Review: Caliban's War

Caliban's War Caliban's War by James S.A. Corey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Caliban's war leaps ahead some period of time since the events of Leviathan Wakes. The protomolecule has been mysteriously active on Venus. Regardless of the number of eyes on the change, no one can determine exactly what is going on or the true intent of the alien entity. Of course, without a direct enemy to the whole of humankind humans are happy to continue fighting each other. Where Wakes was concerned with the mystery of July Mao, Caliban's War is concerned with the mystery of Mei Peng, a toddler with an immune deficiency who is kidnapped from a Ganymede nursery moments before combat erupts. Her father, Prax, is single-minded in his determination to find her. Holden and his crew meet with Prax by chance and decide to take up his cause.

If you are like me and have been watching the television episodes as well, you'll meet Avasarala here, who was introduced early as the assistant undersecretary in the show. It's nice to have that actresses distinctive voice in my head as I read that character.

Personally I really enjoyed this second volume in the series, and I'm sure I'll be reading more. There are lots of parallels between the first and second book. We have a missing girl, an unknown party inciting violence, and massive powers on the brink of all out war. There are subtle differences, though, that keep it fresh. Rather than dealing with organized crime the major factions of Mars and the UN are now directly involved. We're still not seeing much of the inner workings of Mars, but we do get another Martian main character in Bobbie. We get to see a different kind of battle with Avasarala and her work within the UN.

With regard to the characters, much of the book deals with the trauma that has damaged them, and how they deal with those wounds. It's refreshing to read characters that endure extreme events and come away changed. Holden, Prax, and Bobbie all take foolish actions driven by their personal traumas. Each finds a way to reach closure in their own way.

I'm eager to continue with the series, and I'm sure if you enjoyed the first book you will enjoy this one.

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Jade Mason