Babylon’s Ashes by James S. A. Corey – An Audiobook Review

Babylons Ashes


A revolution brewing for generations has begun in fire. It will end in blood.

The Free Navy – a violent group of Belters in black-market military ships – has crippled the Earth and begun a campaign of piracy and violence among the outer planets.

The colony ships heading for the 1,000 new worlds on the far side of the alien ring gates are easy prey, and no single navy remains strong enough to protect them. James Holden and his crew know the strengths and weaknesses of this new force better than anyone.

Outnumbered and outgunned, the embattled remnants of the old political powers call on the Rocinante for a desperate mission to reach Medina Station at the heart of the gate network. But the new alliances are as flawed as the old, and the struggle for power has only just begun.

As the chaos grows, an alien mystery deepens. Pirate fleets, mutiny and betrayal may be the least of the Rocinante’s problems. And in the uncanny spaces past the ring gates, the choices of a few damaged and desperate people may determine the fate of more than just humanity.


Author: James S. A. Corey

Narrator: Jefferson Mays

Run Time: 19hrs 58 mins

Series: The Expanse #6

Publisher: Hachette Audio

Audio Release Date: 08/12/2016

My Rating of ‘Babylon’s Ashes’: 4 out of 5

Purchase: Audible UKAudible USAmazon UKAmazon US



For me, The Expanse has been a series of very highs and very lows. The very high’s being books such as Caliban’s War and Cibola Burn. The very lows being Abaddon’s Gate. Babylon’s Ashes sits somewhere uncomfortably in the middle.
It’s not a bad book and I’d rarely speak it in the same paragraph as Abaddon’s Gate (I prefer to just not think of that one), but it’s not the best in this series either. Not by far. As a whole, the story is pretty good. The characters drive this way more than the story seems to, however. Fortunately, it’s populated with awesome characters. Unfortunately, it’s populated with far too many as main point of view characters. Standard form for an Expanse novel seems to be four POV characters. Babylon’s Ashes easily doubles that number and, although one or two extra are needed to a degree, some of them are just re-hashing what’s happened with other characters and felt too much like they were there for the main purpose of padding out the book.
The story itself, as I mentioned, is good. It’s just not exciting. In fact, I don’t think it was ever in danger of being that exciting from start to finish. Perhaps the best way to describe it is a more conservative story than an explosive one. The lack of excitement is made up by the fact that A LOT of important things happen that you just know will have a massive bearing on the story going forward. Certain moments I feel could have been more dynamic and gone out with a bit more of a bang than the quiet whimper we were given, but the fact that these things happened is massive as far as the Expanse universe is concerned. That sounds a tad contradictive, but it’s less explosive action and a lot more political moving and shaking.
So, although it sounds more negative than positive, this book still gets a four out of five from me due to how much it puts into the over-arching story that’s being told. It also has Avasarala being Avasarala, which is enough to keep me interested most of the time.
I can only hope the next book benefits from the mass amounts of stuff happening in this one in the same way Cibola Burn did from Abaddon’s Gate. Really looking forward to seeing what happens next.

13 thoughts on “Babylon’s Ashes by James S. A. Corey – An Audiobook Review

  1. I’m still stuck on this. I keep stalling 20% or so through, but I’ve tried the audio version and dislike the reader, so… but it’s good that you liked it! Hopefully I’ll get on it sometime soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sometimes voices just grate on you. So many narrator’s I’ve quit an audio book over. Had to stop with Isac Asimov’s ‘Foundation’ due to the fact that the narrator took lengthy pauses whenever he felt like it

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yup, I tried three times to read Arden’s ‘The Bear & the Nightingale’ but couldn’t stand whenever the read tried to imitate a Russian accent or pronounce a Slavic word.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. It was not an easy “job” to follow up on Nemesis Games, and that might be the reason for your partial disappointment with this book: my own expectations were slightly frustrated when I read this one. That is, until I understood that it was a… transition novel and that it opened the way for what will come next, and transitions are not always easy 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hm. I’m somehow not encouraged to read this after reading your review 😉 I liked Nemesis Games enough, but this sounds like a lot of padding and breaking ground for the next installments, not a story in its own right.

    Liked by 1 person

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