Nemesis Games (The Expanse, Book 5)
by James S.A. Corey, Read by Jefferson Mays
Length: 16 hours, 44 minutes
If you’re like me, all you need to know about Nemesis Games is that Chrisjen Avasarala and Bobbi Draper are back in a big way. Oh, also Jim Holden and the crew of the Rocinante.
But it gets better. I’ve talked before how I pretty much just want to stowaway with the crew of the Rocinante and drink coffee with them. Well, with this book, I got about as close to that opportunity as I could. In Nemesis Games, the viewpoint characters this time out are not only Captain Holden, but the rest of the crew of the Rocinante, all taking a bit of shore leave. As anyone who reads books will tell you, that never goes well.
While Holden is stuck hanging out at Tycho Station with Fred Johnson, the rest of his crew feel compelled to revisit their past, and try and make amends: Amos heads back to earth to settle some business and possibly a few old scores, Alex goes to Mars to try and say goodbye to his ex-wife, and Naomi disappears to Ceres Station on a personal mission she refuses to divulge to Holden.
I don’t know if the result is the best book yet in the Expanse series (Caliban’s War is pretty fucking bad ass, fleet commander), but it is a triumph full of surprises, emotion, and adventure, delving back into these characters back stories in a way that we didn’t know we needed to.
Things get virtually post-apocalyptic this time out, but Corey never stops having a blast (listening to Amos and Avasarala banter must be what heaven sounds like). If you’ve enjoyed this series at all, this book will make you very, very happy.
Not only are some of my favorite characters back in a big way, so is narrator Jefferson Mays. I feel a little bit bad for Erik Davies, who was given the thankless job of coming into a series in the middle with Cibola Burn, replacing a well-loved narrator. He did an admirable job, but big props to Hachette Audio for bringing back Jefferson Mays. With Mays back aboard the Rocinante, Holden sounds like the lovable cross between Kirk and, erm, Holden (Affleck or Caufield) we want him to, and the rest of the crew sounds aces too. Also, did I mention Avasarala and Bobbi?
Nemesis Games promises that five books in, these authors still have plenty of tricks up their sleeves for the Expanse, and as good as some of the books in this series has been, there’s sure to be more excellence ahead.
(Special thanks to Hachette Audio for providing me with a review copy of this audiobook.)