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The Expanse #3

Abaddon's Gate

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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.

539 pages, Paperback

First published June 4, 2013

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 6,517 reviews
Profile Image for Petrik.
688 reviews46.1k followers
June 2, 2020
2.5/5 stars

This was underwhelming; my least favorite novel in the series so far.

Please tell me I’m not the only one who thought this was subpar. Abaddon’s Gate, the third book in The Expanse series by James S.A. Corey duo, was honestly a struggle for me to finish. The story begins almost a year since the end of Caliban’s War, and although it started interesting and wholesome, I overall have mixed feelings about it. I do think that Abaddon’s Gate is the weakest installment out of three books I’ve read in the series so far. Holden and the crew of Rocinante were entertaining, and reading their gradual development remain as one of the main strengths of the book, but they didn’t have enough spotlight here. Plus, for almost the entirety of the book, the setting of Abaddon’s Gate takes place inside a spaceship; it didn’t have that intergalactic scale feeling that the previous two books have. To be honest, this book felt like filler. There’s one gigantic conflict that needed to be solved as quickly as possible, but instead, the characters just spent the entirety of the book bickering with each other, talking about religion and preaching their respective moral code.

“Violence is what people do when they run out of good ideas. It's attractive because it's simple, it's direct, it's almost always available as an option. When you can't think of a good rebuttal for your opponent's argument, you can always punch them in the face.”

The final action sequences felt almost as if Corey didn’t know what to do anymore and just decided to have the characters shooting at each other for so many pages—at least that’s how it felt to me—until the book is finished. When it comes down to it, I think my biggest issue with this book can be narrowed down to the fact that I couldn’t find myself invested with any of the new main characters. Although the new perspective characters did make the standalone and formulaic style story fresh in terms of narrative, it’s too risky to do because each new installment requires us to know three new main characters over and over again. The characters in Caliban’s War was incredibly compelling, and they’re too good to not have an immediate follow-up; not even small appearances. Anna, Melba, and Bull, in my opinion, were so uninteresting and forgettable; they pale in comparison to Miller, Avasarala, and Bobby that made the previous books shine. Due to my detachment with the characters, Melba’s story of revenge became boring, and Anna’s self-righteous virtue of “don’t do this don’t do that, but I won’t do anything except preach” ended up annoying me so much.

“Show a human a closed door, and no matter how many open doors she finds, she'll be haunted by what might be behind it.”

I haven’t watched the TV series past season 2, but my instinct voiced that I would prefer Abaddon’s Gate on the screen than on the text. Abaddon’s Gate was sadly underwhelming to me, but same with all long-series that spans more than five volumes, there’s bound to be one or two that missed the mark, and I still look forward to reading Cibola Burn in a few weeks.

“If humanity were capable of being satisfied, then they'll still be living in trees and eating bugs out of one another's fur.”

You can order the book from: Book Depository (Free shipping)

You can find this and the rest of my reviews at Novel Notions

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Profile Image for Per Gunnar.
1,126 reviews66 followers
December 13, 2013
I do not think I have read a book series before which have gone from really great to really disappointing in one go like this one just did. There is nothing wrong with the writing itself. It is as good as before. It is the content, the story itself, which is simply disappointing as far as I am concerned.

Apart from Holden and his crew all the nice characters from the previous book like Bobby and the likable bitch Avasarala are gone. The new ones introduced are nowhere near those that we lost in terms of interest and often downright annoying. Miller was brought back but he is not really the old Miller, not surprisingly, and more of a tool than an interesting character.

I was hoping that we would get more into the mystery of the protomolecule device and of course it plays an important part in the story but more as a piece of background or a prop than the centerpiece that I hoped it would. The events in the book are, at least initially, driven by a crazy and fanatical relative to the bad guy Mao from the previous book and who wants to both kill and discredit Holden for revenge. I was not too crazy about that from the start. Once her plan get going things goes bad rather quickly.

As if this revenge business was not bad enough the author drags in a useless as well as volatile and half-crazy captain, appointed for pretty much nothing but political reasons, and a whole bunch of more or less fanatical religious people. The latter was really dragging down the book for me.

Unfortunately the religious fanatics play a big role in the events in the latter half of the book and, not surprisingly, they cause things to go from bad to worse. Even the good ones of these priests and clerics is really ruining the book with their constant nonsensical preaching about how there were still some good in person x and person y etc. etc. and how we should try to talk to him instead of using violence. The maniac(s) are on the verge of, possibly, exterminating the human race for Christ sake! Just push the f-ckers out of a bloody airlock and be done with it.

