Book Review of “Leviathan Falls”


Cover of the novel “Leviathan Falls”

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This is it. I just finished the ninth and final book in the Expanse novel series Leviathan Falls by James S.A. Corey (really Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck). I checked it out of my local public library like all the others. It’s a new book, so I put a hold on it December 1st and finally got my hands on it February 9th. I have to give it back after two weeks, so I’m pushing things a little.

The quality of the series held up, which is important. I’ve read a lot of book series that started out great and then fizzled at the end. That’s usually because the author (or publisher) decides that they’ll make more money on more books people like, but don’t have a clear vision of the end from the beginning.

I’m not sure Abraham and Franck did either when they wrote the first in the series. Some things got a little repetitive in some of the stories. It seemed for a while that going from an earlier book to a later book meant the disasters got bigger and worse. That didn’t happen this time around, but there’s definitely a resolution. There’s not a lot of room for the characters to reappear in the long haul except Amos and maybe Jim. No, no spoilers but I’m not above dolling out a few hints.

It’s ultimately a happy ending in that humanity survives, but sad in that the family has to go their separate ways at the end. You can tell you’re attached to characters when you don’t want to say goodbye. Even when you do by finishing the last page of the last book, you still want them to all be together just like always; just like the adventure will never end.

Parts of the book went down memory lane, mentioning characters who died in earlier books. I was disappointed that we never got to see what happened to Naomi’s son Filip (okay, maybe a few minor spoilers). She mentioned him exactly once and that was it. We know he survived his father, but of course, with events in later stories, he could have anonymously died.

Next month, a collection of all of the Expanse short stories Memory’s Legion is coming out. Maybe some of the loose threads are wrapped up in there.

I’m satisfied with what I’ve read so far and don’t have a real fire in me to read more. I’ve got a lot of other books to catch up on, new and old.

I liked this series because the characters and events were accessible (even though the events are highly metaphysical at times). Some stories work hard to become alien and are so successful that they’re not very understandable. Some stories manage not to create even one likeable character, and this one had plenty, especially the “family” of the Roci. Although the series spans decades, the characters stay just enough like themselves that they remain familiar, while changing enough to let you know they’ve aged.

Some novels, even ones I’ve liked tried too hard to address “social justice” and when they did, it was like being slapped in the face. You’re pulled out of the dream world of the story and yanked back into some sort of lecture. The Expanse had those moments, and sometimes they were annoying, just because they were blatantly noticeable, but the overall storytelling was good. I sometimes get the feeling that other writers serve their message first and their story and readers second…or in a few cases down to dead last, even the ones winning all the awards.

I’ve read some other reviews and while they’re overwhelmingly positive, not everyone liked how this ended. That’s always the danger of a big build up; how you tie it all off. Overall, I do recommend the entire series. It’s a fun ride. Someday, I’d like to write stories that make the readers feel good about the characters and how the adventure worked itself out.

Time to return the book to the library and let the next person in the queue have a crack at it.

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