The Expanse: A Book Review

By Sarah Levesque (Rated PG)

Welcome to the future, where humans have colonized the moon, Mars, and much more. Where people are categorized based on the planet they come from. Where living on a spaceship for more than a month at a time is normal. Where crew becomes family.

No, I’m not talking about Star Trek or Firefly. I’m talking about a book series called The Expanse by James S.A. Corey. Seems they made a TV show out of it, but I haven’t seen it. But the book series is a masterpiece. A solidly R-rated masterpiece, but a masterpiece nonetheless.

It all begins in Leviathan Wakes with a spaceship in distress. James Holden, the Executive Officer of an ice hauler, leads a small group to check it out. While they’re away from their ship, it gets blown up and suddenly Holden – now de facto captain – and his small crew are running for their lives. They’re running from the people who sabotaged the ship in distress, who blew up the ice hauler, who allowed an alien virus to infect a whole space station, turning everyone on it into vomit zombies.

On the other end of the galaxy, one Detective Miller looks for a missing girl. Clues lead to a powerful family, to threats and ultimately to a ship in distress, bait for an ice hauler. All during a time of political unrest in the galaxy, an unrest that begets riots, violence and more than a little uncertainty.

Written in alternating view points, the first book leaves you itching for more, even if you didn’t like the endless swearing, the innuendo and the sex (implied more than seen). Basically these guys and girls are non-military long-distance sailors, and they sometimes act like the stereotypes. But that only makes it more believable.

The plot of the series is compelling; the characters are real, ever the same yet ever changing, and rather mysterious until backstories are slowly revealed. The setting is more than plausible too, rich in detail without being boring. But it all comes down to this – will they be able to prevent the spread of the alien zombie virus? And what happened to the aliens themselves? For that I quote Doctor Who’s River Song: Spoilers!

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