I have to say that I am probably not really capable of giving a un-biased, possibly not even a fair, review of this book since I am so disappointed with it, especially given how much I liked the previous ones. It is a well written book. Those of you who liked the previous ones should probably have a go at this one as well. I did not like it but that is because of personal taste more than anything.
Profile Image for Baba.
3,620 reviews988 followers
September 15, 2023
The Expanse - 3: The Expanse reality is now completely focused on 'the Ring', the 'Abaddon's Gate' that the alien tech has constructed in the middle of space towards Uranus. Humanity, made up of the Belters, Martians and the UN Earth alliance are all transfixed by this alien technology of which mankind has only ever dreamed of! Yet again Holden, Naomi, Amos and Alex find themselves at the forefront of the technological output of the alien tech and with a haphazard and ever changing group of allies, they get into a position where may they have to save the entire galaxy, and as ever it's mankind itself that turns out to be the most stubborn and self absorbed threat to all!

I don't even know where to begin! So much great storytelling and some of the best sci-fi world building ever! The rationalisation and then illustration of the alien tech is second to none, it's truly out of this world, and a sublime creation. The multiple character arcs (each chapter is from the point of view of a specific character) are so well balanced, even with Holden co. having no more chapters than the newly added cast, which gives the book a certain freshness. And the cherry on top is looking at the impact of the alien technology from the perspective of the prevailing religions. It's one of those series where it's hard to find what you could add to make it any better! It also passes the very difficult test of maintaining its quality from volume to volume!

How good is this volume? Well, I wrote most of this review, before I even finished the book because I was gushing with praise that I needed to share. The least surprising thing about this series is that the 'writer' James S.A. Corey is the pen name of a combination of two writers, fantasy writer Daniel Abraham and George R.R. Martin's assistant Ty Franck, because in hindsight it's hard to believe that one person alone could have created and wrote the books about this universe over the time taken to do so. One final point, even in the slightly weaker volumes, ALL I have terrific gripping finales and great endings, a feat that so many writers fail to complete? This book on re-reading just has to be Five Stars, I can't fault it in anyway!

I said Five Star read!

2023 and 2012 read
Profile Image for Kemper.
1,390 reviews6,976 followers
June 2, 2017
There’s a utopian idea in some sci-fi like Star Trek that humanity exploring space will bring out the best in us as a species. I think that anyone who believes that hasn’t paid enough attention to what we are actually like. That’s one of the big reasons that I’m loving this series. It shows that people suck whether they’re on Earth, Mars, a moon, an asteroid, a spaceship, or exploring an alien construct built by an ancient protomolecule.

This third book in the Expanse series picks up shortly after the events of the last one. James Holden and his small crew of misfits continue to earn a living by hiring out the Rocinante as a transport or escort ship around the solar system. The governments of Earth, Mars, and the Belt have all sent ships out towards the mysterious giant ring that the protomolecule cobbled together that is now outside the orbit of Uranus. (Feel free to make your own Uranus jokes.) As you’d expect the three rival powers are spending as much time watching and scheming against each other as they are trying to figure out exactly what the ring is.

Holden wants nothing more to do with the protomolecule, especially since he’s having some freaky episodes that are apparently connected to it, so he tries to get them a job that will take them as far away from the ring as the Rocinante can get. Unfortunately, he’s got an enemy named Clarissa who thinks Holden is responsible for her family’s misfortune, and she manipulates events to get him near the ring where she can destroy his reputation and kill him.

As usual with this series we’ve got Holden and his crew as the on-going hero characters while some new people are introduced. Clarissa is a key figure, and her desire for revenge, extensive resources, and some illegal implants that give her a limited amount of berserker fury make her a very dangerous figure. Carlos ‘Bull’ c de Baca is the security chief on the main Outer Planets Alliance ship sent to the ring, but his loyalty to the leader of the OPA means that he’s been secretly given the responsibility of making sure that the ship’s idiot captain doesn’t screw things up. Pastor Anna Volovodov leaves her wife and child behind to go to the ring as part of an Earth delegation made up of religious figures and artists to try and figure out the significance of the ring to humanity from a spiritual standpoint.

