Nemesis Games | Guest Book Review

Nemesis Games by James S. A. Corey

Publication Date: June 2, 2015

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The fifth novel in Corey’s New York Times bestselling Expanse series–now being produced for television by the SyFy Channel!

A thousand worlds have opened, and the greatest land rush in human history has begun. As wave after wave of colonists leave, the power structures of the old solar system begin to buckle.

Ships are disappearing without a trace. Private armies are being secretly formed. The sole remaining protomolecule sample is stolen. Terrorist attacks previously considered impossible bring the inner planets to their knees. The sins of the past are returning to exact a terrible price.

And as a new human order is struggling to be born in blood and fire, James Holden and the crew of the Rocinante must struggle to survive and get back to the only home they have left.

Manuel’s Review:

Nemesis Games by James S. A. Corey is the fifth book in the Expanse Series. It continues the story of Captain James (Jim) Holden, his XO Naomi Nagata, their pilot Alex Kamal, and their engineer and mostly callus do-gooder, Amos Burton. This time around the crew find themselves on shore leave, after having survived the adventure on the planet past one of the Ring Gates, Ilus. Naomi Nagata goes back to Ceres Station after receiving a message about her son. Amos Burton leaves for Earth, after receiving a message about his adopted mother. While Alex Kamal goes back to Mars to make amends with his ex-wife. James Holden decides to stay on Tycho Station and oversee the refit of the Rocinante

This book was either going to be really good, or I would give up on the series altogether. After trudging through Cibola Burn, the previous book, I didn’t want to make any further investment into a series that would simply lose any of the qualities I was reading it for. Luckily, (or unluckily for my free time) it turned out to be good enough. Certainly not as spectacular as previous books, but definitely not as bad as Cibola was. To make matters worse, at this point, having finished this book, I realized that I may be burnt out on the series. Having read them all so far, back to back. Months or even years span between the books, and I usually pick it back up after a day or so. I believe that is certainly what is making the book seem more dull and more of an obligation to get through. So to avoid burnout, and simply because I also don’t have the next installment in my possession, I’ll be putting off reading another book in the Expanse series till next year. 

About this book specifically, I really enjoyed getting to know Mars more so than any other book. While Caliban’s War introduced some of the Mars officials, we never got a great grasp as to the citizens of Mars. I certainly think this book did the planet some justice, as it has for Earth, Luna, Tycho, and Ceres. Though most importantly, this book really did focus on the history of our main characters. Pulling at threads both present and past, it wove together quite well an amalgamation that built a breadth of personality and psyche for each of the characters. Without giving too much away, there is a GLARING plot hole in this book. I couldn’t overlook it, so it kept rearing its ugly head in almost every chapter. Luckily, enough of what occurred managed to distract me at times form the nagging of that plot hole.

I loved the intensity that was created through the narrative of missing the crew as a unit.

The story kept pounding that fact through each character in pretty much the same way. I wish they would have expressed it in different ways depending on which character was feeling it at the time.  While I enjoyed not focusing on the Protomolocule, it also allowed me, as a reader, to take a break from that power creep that keeps happening. Which reminds me, I really wish the Corey writing team have an end goal for the Creators, or else I’m surely expecting a complete cop-out or a real disappointment. Especially having been hurt and had my time wasted with J.J. Abrams (LOST) and Benioff & Weiss (GoT: TV) building an epic villain only to have them turn out to be a dud. I love character-driven narratives, but I hope they state early on that the Creators will lead to nothing, that it’s honestly more about the main characters. I’d appreciate it.

All in all, the book was good, and I read it pretty quickly. I loved that it included Bobbie a hell of a lot more, and having finished the newest season 4 on Amazon Prime, I would have to say that the TV series handled the previous book MUCH BETTER, and set up this book quite well. I will take a break from the series, and I honestly can’t wait to read the next book, Babylon’s Ashes.

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

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