(The Expanse series, Book 3)
James S. A. Corey
DESCRIPTION: After nearly destroying Earth and taking over Venus, the alien protomolecue seemed to have completed its "program" when it sent a mysterious, self-assembling Ring out to the orbit of Uranus. Surrounded by curious scientists, the vast artifact hung inert, and may have stayed that way until an errant thrill-seeker's ship plunged into its depths - and vanished. Now the race is on to explore the unknown, starless void beyond the Ring, a race of science and power that once more raises tensions between Earth, Mars, and the recently-legitimized Outer Planets Alliance... and, once more, Captain James Holden and the crew of the Rocinante find themselves in the thick of things. Further complicating matters are a new OPA warship whose crew are already at each others' throats before they leave Tycho Station, a
ship full of artists and politicians and priests of various denominations whose original goal - publicity and a show of power - becomes dangerously complicated, a woman with a single-minded agenda who might endanger everyone... and visions that haunt Holden, the image of the deceased Detective Miller as co-opted by the protomolecule, who seems to be trying to tell him something important about the Ring and the unknown race who built it. As these forces collide, humanity may stand on the threshold of its greatest discovery - or on the edge of its extinction.
REVIEW: The third installment of the Expanse series just barely pulled off its four-star rating. It seemed to take a little longer to get moving, with new characters
who were occasionally hard to care about (particularly Clarissa/Melba, the overlooked daughter of the disgraced and imprisoned magnate Mao, who has bent her entire life on
exacting vengeance for the downfall of her father's empire.) Once the book finds its footing, though, it's once again off and running in a fine spacefaring romp full of
new wonders, escalating danger, and the complicated nature of the human animal as it reaches beyond its native habitat to grasp at new toys. I'm a little concerned at the
increased religious presence and tone in this book; I hope it isn't going to turn into "inspirational" fiction, because that's really not my cup of cocoa and it would rather spoil the series for me to shoehorn God, particularly a human vision of God, into this space opera. Between that and Clarissa, whom I really didn't care for, it came very close to losing marks, but a sufficiently enjoyable finale managed to keep it afloat in the ratings. I hope things improve a little for the fourth book, though.
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