As I noted before, one of the things I love about this series is how it sets up the idea that even with the terrifying and astounding things that have happened because of the protomolecule that the different factions of people scattered around the solar system still spend most of their time focused on squabbling with each other and looking for an angle to use the alien tech for their own purposes. That remains one of the key drivers to the plot, and it’s all too easy to believe that when confronted with something huge and scary that people would rather fight with each other than think about what it actually means.

Another aspect that I enjoy about Expanse is that it at least nods towards real science in that if you’re going to create a story in which spaceships can go fast enough to make travel within our solar system feasible, then that means you’ve got to account for the force of that on the human bodies in those ships. That’s built into these books with special gel couches and drugs having to be used to offset thrusts that cause high g-forces, and those forces get used to catastrophic effect in ways that are horrifyingly clever. When you’ve got people casually referring to how someone got turned into pasta sauce, you know things have gotten ugly.

The only off note is in how the book gets pretty black and white with the good guys vs. the bad guys. I’d complained before that the first two books had the heroes facing off against a shadowy conspiracy with no indications from their side what the plan was so it made the threat kind of vague and cartoonish. Here, we know that one big threat comes from Clarissa, and we get plenty on her motivations and her schemes. The other thing endangering everyone is the scared and stupid behavior of small minded people, and that’s also a relatable idea.

However, when things go sideways it seems like all the good guys line up on the same side immediately, and there’s no doubt whatsoever that they’re way is the right way even though with the information available the other side isn’t entirely out of line. It would have been nice to get a few more grey areas or some doubts creeping in rather than having almost everyone lining up along exact battle lines and sticking to that for the most part.

That was a minor point and didn’t detract much from the overall enjoyment I continue to get out of this ambitious space opera with it’s all too human characters.
Profile Image for Mario the lone bookwolf.
805 reviews3,858 followers
February 22, 2020
Fanboys´ Elysium

Some of the main plot elements that found interesting use in this part and the usual, weird thoughts:

Consciousness, how it could be influenced, how subjective it is and that just seeing something as the only one doesn´t mean that it doesn´t exist. The whole Miller quanta protomolecule thing is a perfect example of that we don´t know how brains work, what could influence the poor buddy, what mental illness is, what reality is, where and what Miller is…

Programmable, intelligent matter, forms of not destructive grey/green goo. On average, it´s often this silent Doctor Who Dalek „Exterminate“ mentality with the main focus of killing all other intelligent life, produce as many nanobots as possible by using all available living and dead matter, taking control over all intelligent life, etc. But there could be less harmful applications that are motivated by an uplift-, galaxy peaceful united as one nation- and technology-share-mentality, and want to help primitives like humans in becoming a bit more modern. Gosh, how backward we are. So, for instance, helping to optimize the already working tech, avoiding of/ protecting from space disasters that could wipe out humanity, giving advanced tech,… Insert own literary preference.

Greed is good, so there is always a state, fraction, conglomerate, colony, corporation, rebels,… willing to play, research, manipulate with green or even grey goo. While just killing all humans with an escalating biological weapon that included extraterrestrial DNA, although the exobiologists were desperately trying to convince everyone that this is a really bad idea, seems already pretty naughty, grey goo is the true problem, because it is not limited to one planet, but could instead destroy the whole universe. No problem if a plague only extinguishes a planet population, it can´t spread further, but self-replicating nano or quanta killer robots that are impossible to detect are difficult to avoid if they are programmed to kill all intelligent life.

Repeating history in space. It will be unavoidable, just as greed force, or ultimate powaaa, is just so sexy that no fraction would be interested in a sustainable, democratic, galactic community or lets better say, they won´t survive long. So rebels will try to fuel wars between mightier fractions and those will have complex diplomacy and non-aggression pacts and alliances and… In Sci-Fi, it often gets complicated, dry, and boring if this element is overused, but The Expanse perfectly balances between complexity and suspense.

One thing sci-fi is always good for is showing that we ought be modest and unobtrusive, because the rules say that each piece of ancient alien tech, artifact,… is so extremely superior as if we were the rock and the forgotten weapon a supermassive black hole, it won´t even recognize if it smashes us. There is this thing called Dark Forest theory https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmCTm...
and if we take for example the ring or the slow zone or the exosymbiotic /parasitic mindfu**ing Miller, we should probably dim our primitive torches and shut up.

