Babylon’s Ashes (The Expanse #6)

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Babylon’s Ashes (The Expanse #6) audiobook

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Review #1

Babylon’s Ashes (The Expanse #6) audiobook free

What I found cool about this installment is that Mr. Corey demonstrates continued growth in his writing where it pertains to dialogs and interactions between (generally) two people. There are many little exchanges that are so polished between verbal, nonverbal and nuanced “human condition” observations, that I was often left pausing and reflecting on how nicely done something was. I would go as far as saying many of these exchanges rise to level of artwork.


The book itself, or perhaps I should say “story”, not only never becomes something greater than it’s parts, it actually manages to be much less. The many gems I described above didn’t connect…I felt like a fair analogy would be going on a tour through an art gallery, lots of little interesting pieces that I quickly grew bored waiting for them to come together.

There are a number of serial authors that I’ve become completely disenchanted with, Weber and Martin pop to mind. I wouldn’t say this book left me feeling totally negative though, because it had the feel of the author trying on a new suit that’s still in need of tailoring. The Storytelling got sublimated to the craftsmanship here, which is not only something that can be fixed next book, it has the potential to be one of the best.

But only if Mr. Corey recognizes where the narrative and plotting just fall totally flat here. The forest got lost in the trees…I sure hope things get back on track.


Review #2

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I read the first six books of the Expanse series in 2020.
Book 1 – 5 stars.
Book 2 – 5 stars.
Book 3 – 4 stars.
Book 4 – 3 stars.
Book 5 – 4 stars.
Book 6 – 3 stars.
Fewer stars represent an LGBT agenda, an overdose of the Holden character’s dumbness, or an accumulation of getting some real life facts wrong. For instance, in book four at least four LGBT couples are introduced in a very small community. So every other person who goes into space is an LGBT community member? Book four also is stuck on one planet, none of the space hopping fun of the previous books, and Holden repeatedly refuses to kill the A-hole that is trying to kill him and everyone else. Why? To stretch the book out?

Book six also suffers some of the same detractors as Book four as well as some bad information that threw me out of the story. For instance, while describing the hometown of one of the LGBT couples in Abuja, Africa, capital of Nigeria, they say Zuma Rock is thousands of meters high. What? Zuma Rock is 980 feet high. Several hundred meters, but not thousands. I’m not the most knowledgeable reader, but even I can notice blunders like that.

I recommend five military sci-fi novels to any serious sci-fi reader. Starship Troopers (1959) by Robert A. Heinlein (not like the silly movie), The Forever War (1974) by Joe Haldeman, Armor (1984) by John Steakley, Ender’s Game (1985) by Orson Scott Card, and Old Man’s War (2006) by John Scalzi.


Review #3

Audiobook Babylon’s Ashes (The Expanse #6) by James S. A. Corey

We’ve reached the point in this series where it’s okay for the authors to throw a bunch of points of view at the reader. By now, the world-building is solid and the political landscape is pretty clear. The downside to this is that the only POVs I really want are Holden, Naomi, and the others from the Rocinante. However, this method also allows us to peek in on some old friends in such a way that gives us a perspective of what’s going on across the system.

Such alternate POVs are also necessary because everyone on the Rocinante is pretty sorted. They still have their issues, but the crew has established itself as a family. It’s other characters who still have work to do. My favorite character arcs in this novel are not my favorite characters, but Filip’s story is poignant and Michio Pa’s is dramatic. I’m sure both of them will pop up again in the future, and I look forward to seeing them.

The dark line that threaded this book reminds me of the collapse of Ganymede earlier in the series. This time, it’s a collapse that’s system-wide. I appreciated that not every character was completely aware of the issues, but I definitely finished the book with a sense of weird dread about future events.

On the other hand, despite the multiple vivid scenes involving ship-to-ship (and occasionally closer) combat, I loved that at the end of the day, the plot was solved by SCIENCE. The story of the missing ships becomes relevant, if not necessarily explained (which I’m totally okay with).

Avasarala is still my favorite. Bobbie continues to be a BAMF. Naomi also achieves a different sort of BAMF status in this installment. I’m ready to dive into book 7.


Review #4

Audio Babylon’s Ashes (The Expanse #6) narrated by Jefferson Mays

I pre-ordered this book and read it as soon as I got it. I’ve delayed reviewing it because I wanted so badly to be able to write a good review. Since I’ve read this series from the beginning, it’s fair to say this is the weakest and possibly the last in this series. After all, one of the 2 co-authors (Daniel Abraham) ended his Coin+Daggers series after 6 volumes.

The book uses the same switching of point of view characters for each chapter as the previous 5 have done.. And of course one of the major characters in the series dies.

There is a lot of politics and flipping of viewpoints, but they do tend to drag. The book sets itself up as a possible end to the series or as the possible set up for a continuation with a more galactic rather than just a solar system viewpoint. Time will tell.

This was not a great addition to the series, in fact I would call it the weakest, but isn’t that the way many final volumes are?


Review #5

Free audio Babylon’s Ashes (The Expanse #6) – in the audio player below

This is very much a personal opinion and I realise that I may be in a minority, but this book was really disappointing.
I didn’t enjoy reading a book where so much of the plot was spent exploring the problems faced by a single parent familiy bringing up a troubled adolescent. If I had wanted that, I’d have been better off watching a daytime TV soap or the Jeremy Kyle show. Yes, there were other threads to the storyline, but too often I was bored and impatiently waiting for the other story elements to develop. All this while a teenager contemplated his relationship with his father and absent mother.
But I loved the previous books so now I face a dilema – should I bother to read next next book(s) in the series?


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