibly compare? I was even worried I’d get bored because I thought I’d figured out which characters we’d be following and what direction the story was headed… Boy was I wrong! And happy to be so. It was definitely different from the first novel, and didn’t lack any of the adventure and excitement!

As I mentioned, I thought I knew which characters we’d hear from in Caliban’s War and was pleasantly surprised with the introduction of a handful of brand-new POVs who added fresh perspectives to the story without losing any momentum. Of course, it wouldn’t have been the same without Holden and his crew and I’m thrilled he seems to be the through-line for the series. Some of the new characters are among my favorite so far (specifically Avasarala, the feisty old politician – if I had half of her gusto, I’d be unstoppable!). As always, each character was interesting and well-rounded and I am eager to see who’s featured in the third novel.

The conflicts in this novel are a lot narrower, but by no means less exciting. It’s all working to build this brilliant momentum, and great momentum is what sets apart good books from great books in my opinion. Most of my favorite series have that in common. To that end, Caliban’s War gets an A+ for pacing. It’s that “holyshit-hold-your-breath-until-it-over” type of stuff that I love. I actually had to stop reading it before bed because it would get me too wound up to sleep.

Overall, if you like fast-paced adventure and excitement in your books, you’ll love these! I am certain I will be reading them again.

Recommended Reading: I would hand this series to sci-fi lovers, but it’s definitely a space opera (my new favorite genre). This is also an excellent series to hand someone wanting to try either genre. All I can say is, hold onto your seats – it’s going to be a wild ride!

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by Niki Hawkes

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Book Review: Leviathan Wakes by James S. A. Corey

8855321Title: Leviathan Wakes

Author: James S. A. Corey

Series: Expanse #1

Genre: Science Fiction

Rating: 5/5 stars!

The Overview: Humanity has colonized the solar system – Mars, the Moon, the Asteroid Belt and beyond – but the stars are still out of our reach. Jim Holden is XO of an ice miner making runs from the rings of Saturn to the mining stations of the Belt. When he and his crew stumble upon a derelict ship, “The Scopuli,” they find themselves in possession of a secret they never wanted. A secret that someone is willing to kill for – and kill on a scale unfathomable to Jim and his crew. War is brewing in the system unless he can find out who left the ship and why. Detective Miller is looking for a girl. One girl in a system of billions, but her parents have money and money talks. When the trail leads him to “The Scopuli” and rebel sympathizer Holden, he realizes that this girl may be the key to everything. Holden and Miller must thread the needle between the Earth government, the Outer Planet revolutionaries, and secretive corporations – and the odds are against them. But out in the Belt, the rules are different, and one small ship can change the fate of the universe.

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 The Review:

I want to thank these authors for rekindling my love for science fiction (yes, I said authors, see below)! Everything about this story had me frantically turning the pages to see what happened next. I haven’t been this excited about a sci-fi series since I picked up Aguirre’s Grimspace a couple of years ago. And you know what? I really missed it! There’s nothing like diving into the universe to give you that ultimate feel of adventure!

And adventurous it was – on a galactic scale (okay, maybe only on a solar system scale… It just doesn’t sound as cool). And it was a smart book – plenty of complexity, with interwoven plots that were just enough to keep me guessing but not so much that it was confusing. A book that is dynamic and well planned out gets my vote every time – and I probably appreciated the most because it’s something I don’t feel I could ever do in my own writing.

Another thing I loved about this book was characterization. I’ve been really lucky lately because I’ve picked up tons of books with exceptional characters (which means I’ve had some of the best reading in my life recently). Characters make or break books for me – I can put up with a lot of faults, but if I don’t like the people, I most likely won’t like the book. Leviathan Wakes had so many fantastic characters that I’d be hard-pressed to tell you which one I liked the most. Even the minor ones who only got a few pages were memorable… it blows my mind.

So far, I’ve mentioned great plot structure and characters, but I don’t think I’d be raving about the book as much if they hadn’t been combined with such killer pacing. Every moments was exciting and stressful… in a good way. It’s the type of exhilarating read that gets the adrenaline flowing and the heart pumping – I had to stop reading it before bed because it took me from drowsy to wide awake after only a few pages. It never slowed down, either. The whole book was just one big snowball ride all the way to the end!

Very few books max out my awesomeness scale in every category, but this one managed! It’s the perfect mix of science fiction, mystery, and romance (on a minor scale), and has turned me into an adoring fan of “space opera.” What’s more, after reading Leviathan Wakes, I discovered the author’s name is actually a pen for two collaborative writers: Daniel Abraham (who has quickly become one of my favorite new-generation fantasy authors with his Long Price Quartet series) and Ty Franck (who I’m told did some ghostwriting work for George R.R. Martin). I don’t know if it’s possible, but this discovery makes me love the book even more!

Recommended Reading: for any science-fiction lover (or for that matter, for anybody looking to give sic-fi a try). This book is also perfect for anyone looking for an exhilarating read – one that’s impossible to put down!

by Niki Hawkes

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