The realism is not just there with physics and spaceflight, but with human nature too and there is no glorification, romanticism, or altruism, no good Jedi stuff or Star Trekian starry-eyed idealism of interplanetary level, but just egoism and own interests in nearly everyone. We wouldn´t unite peacefully as one humankind and try to learn as much as possible in the case of first contact, a signal, a protomolecule,… we would want it all for us, just for us, and if it´s destroyed trying and lost for everyone, doesn´t matter, Gollum, kill the dirty other human fractions.

Now the story is already so complex that there are questions over questions regarding the three fractions, how characters will react, new characters, the alien tech,… that one could waste quite a bit of lifetime just speculating about what will happen. I´ve hardly ever read so suspense-driven Sci-Fi that cliffhangers, cuts, and surprises nearly permanent, it´s like a drug.

Sci-Fi has the immense advantage to other genres, that it can include fantasy elements in it and that there are so many books, series, ideas, circulating around that the change for something completely new is higher than in other genres with more strict conventions and what happens if one (or in this case two) authors cherrypick so many archetypes, tropes, premises,… and forge them in the fire of their brains burning hot like supernovas, the superiority of Sci-Fii over all other genres is once again,… sorry, wrong text, the reading pleasure is immense. Didn´t know where that came from, what are you saying Miller? What fourth wall, I mean dimension, wait, didn´t we…

A final reason why I love this series so much: How it´s orchestrated, how there are perfect portions of infodump, tech, space battles, dialogues, character development, metaplot intrigues, smaller plots, integration of new characters,… I´ve already fanboyed a lot about the simple greatness in the other reviews and certainly entered the realms of redundancy, so that should be enough. Go, read it!

Tropes show how literature is conceptualized and created and which mixture of elements makes works and genres unique:
This series has some of the most amazing and massive tropeinity I´ve ever seen.
Profile Image for carol..
1,575 reviews8,230 followers
May 10, 2020
Series OCD: sometimes I has it, sometimes I don’t. Despite the success of the first book, Leviathan Wakes (my review), after the disappointing Caliban’s War (my review), I was all set to walk away from Corey and The Expanse series until friends suggested the final book was a capstone worth reading. I’d agree with that assessment; after the recycled plot in Caliban’s War disappointed, Abaddon’s Gate pulls itself together with an exploration of galactic human politics after the protomolecule has built a giant mystery Ring of material outside Uranus (cue Beavis and Butthead jokes).

Abaddon’s Gate opens per the series norm, with a third person point of view that will soon be abandoned for a four-part narrative. The prologue is a daredevil teen attempting to shoot the Ring in a small spacecraft, speaking in his regional cant and musing on the Ring. Shortly after, narrative switches to Jim Holden, one of the main characters in the last two books. He’s with the crew of the Roci, enjoying a shore leave after their latest contract. When Holden takes a moment, the ghost of Miller appears, cryptically saying, “It happened.” Naomi is the only one who knows Holden is being haunted, and Holden is afraid that if people find out, he’ll be an even bigger laughingstock than he is already. Narrative switches from Holden to Bull, a new voice in the series. Bull is an officer with the OPA, the Belter government, but since he was originally of Earth, racism keeps him from playing a leading role in the military. Bull is assigned as Security Chief to a former colony vessel, commandeered by OPA for the Ring flight. Narrative changes again to Melba, formerly known as Clarissa, assuming a secret identity in her quest for revenge. Last point of view is Anna, a pastor with a wife and young child who takes a position as part of the UN Secretary-General’s advisory group flying out to the Ring. There’s an uneasy detente at the Ring, with Mars, the Belters and Earth all maintaining a military presence. When the teen shoots the Ring, the Ring reacts, and tensions ratchet up. Holden has no intention of going anywhere near Miller and the Ring, until events force him that direction.

Plot takes some time to build, but proves worthwhile if the reader has patience the political and philosophical issues are established. Part of the background is quickly covered; the authors clearly assume the reader has read the prior books. A great deal of the interpersonal conflict is based on racism that exists between Earthers, Martians and Belters; people are easily stereotyped because of physiological changes that occur with the human form depending on the environment. Those conflicts are fanned by political maneuvering seeking to exploit the resources of the Ring, as well as the resource of OPA’s giant colony ship commandeered from the Mormons by the OPA government. Holden and his antagonist put a personal face on the conflict, and Anna puts a face on the philosophical issues. All in all, it feels exceptionally crafted in a way to appeal to a majority of readers. The revenge plot was initially intriguing, but became disappointing as the deux ex machina started to escalate. It’s also a plot that I have the most trouble believing, and this case was no different. Excessively convoluted, it lacked the flair or joie de la vie one sees in Scott Lynch’s Gentleman Bastard series or in an Oceans Eleven set-up.

