Caliban's War (Anglais) Broché – 2 mai 2013
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Revue de presse
"Caliban's War is even better than Leviathan Wakes. It's old-fashioned space opera, the kind of SF that I cut my teeth on, a real page-turner set in a vividly imagined solar system... superlatively written."―George R.R. Martin, New York Times bestselling author of A Game of Thrones
"A worthy sequel to Leviathan's Wake. Compelling characters and a plot that combines political intrigue with military sf create a memorable story that begs for film adaptation."―Library Journal
"Tense and thrilling"―SciFi Now --Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Broché .
Présentation de l'éditeur
For someone who didn't intend to wreck the solar system's fragile balance of power, Jim Holden did a pretty good job of it.
While Earth and Mars have stopped shooting each other, the core alliance is shattered. The outer planets and the Belt are uncertain in their new - possibly temporary - autonomy.
Then, on one of Jupiter's moons, a single super-soldier attacks, slaughtering soldiers of Earth and Mars indiscriminately and reigniting the war. The race is on to discover whether this is the vanguard of an alien army, or if the danger lies closer to home.
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A book of this size (about 600 trade format, small print pages) would usually take me ages to finish but I gobbled it up in less than two weeks and, if I hadn’t had to sleep and work & do boring things like that, I would have read it in one sitting. It is totally engrossing with an easy, light & witty style – a very rare quality in modern science fiction. The Shakespearian reference to Caliban (the monstrous, barely human resident on the island setting of ‘The Tempest’) is a fine literary allusion which only makes sense at the very last page; nice touch. I sincerely hope we don’t have to wait too long for book three (Abaddon’s Gate) to round off the trilogy; I’m not sure I can stand the suspense…
I might add that the author seems not to be very familiar with physics ( speed, acceleration, inertia). It is "Science fiction" after all :-)
Won't go for the third.
Je commande la suite sans tarder et je le recommande aux amateurs de space opera.
Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com (beta)
Ganymede has been in crisis since Marines from Earth and Mars started shooting at each other. But how did the hostility begin? Only Gunnery Sergeant Bobbie Draper knows the truth: they weren't shooting at each other, but at the monster that was killing them. Since the "monster" could be the protomolecule last seen on Venus in Leviathan Wakes, the Outer Planets Alliance sends James Holden and the crew of the Rocinante to investigate.
Meanwhile, Prax Meng is upset because his daughter Mei was apparently kidnapped during the fighting. Mei has a genetic disorder that puts her at risk of death if she doesn't receive regular treatment. Is there a connection between the snatch and the coincidental timing of the monster's attack? It's up to Holden and his crew to find out.
A third storyline involves Chrisjen Avasarala, an elderly, foul-mouthed UN official whose job is to keep the peace between Earth and Mars, a none-too-easy task. Her story eventually merges with Draper's and becomes one of political intrigue.
I wouldn't recommend reading Caliban's War without first reading Leviathan Wakes. Caliban's War assumes a familiarity with the events that took place in the first novel. While Caliban's War doesn't have quite the same poignant human drama as Leviathan Wakes -- largely due to the absence of Miller, a memorable character who was central to the story in the first novel -- it does replicate the fun factor: engaging characters, low-key humor, and exciting action. Yet there is enough human drama, enough genuine emotion, in Caliban's War to fuel the reader's compulsion to move on to the next chapter ... and the next, and the next.
Many of the characters draw upon familiar stereotypes but that, at least, gives them the benefit of well-defined personalities. In any event, there is a complexity to Holden that rises above the stereotypical. Holden confronts a range of internal conflicts and fears in Caliban's War while proving to himself that he's capable of growth. Holden is an idealist who needs to learn something about pragmatism, but he's also a fundamentally peaceful guy who is morphing into something else after all the horror he's experienced.
Holden is fond of taking his message directly to the people via a futuristic version of the internet. The theme of using direct communication to bypass the government and take control of destiny plays a large part in Caliban's War, just as it did in Leviathan Wakes. That theme is expanded with the addition of Avasarala, who proves to be an adept manipulator of the media.
Caliban's War isn't for science fiction fans who like their novels to reflect world-building or carefully considered technological advances or imagined applications of theoretical physics. Caliban's War is quite the opposite. The writing team known as James S.A. Corey cares more about story-building and character-building than world-building. The result is an absorbing story about memorable characters that some fans will regard as too light-on-science to be taken seriously. Yet not all novels need to be taken seriously; some work on a more elemental, less intellectual level. I don't need to be convinced that "this could really happen" to appreciate the entertainment value of a science fiction novel, but others do, and this might be the right novel for them. I would give Caliban's War 4 1/2 stars if I could.
The precipitating event in Caliban's War is the appearance of a protomolecule "monster" on Ganymede that slaughters all but one of a contingent of marines. The sole survivor, Bobbie, becomes another POV. She eventually ends up working for Avasarala, a UN diplomat trying to hold off war and figure out what happened on Ganymede and who was responsible; she becomes our third POV. Our last POV is Prax, a Ganymede botanist whose sick daughter was kidnapped, a crime seemingly related somehow to the prototmolecule. Prax ends up with Holden and his crew then eventually all four POV characters end up together as their storylines dovetail.''
