Abaddon’s Gate by James S.A. Corey
My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars
Series: The Expanse (Book #3 of 9)
Genre: Sci-fi, Space opera
Pages: 560 pages (UK paperback edition)
Published: 4th July 2013 by Orbit
This was underwhelming; my least favorite novel in the series so far.
Please tell me I’m not the only one who thought this was subpar. Abaddon’s Gate, the third book in The Expanse series by James S.A. Corey duo, was honestly a struggle for me to finish. The story begins almost a year since the end of Caliban’s War, and although it started interesting and wholesome, I overall have mixed feelings about it. I do think that Abaddon’s Gate is the weakest installment out of three books I’ve read in the series so far. Holden and the crew of Rocinante were entertaining, and reading their gradual development remain as one of the main strengths of the book, but they didn’t have enough spotlight here. Plus, for almost the entirety of the book, the setting of Abaddon’s Gate takes place inside a spaceship; it didn’t have that intergalactic scale feeling that the previous two books have. To be honest, this book felt like filler. There’s one gigantic conflict that needed solve as quickly as possible, but instead, the characters just spent the entirety of the book bickering with each other, talking about religion and preaching their respective moral code.
“Violence is what people do when they run out of good ideas. It’s attractive because it’s simple, it’s direct, it’s almost always available as an option. When you can’t think of a good rebuttal for your opponent’s argument, you can always punch them in the face.”
The final action sequences felt almost as if Corey didn’t know what to do anymore and just decided to have the characters shooting at each other for so many pages—at least that’s how it felt to me—until the book is finished. When it comes down to it, I think my biggest issue with this book can be narrowed down to the fact that I couldn’t find myself invested with any of the new main characters. Although the new perspective characters did make the standalone and formulaic style story fresh in terms of narrative, it’s too risky to do because each new installment requires us to know three new main characters over and over again. The characters in Caliban’s War was incredibly compelling, and they’re too good to not have an immediate follow-up; not even small appearances. Anna, Melba, and Bull, in my opinion, were so uninteresting and forgettable; they pale in comparison to Miller, Avasarala, and Bobby that made the previous books shine. Due to my detachment with the characters, Melba’s story of revenge became boring, and Anna’s self-righteous virtue of “don’t do this don’t do that, but I won’t do anything except preach” ended up annoying me so much.
“Show a human a closed door, and no matter how many open doors she finds, she’ll be haunted by what might be behind it.”
I haven’t watched the TV series past season 2, but my instinct voiced that I would prefer Abaddon’s Gate on the screen than on the text. Abaddon’s Gate was sadly underwhelming to me, but same with all long-series that spans more than five volumes, there’s bound to be one or two that missed the mark, and I still look forward to reading Cibola Burn in a few weeks.
“If humanity were capable of being satisfied, then they’ll still be living in trees and eating bugs out of one another’s fur.”
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