Characterization was acceptable and consistent. The naif Pastor Anna was a little bit of an eye-roller with her “every one can be saved” sentiment. Bull was entertaining, not so much in character, but because his determination to follow the letter of the rules but not the spirit gave interesting insights into the military set-up. What stood out was the cohesiveness of the Roci crew. Their teamwork and acceptance was enjoyable, from joking around a bar to brainstorming solutions to their latest debacle. Holden has decided to abandon his responsibility for the world and focus only on his crew and Naomi, which results in needing to re-learn a lesson from the last book; thankfully, that sub-plot was short-lived. Melba was somewhat of a weak point; her personality felt insecure and whiney instead of truly obsessive.

[Spoiler stuff]

Strangely, for all the focus on the McGuffin Ring, there’s very little focus on the science, mechanics and impact of the Ring. It remains a philosophical point. At the finale, I felt like the book turned into an Aesop’s fable, action scenes notwithstanding. However, Miller’s provides an excellent summation with his pronouncement, “I keep warning you. Doors and corners, kid. That’s where they get you. Humans are too fucking stupid to listen. Well, you’ll learn your lessons soon enough, and it’s not my job to nursemaid the species through the next steps.”

Full review at:
Profile Image for Em Lost In Books.
905 reviews1,818 followers
March 11, 2021
Another adventure in space came to an end but this one screamed "filler" after few chapters. New characters were not impressive and I will be more than happy to not meet them again in the series. The regular cast too was disappointing. That extra star is for "mutiny" plot, the only part where I liked everything.

Never thought I would miss prototype this much. Hope meet them sooner than later.
Profile Image for Travis.
134 reviews4 followers
September 11, 2013
I'm utterly flabbergasted at all of the 5 star ratings that this book received. It truly was not even close to a 5 star effort. I for one am shocked at the bollocks the authors made of things in this, the third part of The Expanse.

Where do I start ?

The first two books were truly brilliant, and Caliban's War ended with a dandy of a cliffhanger with the protomolecule in full threat and Miller making his mysterious comeback. With regards to taking advantage of the protomolecule threat, and all of the plot potential, Abbadon's Gate fell flat on it's arse. Holden investigated the protomolecule, but nothing really came of it. It felt like an entirely useless exercise. The entire Clarissa / Melba character was riddled with question marks, contradictions, nothing made much sense about her.

There were key points in the story that were "no way that is happening" scenes. Like Reverend Anna "all of a sudden" showing up on the Roci just as Naomi was about to get murdered by Clarissa. Yes, how convenient that a pastor had jet-packed across from a starship to a corvette just in time to save a woman from a pyschopath. How very believable.

And the ending, my God, the ending. It was like Abraham and Franck were wrapping this sucker up as fast as they could, and were running out of time on this one. Did they have a page limit or something ? I'm still not clear how Asheford was taken out in the last fight scene, and or how Clarissa was taken out either. Was it during the final Miller appearance ? And then of course everything gift wraps / fast forwards millions of kilometres OUT of the Ring, not even answering the question IS THE RING NOW GONE, to everyone jetting happily home. I do declare.

This book was a shambles. Wake up people !
Profile Image for Samantha.
441 reviews16.8k followers
June 20, 2020
I still adore this series, but this book felt slower to me than the previous installments because I cared less about the perspectives we were following. This felt more like a filler book, and the plot had a “stop and start” element to it that kept me from getting interested until we were more than halfway through. This book did feel like the end of one chapter and beginning of another, but I’m interested to get back to some other perspectives we’ve gotten in past books.
Profile Image for Matthew.
1,219 reviews8,996 followers
April 7, 2021
The sprawling Space Opera continues!

So far, I enjoy this series despite frequently having trouble keeping characters and events straight in my head. There is just so much content here that it is like drinking from the firehose (on top of retaining events from previous firehose-consumption books). It is a series worthy of a study guide and a flowchart.

