The Laconian Empire has fallen, setting the 1,300 solar systems free from the rule of Winston Duarte. But the ancient enemy that killed the gate builders is awake, and the war against our universe has begun again.
In the dead system of Adro, Elvi Okoye leads a desperate scientific mission to understand what the gate builders were and what destroyed them, even if it means compromising herself and the half-alien children who bear the weight of her investigation. Through the wide-flung systems of humanity, Colonel Aliana Tanaka hunts for Duarte’s missing daughter…and the shattered emperor himself. And on the Rocinante, James Holden and his crew struggle to build a future for humanity out of the shards and ruins of all that has come before.
As nearly unimaginable forces prepare to annihilate all human life, Holden and a group of unlikely allies discover a last, desperate chance to unite all of humanity, with the promise of a vast galactic civilization free from wars, factions, lies, and secrets if they win.
But the price of victory may be worse than the cost of defeat.
Author: James S. A. Corey
Narrator: Jefferson Mays
Publisher: Recorded Books
Audio Release Date: 30/11/2021
Running Time: 19hrs 40mins
Genre: Science Fiction
Series: The Expanse #9
My Rating of ‘Leviathan Falls’: 3 out of 5
Leviathan Falls is the ninth and final book in the Expanse series. This being a series I have really enjoyed, despite a few of them feeling a tad underwhelming. On the whole, the series has felt fun and relatively fresh compared to other stuff I’d picked up. I had high hopes going into this as it had been one of the few books I’d been looking forward to all year.
Sadly, my high hopes were perhaps set a fraction too high. For me, at least, Leviathan Falls didn’t deliver as a big finale. It wasn’t bad, it just never felt truly great either. I think the best way to describe it is: it was fine. Inoffensive, yet never in real danger of grabbing you by the shirt collar and dragging you along for a rip-roaring good time. It was just … fine.
My main issues were the pacing and the repetitive nature of large parts of the book. It genuinely felt like the authors were struggling to make it to the five-hundred page mark and so we were treated to far too much of the mental intrusions of the protomolecule. Have it happen a few times, sure, let us know what’s going on. But giving so much time over to it, when it was essentially doing the same thing over and over again without any real progression? It just felt a tad stale by the time I got to the three quarter point.
I really enjoyed the character progression that has gone on throughout this series and it carried on here. In book one (Leviathan Wakes) we have a crew of young people and, as the series go on, we see them grow and age. No more so apparent as in this book. You genuinely feel the aches and pains that will be coursing through their aged bodies as they try to do what their younger selves would have taken for granted. The attention to detail on that was wonderful. Other character arcs were equally enjoyable and, due to the spoiler nature of said arcs, I’ll not say anything more about them.
My issues aside with this book, I really enjoyed both the ending and the epilogue. The ending had a very complete and final feel to it that I feel the series deserved (I just wish we’d have avoided the padding along the way to get to it). The epilogue also did a wonderful job of leaving things open to revisit the world of the The Expanse in the future to give a whole new set of stories a run through with new characters in a new time. I don’t know if that’s the plan, but I’d totally be up for it if it was.
All in all, the series had some incredible highs, some slow-going lows and everything in-between. If you’re a science fiction fan, this really is a series you need to try if nothing else.
As ever, Jefferson Mays’ narration was downright perfect. His work made me insanely happy I opted for the audio books rather than the physical or e-book. Bravo to Mr Mays, I look forward to hunting down some of his narrations in the future.