Story - I loved the story put forth in this book. With all of the complex politics and world building it would be very easy to loose the story in all of the details that the author could have piled on us. Instead we get a clear, engaging mystery that has a beginning, middle and end while still leaving tons of room for future stories. I am always impressed, especially in hard core sci fi and an author(s) can produce a readable story that is as fresh and original as this one. I think the fact that the authors pulled in elements of noir, horror, mystery and a the perfect amount of humor really brought this story into the realm of a great read. In the end we are left with an intriguing mystery that has just the right amount of twists and reveals that also lets us learn about the characters and the universe. Good show guys good show.
Characters - The characters of this book were spot on. Each main character was full developed with their own stories, belief's, moral code and attitude. I felt like I could walk up to any of them and know exactly who they were. The interactions between the characters was superb, with each interaction adding to the story and the picture of each character. Miller and Holden's interactions were my favorite as the authors used them to show both sides of almost every situation. They would have discussions and arguments and by the time they were done, you could at a minimum agree that they both had valid points. I love this because it made the book feel balanced and fair and that the authors were not trying to shove any sort of agenda down your throats. I also liked how every character stayed in character...what I mean is nobody did anything wildly out of character just to further the story. Character rocked it.
Editing - The way the book was set up, with each chapter focusing on a specific character that we got to know very well was the perfect format for this book. It was easy to follow, engaging and we got all the information we needed to understand exactly what was going on. Sometimes in these epic sagas I have to flip back a couple pages to make sure I understand what I am reading, but this book flowed so smoothly. Considering that two separate authors worked on this book, makes this feat even more amazing. Go editors!
Language - The use of language in this book added a lot to the clarification and understanding of the various places in the universe. For instance the Belters have their own lingo, stringing together words and phrases in a way that would only make sense to a native. The closer to the inner planets you get the more refined the language becomes. The characters also have a habit of giving names to things they have never seen before. My personal favorite is vomit zombies, which is what they call the inhabitants of Eros station that have been infected by the alien virus. It has got to be one of the most descriptive yet simple labels I have ever heard and I now use it in my everyday vernacular. Each character also has a distinct voice that the authors wrote to reflect each particular individuals background and life. Overall the language of this book was used to enhance the world building to a very effective degree.
Julie Mao - I'm gonna give this character her own space 'cause for all that she is only physically present in the book for a couple of pages, her existence is pretty much the whole basis for this book. I found it brave and interesting that the actions of this girl, who made choices and decisions that any of us would have made are pretty much the catalyst for so many things in this book. I also like how well we got to know her as a person and how the characters also got to know her in their own ways. This is all very crucial near the end, when this feeling of knowing...and in Detective Millers case, loving Julie, leads to the understanding of how the virus is controlling the station. Julie is very much a present character through out the entire story despite her pretty much being dead from the beginning. She is important to us not only in the beginning, but through out the book as she becomes part of each step of the mystery and in particular what she becomes to Detective Miller. It is a great way to add a bit of an unusual twist to the story.
TV Show - The Syfy channel has attempted to make this into a tv show called The Expanse and in all honesty it's not bad. My biggest issue with it is that after the clear and directness of the book, the tv show actually feels overly complicated...which is weird 'cause usually I'm upset because they over simplify things. That being said the show really tried hard, and in most cases succeeded in showing us the various places in the universe and their disparate societies. It is visually stunning and the casting is pretty well done. I know they are trying to get the politic and such across...I just wish they had stuck to the cleaner format. I will however be watching the next season so there is that.
Overall Impression - In case you hadn't figured it out, I really enjoyed this book. It is everything I want a science fiction book...well any book really to be. It avoided many of the pitfalls that these sweeping epics tend to fall into and left me with a very readable, very enjoyable, very good book. I am desperately hoping this quality keeps up through out the series and will without a doubt be picking up the next book. I give this book 8 out of 10 textured fungus skewers and recommend it to any fan of science fiction, epics, or just a great combination of story, world building and character.
Happy Reading Everybody!