One of the most intriguing parts of this entry in the series is the indepth speculation on the effects of space travel on the human body. Most sci-fi series just accept that the characters are traveling quickly through space without issue. In this series, and this book in particular, there are many scenes where space travel does not go as expected and the results are fascinatingly gruesome.

So, while the series still occasionally has me going back to reread parts or sometimes trying to hunt down recaps online, I continue to enjoy it and I think any sci-fi fan should give it a try.
Profile Image for Bradley.
Author 5 books4,108 followers
August 18, 2018
Re-Read 8/18/18:

Doing a full re-read of the series is almost like coming home. I've read a lot of space-opera at this point and this duo keeps hitting the ball out of the park. Tops.

I mean, who else can run a great character arc for Cassy, from all-out revenge to such a believable change of heart? Or the whole craziness of the slow zone? Or Miller?

The whole idea of doors and corners when it comes to the whole damn universe kinda freaks me out. It's Dark Forest time.

And even if I know what happens in the later books, it doesn't diminish the feel of this book. I'm right there with them all over again. Brilliant. And now... I really need to binge-watch the new season on tv.

Original Review:

All of the implicit promises made to me as a reader have been fulfilled and titillated and stoked to a nice fine fire. I wanted something with huge scope, and while I kept thinking about Iain M. Banks Culture or more to the point, Brin's Uplift War, or even Pohl's Gateway series, I was thoroughly impressed with the Expanse because it kept me grounded in the multiple scales needed to fully appreciate it. Sure, there's series that have galaxy-wide adventure, but how does one truly draw the reader into a true appreciation of it? Answer: have an extremely fully-fleshed solar system and the need for an equation between time and distance. Keep all of the action in that localized space but throw the implications of something so vast and horrible into the mix that it makes everyone feel like ants. These guys have that little literary monster on a leash and they like to let him snap at pedestrians. I love it.

The characters are all spectacular and engrossing. I'm not just talking about the standard crew, either, but even the many who fight, love, and die in this fantastic story. The quality of story and writing is amazing.

I will be following this series forever, I do believe. :)
Profile Image for Darnell.
58 reviews
July 21, 2013
Wait! Wait! Something doesn't make sense.


If the alien computer system created a "slow zone" that changed the laws of physics and created a speed limit, then a Marine lobbed a grenade at an alien security thing which caused the speed limit to instantly change which lead to so horrific casualties in the human fleet because nothing could move faster than a lobbed grenade, then how in the hell is the final third of the book a huge gun battle? Did I miss the part where Miller made bullets exempt from slow zone limitations?

Abaddon's Gate was disappointing after the first books gave us so many unexpected surprises and great characters. I missed Bobbie and Avasarala (but thankfully no Prax) and didn't quite warm up to the new folks. Particularly Melba/Clarissa, who was hell-bent on avenging her awful father (which made no sense) then was foiled rather early (and easily because she wasn't outwitted, she just ran out of steam), then wandered around for a long time only to do a total heel-face turn.

Also lacking payoff was the protomolecule. In the first book it made zombies, then it became a horrible force on Venus that destroyed starships. Then it flew off and created...a Stargate? A Stargate that leads to a sentient hub that turns Miller into a ghost in Holden's head. No, wait. Miller's an AI avatar for the hub who needs Holden to control the system. Wait, no. Holden wasn't necessary, Miller controls the system all along. Except when he can't. You get my drift, this was half cooked mythology.

But don't worry, its not important. Because Abaddon's Gate is less about the protomolecule's transformative effect on humanity and more about the power struggle shenanigans of an undisciplined OPA crew, led by LT Coffey from The Abyss. Fred Johnson all but tells Bull that he's going on the mission because the Behemoth is ran by idiots. So Bull proceeds to play the Captain and XO against each other. The shit hits the fan, Bull incites a coup. In order for us to be okay with the the Captain loses his fucking mind for no go reason! and starts a counter-coup by killing every likable member of his crew. This causes the final third of the book to turn into an ultra violent version of Crimson Tide. It goes on too long, makes little sense and detracts from the mystery of the Stargates. Our heroes have to stop the cartoonishly insane Captain from destroying the Stargate and at the resolution of it all Miller tells Holden the gate wouldn't have been harmed. Well thanks, Miller! Where were you 10 chapters ago?

