There are a lot of well known science fiction franchises out there. Ofcourse everybody has probably heard about Star Wars and Star Trek. Unless, to use a science fiction term, you have been living offworld. But in the world of science fiction novels, there are so many well written stories, that in many ways they sometimes rival these established franchises. A couple of years back I came across the novel Leviathan’s Wake written by James S.A. Corey (which is actually a pen name of two writers). It set up an epic science fiction universe, with a great storyline, and fantastic characters. The first novel paved the way for the sequels, and to date 6 novels have been published in what has become known as The Expanse.
Caliban’s War is the second novel and pretty much picks up the story where the first part left off. On Mars we meet a female supersoldier called Bobbie. When her entire platoon gets killed by a monstrous creature, she is the sole survivor. It seems the deadly protomolecule, that was believed to have been killed, has somehow managed to survive. But who is behind this? With both the Earth and Mars government on the brink of all out war, it is up to Jim Holden and the crew of the Rocinante, heroes of the first novel, to find out the truth. A fact that is easier said than done. With a massive conspiracy and Holden’s own fears threatening the survival of the entire universe, time is running out….for everyone.
Caliban’s War has been a page turner from start to finish. Where Leviathan’s Wake started off somewhat slow, this book pretty much comes running out of the gates from page 1, and does not stop until the finish. A book such as this can only work if you can feel what is at stake and a establish a bond with the characters. And in that regard the book succeeds on both counts. Jim Holden and the rest of the crew of his ship, were already great in part one. But in this book we get to know them even better, and as such care about them even more. But also the new characters, most notably Bobbie and the foulmouthed, old but incredibly strongwilled lady Avasarala, were very worthy additions.
What I liked about this novel is the threat that looms over everything. You constantly feel a sense of doom that there is something very wrong, and that not everything is as cut and dry as it may seem. Without spoiling the ending for you, expect a massive cliffhanger that will leave you hungry for more. Luckily that more is already there, as you can keep on reading by checking out part 3, Abaddon’s Gate. And if you are not into reading, the books have been turned into a television series called The Expanse. I have yet to see this one for myself, but from what I have heard it is supposedly very good. I highly recommend Caliban’s War for everyone who loves good science fiction, with great characters and a touch of conspiracy.
I give Caliban’s War a 9 out of 10 score.