Even the Bottle Episodes Are Good
My Rating: 5/5 Stars
Coming into Book 3, The Expanse series was on a hot streak. The first two are some of my favorite science fiction to date, and Caliban’s War (#2) especially was going to be hard to top. Abbadon’s Gate manages to blow past its predecessors with another incredible story and standout new characters. More impressive, it keeps the tension high even while most of the story takes place in one location. The stakes somehow manage to top vomit zombies taking over Venus, and that’s truly a feat.
The new POV characters introduced in this book are two of the best. It’s tough to follow an act like Bobby and Avasarala, still my favorites, but Abbadon’s Gate manages. Ana is a preacher with a heart of gold and steel resolve stuck in the middle of one of the tensest situations in human history (and that’s coming from someone who just endured the 2020 election). Her constant optimism and drive to do the right thing is a nice balance to other more utilitarian characters and aligns her well with Holden. Second up, Bull is possibly my favorite of the new cast, probably because he reminds me a lot of Bobby. His brash and impulsive nature always made his chapters an interesting read keeping me on the edge my seat.
The conflict in Abbadon’s Gate also manages to feel the direst of the entire series. From the jump, tensions are ratcheted to eleven and they don’t die down. To the very last page, this book is throwing curveballs and putting its main characters and the human race in danger. Much of this is due to the excellent and final new POV character, Melba. Driven by family scorn, Melba comes into this book to wreck Holden and his crew and ends up dooming quite a few others in the process. Her character might have a simple drive, but her reactions are nuanced and often unexpected. She breaks up what could have been a formulaic story by constantly injected tiny doses of chaos.
Overall, this is easily on par with the other two novels, and right now feels like the best in the series so far. The new characters are all standouts, and the pages practically turn themselves. As always, I was impressed by the world the authors have crafted and their commitment to realism. Each book in this series continues to build on the vast groundwork they laid and as a result, I’m jumping straight into Book 4. Putting this series down does not seem to be an option. Each novel is a unique showcase of a thriving world that I just want to know more about. Top notch sci-fi in every way, highly recommend.
Not into sci-fi? Maybe drunken monster hunting is more your game. The second book in my series, The Nick Ventner Adventures is out now! You can buy signed copies or e-books through my shop, or on Amazon if that’s more your deal. Don’t trust me? Here’s what the fans have to say:
“Ashton has crafted a funny, inventive, and often booze-soaked tale chock full of magic and monsters. Rarely has traveling to hell and back been this much fun.” – Nick Dorsey, author of Jupiter Man
“Downpour is the perfect mix of action, adventure, and horror with an irreverent and often drunk anti-hero.” – Rellim Reads
“Nick himself is a familiar character type, but he’s entertaining, with a biting sense of humor and a beating heart underneath all the bravado.” – Kirkus Reviews