Leviathan Wakes (The Expanse #1) by James S.A. Corey – An Audiobook Review

Leviathan Wakes


Humanity has colonized the planets – interstellar travel is still beyond our reach, but the solar system has become a dense network of colonies. But there are tensions – the mineral-rich outer planets resent their dependence on Earth and Mars and the political and military clout they wield over the Belt and beyond. 

Now, when Captain Jim Holden’s ice miner stumbles across a derelict, abandoned ship, he uncovers a secret that threatens to throw the entire system into war. Attacked by a stealth ship belonging to the Mars fleet, Holden must find a way to uncover the motives behind the attack, stop a war and find the truth behind a vast conspiracy that threatens the entire human race.

Author: James S.A. Corey

Narrator: Jefferson Mays

Series: The Expanse #1

Run Time: 19hrs 9 mins

Audio Release Date: 15/01/15

Publisher: Hachette Audio

My Rating of ‘Leviathan Wakes’: 5 out of 5

Purchase: Audible UKAudible USAmazon UKAmazon US



I remember watching season one of the Expanse and really enjoying it. I didn’t go any further as I discovered it was a book series and decided I’d rather read than watch. So I waited for a year or so until the memory of the majority of the plot had almost faded and then waded in with the audio book.

One positive I can say for the show is that it stuck very true to the overall plot of the first novel. Obviously there are more political moments and what not than in the novel, with a lot of characters that don’t appear in book one (but do in later books) but that’s artistic licence for you.

For those unfamiliar with the plot; it follows two drastically different men as they both work toward the same goals (even if they aren’t aware of it for the most part. A deadly virus-like entity is on the loose and it’s down to our unlikely heroes to figure out where it came from, who let it loose and what it is being used for.

Unlike the series, you don’t have the politicking from Earth and Mars, you just have two point of views (James Holden and Detective Miller). This dual pov works really well and keeps the pulse racing as these two are by far the most interesting (to me at least) of any of the characters in the show. The dynamic between Holden and his crew is fantastic, each of them have their own very distinct personality and each feels fully fleshed out and, dare I say, real. My personal favourite is probably Amos. Gotta love his ‘if it looks at me funny I’ll smash it until it looks the other way’ philosophy. Given the fact that he’s actually really intelligent, I think giving him the ‘dumb brute’ character adds to him greatly.

If I had one drawback for the book, it would be how the author/s (there are two, James S. A. Corey being a pen name for two authors working together on this) ALWAYS describe any Martian speech as ‘drawl’. Yes. We get it. Martians have a cowboy accent. Considering Daniel Abraham is one of the authors, and an incredibly talented one at that, I’d think that a different adjective other than ‘drawled’ could be use to describe Martian speech. It does get very samey and annoying.

Back to the topic of language, I like how people from the Belt have their own cant. The Belter language sounds like a mix of Spanish and German and works really well when showcasing the divide between the Belt and other worlds. Gives you that slum kind of feel and how they know Earth and Mars look down at them.

The narration for this one was very good. There was no outlandish attempts to put wildly different voices on for the characters (given the fact a Martian is one of the main characters, there could well have been some annoying over the top cowboy accents flying around, but thankfully there wasn’t.) Each of the voices were fairly subtle and because of that it seemed to gel a little more smoothly than it could have done. So bravo Jefferson Mays on that one.

I have already downloaded the sequel and can’t wait to get deeper and deeper into the series as a whole. I have been waiting for a sci-fi that I could get stuck into and really enjoy for so long. Peter F. Hamilton was a bust for me, so it’s nice to have found this. I just hope my enjoyment keeps up until the last page of the last book.

10 thoughts on “Leviathan Wakes (The Expanse #1) by James S.A. Corey – An Audiobook Review

  1. Great review.👍📚 I really enjoyed the book too, can’t remember which book I got to in the series before I just stopped reading the new releases.😂 No real reason, they didn’t turn bad I’m just very hit or miss with SFF. If I remember correctly it was due to be a trilogy originally and due to the success they kept on writing and releasing new books and they are still being released.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yea, I noticed you scored the first three highly on Goodreads. I am part way through book 3 and think they have 7 out so far. They are written as stand alones that link together. So there isn’t a bad place to stop. I can see myself giving it a break after book 3 as I don’t like too much of the same genre in a row.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. First things first, I’m always happy to see another “convert” to what I think is the best space opera on the shelves these years. And I can tell you – having reached book 8, the next-to-last in the series – that from here it only gets better. Should you be interested in more Belter patois, I’m happy to share this link: https://www.memrise.com/course/1476694/lang-belta-belter-creole-phrasebook/
    Enjoy 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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