The fifth novel in James S.A. Corey's New York Times bestselling Expanse series--now being produced for television by the SyFy Channel!
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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The Expanses is Still Great
The Expanse series has been going on for a while, and with a new frontier open for exploration, readers may be wondering where the story will head next. The answer is home. In the fifth book of the series, Nemesis Games splits up the crew of the Rocinante as they all head to their respective homes. Oddly enough, the separation is the driving force of the novel. The authors push readers to the edge of their seat as they leave you wondering if the crew will ever see each other again. Of course that’s not the only thing going on in the galaxy.
Beyond the crew’s separation anxiety, the powers of Earth, Mars and the Outer Planetary Alliance (OPA) once again find themselves in a make or break situation. This time it’s not an alien weapon threatening destruction. Instead, it’s a radical terrorist group bent on causing so much devastation that everyone will have to stop and take notice of them. While that might sound ordinary or boring, this is a setting where people can travel to other planets. There are entire societies of people who have never set foot on an actual world. Furthermore, it’s a time of colonization and shifting balances of power. The story of humanity is at a crux, a delicate point of transition that could lead to untold evolution or massive self-destruction. In a setting like that, terrorists become something quite different than what we usually think of.
Yet as interesting as that angle of the story is, it’s really only the backdrop for what actually happens. Alex goes to Mars to see his ex-wife. Amos goes to Earth to pay his respects to the only family he’s had. Naomi goes to the Belt to help old friends. Holden is the only one that doesn’t go home. Instead, he stays on Tycho Station with Fred, the leader of the OPA, and his ship, the Rocinante, which might very well be what he now considers home. However he comes to realize it’s not home without its crew, which has also become his family. That in itself is the heart of the story. It goes to great lengths to show readers how much the characters depend on each other. How together they are so much more than their individual selves. Yet the separation allows the authors to explore each character in detail. Who are these people really? It’s an interesting question, and a fun one to explore. Nemesis Games does just that.
If you’re a fan of The Expanse series, the good news is James S.A. Corey have not lost their touch. This is a great, engrossing read that will leave you tense and nervous as the characters are put in peril. They shine like never before. The changes in the galaxy set things up for the next book, but this one will leave you content enough in knowing there will be more. While there are a lot of great spoilers to be had, the fun is in discovering them for yourself in the story. Suffice to say, this one earns a five out of five.
Clearly out of ideas
I loved the first couple of books in this series, but it’s clear the authors ran out of ideas a long way back. I skipped entire chapters of this book because they contained nothing of serious value to the main story.
The Crew Pursue Individual Missions While Events Unfold
In “Nemesis Games” the crew of the Rocinante go on separate missions early in the novel, while the ship gets significant repairs at Tyco Station. Each of these missions is related to unfinished business from their past. Likewise, each of these individual stories provide interesting background for the characters. While these personal problems are being worked out, a larger and deeper plot is unfolding. This over-arching story will change the balance of power in the Solar System, and the course of history. Needless to say, our crew will end up in the thick of these events.
I find that this novel is a good sequel to “Cibola Burn.” I think I actually enjoyed it more, as the threaded narrative focusing on the individual characters really worked for me. It was also nice that it saw the re-introduction of some characters from previous works. It might be good to have read the Expanse Novella “The Churn” before this one as it provides background on characters involved in Amos Burton’s portion of the book.