Title: Cibola Burn
Series: The Expanse, #4
Author: James S.A. Corey
Genre: Science Fiction
Release Date: June 17th, 2014
Length: 581 pages | 20 hours, 9 minutes
Source: Gifted to me by my brother for Christmas
The gates have opened the way to thousands of habitable planets, and the land rush has begun. Settlers stream out from humanity’s home planets in a vast, poorly controlled flood, landing on a new world. Among them, the Rocinante, haunted by the vast, posthuman network of the protomolecule as they investigate what destroyed the great intergalactic society that built the gates and the protomolecule.
But Holden and his crew must also contend with the growing tensions between the settlers and the company which owns the official claim to the planet. Both sides will stop at nothing to defend what’s theirs, but soon a terrible disease strikes and only Holden – with help from the ghostly Detective Miller – can find the cure.
I love this series, but this fourth novel was just not up to snuff. My brothers warned me they disliked the fourth installment, but I tried to read it with an open mind (we have different taste in many things, and I hate being prejudiced against a book as much as I hate being hyped by others toward liking a book). But by the time the story ended, I had to agree with them.
Although the writing is James S.A. Corey’s typical style, and it builds on the story that came previously, this one noticeably lacks the murky grey morality inherent to the previous stories in the series. The villain is de-humanized, acts petty but is called a sociopath by the ‘good guys’, and we’re never even given a glimpse of his inner motivations. The heroes only ever act out of the best interest of the weakest ones. The redemption arc characters don’t contemplate their own motivations or actions until the very end of the story, which accomplishes nothing. And since this story is set in a frontier, that frames the whole thing as a spaghetti Western. And you know, given my love of Westworld and Firefly (and Louis L’Amour), I have a high bar for Western-esque stories.
To be honest, I could have skipped the entire story and just read the Epilogue to get everything I needed, regarding the larger story arcs of the series. Except that I wouldn’t, because I still adore Amos.
I’m looking forward to moving past this lackluster story, on to the next ones (which I am assured are much better). Apparently, the 8th book will be published in December of this year, with the 9th and final book being published in 2019. So if I time this correctly, I won’t have to wait more than 4 months between installments of the story. Assuming, of course, I can wait that long between installments of the story.
I’m a coffee-fueled, hobby-addicted bibliophage who makes cruelty-free mineral eye shadows (inspired by novels). I’m usually in front of a screen (writing, reading, or gaming), but I’ve been known to emerge for geekery, good food, and dark chocolate.