The universe that James Corey has set up within the first few chapters of Leviathan Wakes is astounding. The story is set in the future when humans have the technology to colonize the planets and their moons. I like that we get exact figures for some of the populations – Jupiter’s moons have 45 million people for instance. It makes the world feel more real. The solar system is gritty – the same flaws that we have on Earth, exist all the way out to Uranus. Racism and classism are ever present among the characters’ thoughts. Right before Miller gets reassigned, he bonds with his boss Captain Shaddid over some “shared racism.” On Ceres, it seems as though people born in the inner planets are looked down upon. We also see how Julie Mao is treated in the eyes of Miller – rich, college girl unable of taking care of herself.
Of course, when we meet Julie, she is anything but weak. Julie is the POV character for the prologue and she is in dire straits. Her ship, the Scopuli, got invaded by some sort of space pirates. She is being held in storage and if she makes a noise, she is to be shot. She makes it 8 days before snapping. Shit is rough in here as she’s been peeing in a bag for days. She is ready to die before starving to death and she starts kicking the door. Maybe she should have tried this before day 8? She is able to break open the door behind some very powerful jiu jitsu kicks. After breaking out of captivity, the ship is eerily empty. She follows a bloody trail to the engineering deck. Captain Darron’s head is there with the message “Help Me” (I presume this was written, I was unclear)
We also get POV chapters from Executive Officer Holden and Detective Miller. I found the Holden part to be more enjoyable as we get introduced to a wealth of characters on board his ship, The Canterbury. It’s a transport ship, carrying water from Saturn to the asteroid belt. They are rerouted by the distress call from Julie. I like the debate the ensues – in the Expanse universe, there is a law that deems you must help a ship in distress. Space is so unforgiving. The captain wants to skirt responsibilities, but Holden steers them towards rescue.
Holden has a relationship with Ade, one of the techs aboard The Canterbury. She is an Earther from Nigeria and she wants to keep it way more casual than Holden. Holden’s trying to go steady and she’s keeping him at arm’s length. She does seem to give in – there seems to be a power dynamic at play here – she agrees to cook him dinner the next night. Am I in for a will they won’t they relationship a la Jim and Pam?
I’m having a harder time imagining the world of Ceres and thus having a more difficult time enjoying the Miller chapter. I have to keep remembering that The Belters are all tall, skinny, and brittle (I may be making brittle up). We get a lot on the organized crime of Ceres, in particular a group called the Golden Bough. I bet we will be hearing from them again – perhaps this is the company that invaded the Scopuli. Miller gets reassigned to find Julie Mao. Who will get to her first – Holden’s crew or Miller? I appreciate how James Corey has set up a plot with three different storylines converging on each other within 2 chapters and a prologue.
What is Julie really wrapped up in?
What happened on the ship with the distress signal?
Will Julie get some food, water and a shower?