Abaddon’s Gate (The Expanse #3), by James S.A. Corey

Abaddon’s Gate by James S.A. Corey

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow, what a ride!

After the excellent “Leviathan Wakes” and the almost equally great “Caliban’s War” here I’m sitting and wondering what to write about this more than worthy successor…

When I first encountered the “The Expanse” series, I was sceptical:

– I do not like science fiction literature.
– I do not like soap operas (so why would I like a “Space Opera”?)
– I do not like author’s killing off their heroes (GRRM, I’m looking at you!)

What I came to realise, though, is that James S.A. Corey has extremely interesting stories to tell and the means to seemingly effortlessly tell them in a way that keeps me coming back for more.

As in its predecessors, in “Abaddon’s Gate” the alien protomolecule plays a major role and, of course, Holden, Naomi, Alex and Amos are with us again, too.
In addition, we get to meet new people like Bull, an OPA operative, Anna, a preacher, and yet another member of the Mao clan.

As has been Corey’s forte before, every single character feels believable; like a living, breathing person. All of them change and develop which is something I value very, very highly in a book if it’s intrinsically plausible.

Corey is not only masterfully presenting his story and characters but has an impeccable feeling for pacing: Often we’re breathlessly following the rapid developments and at other times we get the time to savour the story, the characters – the entire range of human emotions which few authors can stimulate as brilliantly as Corey does.

“Abaddon’s Gate” is not entirely easy to love, though: It’s, again, pretty dark in tone and setting. There are hopeful “undercurrents” during the entire book, though, that kept me from falling into depression – even when a minor yet very wonderful character dies.

As if all that wasn’t yet enough to make this book a pretty much instant favourite of mine, there are major human topics that get addressed in a very decent and remarkably unobtrusive way: From complex and, oftentimes, difficult subjects like forgiveness and redemption to somewhat easier ones like our insatiable curiosity (which tends to kill the proverbial cat…) and many others.

Just like the books before it, “Abaddon’s Gate” is to quote myself “challenging, long, complex and dark but of an overall quality that makes it feel like it pretty much plays in its own league.”

Here’s to hoping the series goes on like that!

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