I loved the first two books and the universe created. I would like to see more adventures of the Rocinante. But Abaddon's Gate was an unsatisfying misstep. This series works when action set pieces are born out of sci-fi mysteries. Here was a book about bickering humans ignoring much greater things outside their viewwports. And that's just not fun to read.
Profile Image for Jeffrey Keeten.
Author 3 books249k followers
January 6, 2021
”A history professor at university had once told her, Violence is what people do when they run out of good ideas. It’s attractive because it’s simple, it’s direct, it’s almost always available as an option. When you can’t think of a good rebuttal for your opponent’s argument, you can always punch them in the face.”

An alien artifact has appeared in Uranus’s orbit, where it has built a gate that leads to a starless space beyond. James Holden and the crew of the Rocinante have been lured there along with a massive flotilla of ships composed of people from Earth, Mars, and the Belt. Holden doesn’t know, but bringing him through the gate is the plan of an enemy he doesn’t know exists. A woman bent on revenge, who blames Holden for the destruction of her family, is intent on not only killing him but making sure that his legacy is destroyed as well.

Holden and his crew have saved the universe, but people have different opinions about whether he saved the universe or whether he is a megalomaniac more concerned with becoming famous. He was raised in a commune in Montana and has many fathers and mothers, and certainly, he was always considered special by this extended family of parents. Okay, so he may have just a bit of a messiah complex. He wrestles with it and would probably be doing better with it if Miller would get out of his head.

Miller is dead.

Is he manufactured by Holden’s own guilt over his death, or is he downloaded into a cosmic matrix somewhere? Maybe he is just an old-fashioned ghost, or a bogle as the Scots would say, that refuses to let go of a tenuous hold on existence?

”A firefly flicker of blue sped around Miller’s head like a low-slung halo and vanished.” So if Miller is only in his head, why can he smell his breath? He shows up out of the blue, drops a few cryptic clues (don’t you fucking hate that), and then disappears. Is Holden really supposed to be at The Gate, or is this just the machinations of the insane woman bent on revenge?

Beware of doors and corners, the places where people get killed. Hmm, thanks Miller. That is as clear as plexiglass smeared with blood and brain matter.

Still, the situation has become dire, and James Holden seems to always be at the center of every universal crisis.

They are trapped in what they are calling the Slow Zone. Their high powered engines are useless. They are floating along on impulse power. It becomes clear that whatever is controlling the gate can, at will, crush their high tech ships like aluminum cans. A religious figure named Hector Cortez believes the only way forward is to make a weapon powerful enough to destroy The Gate even though this will effectively kill all those trapped in the Slow Zone. The sacred is, after all, never achieved without sacrifice. Martyrdom has given him such a huge woody he can’t even consider other alternatives. The uncertain alliance between Earth, Mars, Belters, atheists, and believers starts to break down as the trapped humans disagree on the proper path to end this stalemate with technology they can’t even understand.

What do we like to do with what we don’t understand? Kill them. What do we like to do about things we fear? Destroy them.

Holden and his crew have never been in more harrowing circumstances. As if The Gate isn’t enough of a problem, don’t forget about the woman intent on destroying Holden at all cost. The plot is exciting and complex enough to keep any reader enthralled with the unspooling of events. I was pushed back in my reading chair as if I were being rocketed into space.

I’ve become really fond of all the crew of the Rocinante. I wasn’t sure about any of them when I started this series, but as I’ve learned more about them, I’ve started to appreciate their positive attributes and their more negative ones. I’ve also learned about many of the events that contribute to their less than stellar characteristics. Life is a hard road now, and in the Expanse, it doesn’t get any easier in the future.

Season Five of the Expanse released on Prime very recently, and that prompted me to get back to the books. I’m behind on the novels but hope to catch up in 2021. You can read the books and not watch the series, or you can watch the series and not read the books, but in my experience, reading and watching has definitely expanded my understanding of the universe and created a beautiful synergy of enjoyment.

If you wish to see more of my most recent book and movie reviews, visit http://www.jeffreykeeten.com
I also have a Facebook blogger page at:https://www.facebook.com/JeffreyKeeten and an Instagram account https://www.instagram.com/jeffreykeeten/
Profile Image for Ginger.
789 reviews374 followers
January 19, 2023
4/4.5 stars

Abaddon’s Gate is the third book in The Expanse series and introduces us to three new characters: Pastor Anna Volovodov, Clarissa Mao and Carlos c de Baca (aka Bull).

