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Cover Illustration by: Daniel Dociu
Persepolis Rising by James S.A. Corey
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Series: The Expanse (Book #7 of 9)
Genre: Sci-fi, Space Opera
Pages: 576 pages (UK paperback)
Published: 7th December 2017 by Orbit (UK) & 5th December 2017 by Orbit (US)
This was another good volume in The Expanse, but I must say that the series is starting to overstay its welcome to me.
“I actually read history. It’s like reading prophecy, you know.”
Persepolis Rising is the seventh book in The Expanse series by James S.A. Corey, and I’m glad to say that it signaled the beginning of the end of the series. Now that I’m seven books into the series, I think I will now admit—with much pain—that this series is slightly overrated to me. I really feel that the series has hit its peak at Nemesis Games and there is no sign of it ever reaching that state again; I obviously welcome Tiamat’s Wrath or Leviathan’s Fall to prove me wrong. For those of you who don’t know, Persepolis Rising featured the biggest time jump—thirty years if I’m not mistaken—in the series so far, but really, if it wasn’t mentioned in the narrative, I probably wouldn’t have guessed it’s been that long.
“Your empire’s hands look a lot cleaner when you get to dictate where history begins and what parts of it don’t count.”
That could be the intention of the narrative; no matter how long time passes, history, violence, and conflicts will keep on repeating itself. Dictatorship and different factions keeps on rising to make sure the crew of Rocinante never catches a break, and this is once again highlighted here. But I’m a bit curious. If it’s true that thirty years have passed, how come nothing seems to have changed for each of the crew of Rocinante personality-wise and feelings-wise. We’re speaking about thirty years here, not just a few years. Time-skip isn’t particularly a new thing for Daniel Abraham—one of the duo of James S.A. Corey—to put into his story, he has done it in his Long Price Quartet series, and I personally found what he put in Long Price Quartet to be significantly better than what he implemented in The Expanse.
“Because we’re human, and humans are mean, independent monkeys that reached their greatness by killing every other species of hominid that looked at us funny.”
However, these were minor issues I had with the book. At the end of the day, my issues with Persepolis Rising are the same issues I had with the series; history repeats itself. I could read about the crew of Rocinante as long as it takes; give me stories about them non-stop from their POV. Corey’s characterizations for this crew is nothing short of great, and I enjoyed every moment of my time with them. For the past six books, we spent most of our reading time reading through Holden’s perspective. Here? He was missing for almost the entirety of the second half of this novel. The absence of Holden did give a new tension and emotion to the storyline, but it also means I have to read more of the new character’s POV. By this entry, I pretty much have close to zero emotional connection to all the new characters.
“Don’t let things sit for too long. It’s always tempting to just ignore the things that aren’t actually on fire just at the moment, but then you’re also committing to spend your time putting out fires.”
Persepolis Rising felt like a foundational volume; it’s like the beginning of a new trilogy within The Expanse series. Thankfully, the book did end very strongly, but I won’t be keeping my hopes up for the next one. I have sounded pretty negative, but believe me, this was overall still a good book; the problems I had with it just stood out to me more than the good parts—the crew of Rocinante is great to follow as always. I won’t lie; I’m reading The Expanse right now just for completionist sake. I have come this far, there’s no way I’m stopping now. Onwards to Tiamat’s Wrath next month.
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