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Cover Illustration by: Daniel Dociu
Tiamat’s Wrath by James S.A. Corey
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Series: The Expanse (Book #8 of 9)
Genre: Sci-fi, Space Opera
Pages: 560 pages (UK paperback)
Published: 26th March 2019 by Orbit
Wow, I take back what I said before. Tiamat’s Wrath surpassed Caliban’s War and Nemesis Games as the best installment of the series so far.
“Distributed responsibility is the problem. One person gives the order, another carries it out. One can say they didn’t pull the trigger, the other that they were just doing what they were told, and everyone lets themselves off the hook.”
I’m finally caught up with the series. Tiamat’s Wrath is the eight and penultimate volume of The Expanse series by James S. A. Corey. And of course, it’s just my damn luck that out of all the books in the series that I’ve read, this was the only one that made me WANT to immediately read the next volume, and it’s not available yet. Seriously, though, Tiamat’s Wrath was amazing. I think the biggest reason why this one worked so well is that finally, Corey has started to put the narrative on a pedal to the metal. The first sentence of Tiamat’s Wrath sets the tone and implication right from the start that this book will be destructive, and they’re delivered with calculative precision. The pacing was wonderfully addictive, the tension never lets up, and the emotion of the characters was portrayed incredibly well.
“But pacifism only works when your enemy has a conscience.”
It is odd that, somehow, Tiamat’s Wrath managed to become my favorite book of the series so far. I have voiced my complaint several times throughout my reviews of the series that I have issues with having to read non-Rocinante’s crew POV chapters. Thankfully, the two non-Rocinante’s crew POV here—Teresa and this character from Cibola Burn—were so well-written and compelling. This is magnificent, I knew I loved Cibola Burn for a good reason. As for the crew of the Rocinante, they continue to be the burning force of the narrative. I loved these characters; so much has happened, and Tiamat’s Wrath shows how decades of being together meant for these characters. This was what I wanted from Persepolis Rising, and I’m glad I get it here. There’s so much heart, longing, and loneliness. Even though Holden only has two short POV chapters, Corey was able to make sure that the other characters will be able to shoulder the weight of the story.
“There are people I love. There are people who have loved me. I fought for what I believed, protected those I could, and stood my ground against the encroaching darkness. Good enough.”
Now, I also have no idea whether it’s because I’m in the middle of watching the TV series adaptation or not, but for the first time in my experience of reading the books, I REALLY could imagine the space-warfare from the prose. I didn’t realize how much trouble I had with imagining the space-warfare in this series until I actually watched the TV show and wondered: “Did I even read this scene?” This happened several times. But not with Tiamat’s Wrath. There was so much adrenaline rush, and the badass Valkyrie scene (only readers who’ve read this book will understand what I mean here) was most likely the best scene of the entire series so far.
“You take care of your tools, your tools take care of you.”
To avoid spoilers for the series, I will have to make this review much shorter than usual. Seriously, almost everything inside this book can be considered a spoiler for the previous books in the series. However, I hope my point on the quality of this installment has been delivered successfully in this review. To put it simply, Tiamat’s Wrath is The Expanse at its maximum height, and I’m very curious to find out whether the final volume, Leviathan Falls, will be able to top this one.
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