Monday, July 16, 2012

Leviathan Wakes- Sword and Laser Review

I read Leviathan Wakes as part of my ongoing participation in the Sword and Laser Book Club (which I love). I'm doing it to prove I can manage to be a member in a book club, and to read stuff I would never in a million years pick up on my own to read. This is the "laser" pick for July and this review has been cross-posted on Goodreads.

This was my first space opera. I found it to be a chore to get through, but I can honestly say I didn't hate it. Here is what I enjoyed: all of the flight and fight stuff. I thought the battles between the ships and stations were awesome. I thought the creation of the culture of the Belters was really great. I wanted to read more about them. The overall story was complex enough to keep me guessing, and spelled out simply enough that I got it when it was revealed.
I thought Naomi was pretty cool (and fake Julie, in her own way). But, for the size of this book, there is no major character development. None. Who is Fred beyond what he is famous for and the fact that his smile indicates his mood? He's a mystery. Who is Naomi, really? To me, Amos and Alex were interchangeable and I still could not tell you which one was a pilot and which one liked hookers. Honestly, it probably would have helped to not have two "A" names there.

And if you asked me to describe Miller or Holder, I couldn't. Holden is a goody goody and Miller is his opposite. That's about it. I didn't know what kind of person Miller was that by staring at some case files he could become obsessed with a wild teenager. Holden grew up in a unusual family, but we get such few glimpses of them.

So, on the backs of this very thin cast of characters we have this crazy, action packed plot about three areas of the universe all trying to kill each other and an alien life form that is never allowed to become really scary because the one character who gets the alien and who is trying to explain why this is the BIGGEST THREAT mankind has ever faced is silenced after a few paragraphs.

If there had been even one character I could get behind, if there had been one person on a quest
that mattered (because, let's face it, most of these characters had little to lose if the Earth blew up: Miller- beyond caring about anything, Holden-some family (but imagine if he had a CHILD on Earth), Alex/Amos (one a Martian, the other I forget, but no connection to Earth). And the Belters themselves wanted to be free of Earth. The Martians wanted free of Earth. If no one cares about Earth (who come off as corporate mafia in the beginning of the book anyway) why should I be invested?

I never mind a time clock in a story. We have such and such amount of hours to get this done...or else! But the damn clock reset in this one so many times, I didn't care anymore. You have 27 hours. I need more time. Okay! Take more time!

So, don't misunderstand. I did not hate this book, I just felt like it went in five thousand directions and none of them hit a solid target. Everyday I sat down and read and sometimes the pages turned fast, but most times I was left feeling empty. I hope this does not ruin space operas for me. I probably wont let it.

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