Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey
(The Expanse)

80%

30 Critic Reviews

The story rips along, driven by two main characters who don't like each other, each of whom has his own uncompromising morality. Even more compelling than the pace, though, is the sense of possibility.
-WSJ online

Synopsis

This book is the basis for the first season of The Expanse, now a major television series from Syfy!
Leviathan Wakes is James S. A. Corey's first novel in the epic, New York Times bestselling series the Expanse, a modern masterwork of science fiction where humanity has colonized the solar system.

Two hundred years after migrating into space, mankind is in turmoil. When a reluctant ship's captain and washed-up detective find themselves involved in the case of a missing girl, what they discover brings our solar system to the brink of civil war, and exposes the greatest conspiracy in human history.


The ExpanseLeviathan WakesCaliban's WarAbaddon's GateCibola BurnNemesis Games
The Expanse Short FictionThe Butcher of Anderson StationGods of RiskThe ChurnDriveThe Vital Abyss
 

About James S.A. Corey

See more books from this Author
James S.A. Corey is the pen name of fantasy author Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck. They both live in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Find out more about this series at www.the-expanse.com.
 
Published June 15, 2011 by Orbit. 583 pages
Genres: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Action & Adventure, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Leviathan Wakes
All: 30 | Positive: 26 | Negative: 4

Kirkus

Good
on Mar 02 2011

...Corey really excels is in conveying the horror and stupidity of interplanetary war, the sheer vast emptiness of space and the amorality of huge corporations. A huge, churning, relentlessly entertaining melodrama buoyed by confidence that human values will prevail.

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Publishers Weekly

Excellent
on Dec 18 2016

...Holden and Miller fight and think their way through a sticky web of politics, corporate secrets, and a possible alien invasion. The strong characterization and excellent world-building will have readers jonesing for the planned sequels.

Read Full Review of Leviathan Wakes (The Expanse) | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly

WSJ online

Good
Reviewed by Tom Shippey on Jul 02 2011

The story rips along, driven by two main characters who don't like each other, each of whom has his own uncompromising morality. Even more compelling than the pace, though, is the sense of possibility.

Read Full Review of Leviathan Wakes (The Expanse) | See more reviews from WSJ online

Financial Times

Good
Reviewed by James Lovegrove on Jun 17 2011

Space-opera sagas are often reactionary and galumphing, but Corey – a pseudonym for two authors, Ty Franck and Daniel Abraham – has created a refreshingly blue-collar tale, with well-drawn characters and a compelling narrative sweep. Roll on Book Two.

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The Bookbag

Good
Reviewed by Becky Hazlett on Jun 01 2011

It's well written, not at all predictable and has flashes of humour, particularly in the interaction between Holden's crew members. Lots of action; guns, battles in space and on the ground, kidnappings, rioting etc to keep you entertained. The incomprehensible dialects of some Belters are a nice touch, adding depth to the novel as a whole.

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Pajiba

Good
Reviewed by alwaysanswerb on Mar 01 2013

...Leviathan Wakes avoids similar pitfalls. Overall, I'd recommend this. I think it's great modern sci-fi, and I understand that (like everything else) it's part of a series, so I'll probably be picking up the next installment.

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Tor

Good
Reviewed by Jo Walton on Jan 12 2012

Leviathan Wakes has satisfying volume completion — which is something I have come to expect from Abraham...If you like science fiction with great characters and set in real space, you’ll enjoy this one.

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Tor

Good
Reviewed by Aidan Moher on Jun 20 2011

Leviathan Wakes is space opera for the masses. It asks for little from its readers other than that they show up and enjoy the ride, no doctorate in quantum mechanics necessary.

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SFFWorld.com

Above average
Reviewed by Luke Brown on Nov 04 2015

The story is told in chapters that alternate between the two points of view. Things escalate quickly. The solar system and humanity are threatened. Ships explode. In space.

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SF Signal

Good
Reviewed by Paul Weimer on May 21 2012

Leviathan Wakes is fun and high class New Old-School Space Opera and Space Adventure. It’s an ecological niche that, although full of books and authors has not gotten a lot of wide respect for a long time. Now, it seems Abraham and Franck, with their Hugo and Locus nominated novel, seem intent to change that.

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SF Signal

Good
Reviewed by Andrew Liptak on May 13 2011

In short, Leviathan Wakes is a book that was quite a lot of fun for me to read: it covered a lot of miles...and introduces an extremely well thought out world...The Expanse is a series that’ll make a bit of a splash, and it’s time to fasten your seat belts: you’re in for a great ride.

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io9

Above average
Reviewed by Annalee Newitz on May 16 2011

...we never really understand the motives of Mars and Earth in the war that's being waged. Nor do we understand the corporate players involved...Still, the book is a fun ride and the perfect thing for a long summer afternoon by the beach or the air conditioner.

