Abbadon’s Gate by James S.A. Corey
Publication Date: June 4th 2013
Abaddon’s Gate is the third book in the New York Times bestselling Expanse series.
For generations, the solar system – Mars, the Moon, the Asteroid Belt – was humanity’s great frontier. Until now. The alien artefact working through its program under the clouds of Venus has emerged to build a massive structure outside the orbit of Uranus: a gate that leads into a starless dark.
Jim Holden and the crew of the Rocinante are part of a vast flotilla of scientific and military ships going out to examine the artefact. But behind the scenes, a complex plot is unfolding, with the destruction of Holden at its core. As the emissaries of the human race try to find whether the gate is an opportunity or a threat, the greatest danger is the one they brought with them.
Book Three in the Expanse Book Series by James S. A. Corey (pen name for writer team of Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck), was both a great continuation and a minor let down. As I continue to read this series their style in both plot and dialogue is beginning to take shape. I’m finding myself both losing the mystery in character and plot twist and finding the books warmly familiar. One of the main attractions to Game of Thrones was its ability to kill the main characters in times of great decision making. They, unfortunately, have thus far continued to let the narrative/plot armor keep the main characters in the series around. I both hope someone dies, and that they live on.
Abbadon’s Gate continues the overarching story about the protomolocule creating something on Venus and eventually launching it into the outer solar system. Near Uranus, the alien gate is turned on and opened by a belter looking for legacy. Only to die. As the OPA, MCRN, and the UN send ships to investigate, Holden and his crew find themselves unwillingly at the gate as well. This book also follows Carlos Baca (otherwise known as “Bull”) an Earther who’s got as much experience in his belt as Fred Johnson. We also follow Clarissa Mao, daughter of Jules-Pierre Mao, who had spearheaded the Protomolecule Fiasco. Though she’s currently under the alias Melba Koh. I had way more fun following along with Bull, than I did with Melba. Lastly, the story also focused on Annushka Volovodov and James Holden. I enjoyed Anna’s perspective in the book far more than Holden’s.
Melba Koh (Clarissa Mao) was unfortunately written in such a way, that quite a bit of her thoughts was so repetitious. I can only imagine that this was done to drive home the fact that she was extremely driven and had a lot of tunnel vision in her motivations. Revenge was the name of her game. But unfortunately, it had me wanting to skip over her parts most of the time. While the parts with Bull, felt very much more loved and cared for in both breadth and character in dialogue and action.
Pastor Anna Volovodov was on the ship Thomas Prince as an invitation for a multi-lateral religious congregation trying to find an answer to the Gate’s presence. She merely tries to understand how the Gate is changing everyone’s perspective on humanity, and how the presence of humanity will change the outcome of itself in light of such a momentous event. While on the Rocinante, Holden is still rebuilding himself apart from the fractured self that Miller had left him all throughout Cibola Burn (Book 2). Trying to keep his crew together and running out of the reserves that had come from Praxidike. He and his crew were actively trying to keep away from the Gate.
As the story progresses, I found myself enjoying the culminating wild ride that leads up to the climax of Holden’s understanding of the purpose of the Gate. But that left so much more book pages left. Which had me anticipating what would follow. Though this is where it took an utter nose dive. To go from Universe spanning climax, to petty clean-up squabble felt like such a whiplash. At that point, I didn’t care about Ashford and the counter-coup. I understand from a logical narrative progression that the authors had to tie up a loose end. They had to give some characters a proper bow-tie end. But man, I honestly just found myself speeding through the internal monologues that they kept having. All the while I knew the main characters wouldn’t die, so there was very little suspense. At this point in the story, it felt like ‘filler’ at the end? I wish there was a restructuring to the story and had a specific dirt and sky vision as the end and not as a precursor to more pretty squabbling.
Don’t get me wrong, it was still a very enjoyable book, with a lack-luster ending, but an amazing climax in the middle of the book. I hope I get to read more of Anna, and I personally can’t wait for the next adventures of Holden and his crew. I’m just starting to get tired of Holden’s ‘The One’ trope.
About the Author:
James S.A. Corey is the pen name of fantasy author Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck. They both live in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Find out more about this series and other works at www.danielabraham.com.
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