The characters that return from Leviathan Wakes are nicely deepened in this follow-up (I was an especial fan of Amos in this one), both in their individual constructs and in their relationships with each other. Sometimes, I'll admit, the portrayal may have bordered a bit on the overly-sentimental, but for the most part I enjoyed how the characters were made more complex via back stories, by their changing relationships, or by their realizations about themselves. The new characters vary a bit in effect. Prax is understated and a bit one-note (understandably so in that he's focused on his daughter), but there's a certain charm to him. Bobbie is more interesting as we watch her deal with the trauma of survival, thrash around in the utterly foreign world of diplomacy, and try to handle the concept and actuality of shifting alliances. The dominant personality, however, is certainly Avasarala, who often just takes over, both literally in the book's plot and for the reader as well. She's a great creation and the book really sparks to life when she's online.
''That isn't to say the other parts lag. As mentioned, I zoomed through Caliban's War in one sitting and that's due to a host of reasons, including the book's pace which especially picks up in the second half. Other reasons for not putting it down include the fluidity of the prose, the likable characters, the mostly strong characterization, and the humor that runs throughout, which often had me chuckling aloud.''
There's a nice balance of shoot-em-up action (pitched gun battled, spaceship battles, etc.), political fighting (factions within factions, negotiations between parties), and personal conflicts (romance going sour, friendships being tested, war within oneself). Pretty much there's something for everyone here.''
Why Caliban's War didn't quite match Leviathan's Wake for me was that it at times didn't feel as fresh. We're dealing with yet another protomolecule (though in a different form), yet more possible corporate bad guys, more corruption at the top, more facing down officialdom, and so on. It obviously didn't detract much from my experience since I didn't want to put the book down, but it did give me that been-there done-that feel now and then. Not all the way through, but on occasion. The new POVs and the larger focus on the diplomatic/political side helped overcome that issue, as did Holden's more introspective moments.''
Finally, while we get some resolution in Caliban's War, as we did with Leviathan Wakes, just as with that first book we're clearly looking ahead to another. And while I wouldn't call this a "cliffhanger" ending, it does have a great one that already has me jonesing for book three. Highly recommended.
It starts with action and never gets boring, but it also doesn't feel the need to keep up a frenetic pace; there's plenty of time given over to developing the characters. It manages the right balance of action to downtime to keep the reader interested without leaving them exhausted.
Only one thing kinda struck me as strange, and that was a bit of relationship drama where I couldn't understand how a certain POV character got into such hot water with his girlfriend. I was flabbergasted at how dire things got between them given what seemed like a minor impetus. (I can't complain too much, though, because the fault may well lie with me. ;))
TL;DR version -- Excellent, well-paced sci-fi with likable characters. If you liked the first book, Leviathan Wakes, I recommend it as even better than that one. If you didn't read that, then I recommend both books if you liked John Scalzi's Old Man's War. And, finally, if you didn't read that either...well, get to work.
Caliban's War is the second novel in The Expanse series, following on from last year's well-received Leviathan Wakes. This is old-school space opera, featuring the crew of a spacecraft as they attempt to save the Solar system from an alien menace. The series features some nods towards serious science - the ships work strictly by Newtonian physics and there is no FTL travel, with the scope of events being limited (so far) to the Solar system alone - but it's certainly not hard SF. The emphasis is being on an entertaining, fast-paced read, and the book pulls this off with aplomb.
The cast of characters has been expanded in this volume, with only Holden returning as a POV character from the first volume. Unlike the first novel, which had a grand total of two POVs, this second volume features four: Holden, UN politician Avasarala, botanist Prax and marine Bonnie. This means that the authors have three major new characters to introduce us to, as well as continuing the storyline from the first novel and evolving the returning cast of characters (Holden and his crew). This results in the pace being marginally slower than in Leviathan Wakes, although certainly not fatally so. Indeed, Abraham and Franck imbue the new characters with interesting backstories, motivations and quirks. It's also quite amusing that the most enjoyable character in an action-packed space opera is a 70-year-old politician with a potty mouth.
There's some major shoot-outs, a few big space battles, a close encounter with a rampaging monster in a zero-gravity cargo hold and other action set pieces that are handled well, but the book falters a little in its handling of politics (which are fairly lightweight) and the characterisation of the bad guys, who never rise above the obvious.
Caliban's War (***½) is not as accomplished as its forebear but is still a page-turning, solidly enjoyable read. The novel is available now in the UK and USA.
Beyond the (lack of) tech, there's no associated *social* advancement. Where was social media 15 years ago? Nowhere. Where will it be hundreds of years from now? Apparently gone, according to this series, with zip imagined to take its place. Very, very odd lack of imagination here. I'm definitely not feeling the hype.
Lastly, the attempts to inject hard science are weak. I appreciate it's fiction and thus there's free creative license, but if you like your SF to get at least some science right, you may be disappointed. There are some biochemistry and physics references in this volume that are laughably bad. That wouldn't be so bad if they weren't all showing up on Holden's "hand terminal."