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Thinking About Books

Above average
Reviewed by David Marshall on Oct 10 2011

Looking back from the end, Leviathan Wakes is a reasonably good story, but getting to the end is a bit of a struggle. Ask yourself why you read SF. If it’s just for the ideas and you don’t care whether it’s well written or not, this is for you.

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Fantasy Book Review

Good
Reviewed by Joshua S Hill and Stephanie Gelder on Dec 31 2015

This book is pure Space Opera. Don’t sit there analysing it, just breath it in and enjoy the romp. It’s intelligent, fast paced and just daft enough to be great fun.

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The Book Smugglers

Above average
on Dec 14 2016

Despite some unevenness midstory and a bit of tedious repetition in the character building department, Leviathan Wakes ends with a dramatic flourish, full of promise for the subsequent books in the Expanse series. I, for one, will definitely be around to check them out.

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Raging Biblioholism

Good
Reviewed by Drew on Dec 11 2015

There’s plenty of universe-building and the gumshoe plot relies a little too heavily on its noir roots, both of which contribute to a lull in the pacing towards the middle, but once the logistics are out of the way, the novel takes off...

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http://blogs.slj.com

Good
Reviewed by Angela Carstensen on Aug 25 2011

No matter which character readers think is right, however, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that Miller is the real hero of the novel...For teens with any tolerance for large-scale science fiction, this novel should not be missed.

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Fantasy Book Critic

Good
on Jun 11 2011

Overall, Leviathan Wakes is an amazing book. In fact, there is not a single negative thing I can say about the novel, which delivers in all phases including setting, characterization, story, pacing, prose, and from a purely entertainment standpoint.

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Grasping For The Wind

Good
Reviewed by John Ottinger III on Jun 14 2011

It is Star Wars freed of budgetary constraints, Ian M. Banks without the cultural moralizing, and epic space adventure sans the need for a physics degree. Leviathan Wakes is approachable, easy-to-read, and entertaining.

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Having Said That

Above average
on Feb 02 2016

As fun as the story gets in its craziness (think the talking plants in Scott Smith’s The Ruins), the story does take things just a step too far for me...

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The Wertzone

Good
Reviewed by Adam Whitehead on Feb 10 2011

...a ridiculously entertaining space opera, let down perhaps by only a couple of coincidences and moments of dramatic convenience. Otherwise it's a relentless, page-turning novel with some great character-building.

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http://tyngasreviews.com

Good
Reviewed by Robert on Jan 20 2016

Leviathan Wakes by James S. A. Corey is an entertaining space opera that will both engage and intrigue most readers. There are many scenes of harsh violence and some mature discussions all of which lands in the PG13 rating but, not too deeply.

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Tyson Adams

Excellent
on Jan 10 2016

There is a lot going on in the novel: it touches on elements of many genres (noir, mystery, hard sci-fi, etc); it maintains a brisk pace/tension; has elements of social and political commentary (anyone else notice the WikiLeaks ethos reference?); and combines some interesting characters with an interesting plot.

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Escapism Through Books

Excellent
on Mar 30 2012

I loved this book. I loved the world(s), and the characters, and, well, everything. This worked perfectly as a stand-alone novel, but I definitely cannot wait to read more of this series.

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SciFiMovieHype

Above average
Reviewed by James O'Ehley on May 25 2012

Leviathan Wakes may be flawed in that the last half of the book isn’t as good as the first half, but the chances are quite excellent that you’d want to pick up future installments in this welcome new series. Check it out.

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https://theguildedearlobe.wordpress.com

Good
on May 09 2012

In Leviathan Wakes, James SA Corey has created a realistic vision of Earth’s space faring future. Full of well developed characters, grand adventure and complex ethical situations, Leviathan Wakes is solid science fiction, delivering thrills while making you think.

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Cheryl's Mewsings

Good
on Dec 31 2015

There’s plenty more to come, but equally Leviathan Wakes works well on its own. Hopefully it will also cause its readers to ponder the value of radical transparency...If a book leads people to think that some things are more complicated than they seem on the Internet, I’m all in favour of it.

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https://littleredreviewer.wordpress.com

Good
Reviewed by Redhead on Jul 03 2012

How I knew I loved Leviathan Wakes? I remember everyone’s name, even the dead girl. And I’m pretty sure their names will be with me for a long, long time. If you are looking for a good space opera, look no further, you’ve found it.

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https://cannonballread4.wordpress.com

Good
Reviewed by TylerDFC on May 12 2012

At 600+ pages this book very much is the definition of “epic” but by the time it is done you will just want more. I loved it...

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https://ladybusiness.dreamwidth.org

Above average
Reviewed by Renay on Aug 11 2013

I'm not against the whole "brothels in space" trope, but it does get tiring when the trope paints people who engage in sex work, due to personal choice, as broken...Ugh, I love space adventures. brb getting the next book immediately.

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Reader Rating for Leviathan Wakes
83%

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