I missed the characters of Gunnery Sergeant Bobbie Draper and Chrisjen Avasarala in this one!
It’s not that I didn’t enjoy the new characters, I just didn’t find them as magnetic or badass as these two characters from Caliban’s War.

Well, I'll take that back. Bull was pretty freaking awesome!

In Abaddon's Gate, Holden and the Rocinante crew have agreed to take a documentary crew out to examine the Ring. Holden, Naomi, Alex and Amos have no idea that a hidden and sinister plot is unfolding and it will endanger them all.

As the Rocinante, the Earthers, the OPA, and the Martians are all heading to the Ring for investigation purposes, the protomolecule has other plans for each of these fractions, and things are about to get complicated, deadly, and confusing for all parties involved.

I’m glad I decided to read this book series. There’s been quite a few differences in the TV series and the books, and it feels a bit new for me!

Looking forward to continuing this epic space journey with the next book, Cibola Burn!
Profile Image for Michelle F.
232 reviews72 followers
May 2, 2022
Another fun space romp that I enjoy best when I don't think about it too hard.

Viewed as a whole, this book is very much about the journey as opposed to the destination..there's very little happening in the largest story arc. The protomolecule has set up a big ring in space and no one knows what it is, what it does, and what to do about it. The story focuses mostly on everyone who's trying to get out to it, for various reasons.

When I focus in on the ways the authors are changing up the movements and progressions through character growth, I'm appreciative, though I find that I also notice the redundancies more as well. This is most apparent to me in the new POVs who are just so very much the archetypes that they were based on, which seems to be an authorial schtick. I still liked them (except for Melba, who sucked), but they ultimately felt unrealized because they were just too tropey.

But I burned through this volume easily and happily. I was fully entertained and I want to keep on with the story. At this point, I'm not asking for any more from this series than the good time that I am already getting. That's enough for me.
Profile Image for Justine.
1,158 reviews312 followers
March 24, 2021
Second Read - March 2021 (4/5 stars)
Although I'm generally not someone who rereads very much, 2021 seems to be my year for it. I recently finished The Great Library series by Rachel Caine, and am now well into my reread and completion of The Expanse.

Rereading after having watched the TV series of The Expanse has been an interesting exercise. There are (necessarily) lots of changes, both small and large as the story moves from page to screen, but it has managed to capture the essence of what makes The Expanse so good, in particular, some incredibly well developed characters.

This book introduces three new POV characters, all of whom I found engaging: Anna, Clarissa, and Bull. There's no way you could choose three more different personalities, but that just keeps the whole story organic and moving.

There's a lot to wrap your head around - Miller's appearance, the activation of the Ring and station, the many competing interests and values that emerge as ships converge on these alien artifacts for the first time. I loved getting so many different viewpoints on what was important; it's just as complicated and messy as expected.

With all the external focus and action, there was a little bit less time to watch the crew relationships on the Rocinante grow and change, but that shifts again as the story proceeds in the next book.

As before, I'm left at the close of Abaddon's Gate with a feeling of satisfaction, and very much looking forward to starting Cibola Burn.

First Read - March 2016 (4/5 stars)
Another solid addition to the series. The format of adding new POV characters while also following the core characters continues to work well and keeps the story fresh. I'm looking forward to the next installment!
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,564 reviews41 followers
February 28, 2020
Abaddon's Gate (Expanse, #3), James S.A. Corey

Abaddon's Gate is a science fiction novel by James S. A. Corey (pen name of Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck).

James Holden and his crew on the salvaged Martian warship Rocinante played a role in two major events in human history: saving the Earth from the first direct proof of alien technology discovered in our solar system, and saving as many people as they could when a new form of the technology appeared on Jupiter’s moon Ganymede.

As part of the first incident, the alien technology crashed on Venus, where it churned for months doing something unknown while the solar system watched. When complete, the semi-intelligent collection of chemicals flew away from Venus and built what could best be described as a Stargate, called the ring, beyond the orbit of Uranus.

تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز چهارم ماه فوریه سال 2018 میلادی

عنوان: گستره: کتاب سوم: دروازه ی آبادون؛ نویسنده: جیمز اس.ای. کوری؛

جیم هولدن، و خدمه ی روچینانته، بخشی از کشتیهای پژوهشی علمی و نظامی، برای بررسی آثار باستانی هستند. اما در پشت صحنه، یک نقشه پیچیده در حال آشکار شدن است، که تخریب «هولدن» در هسته آن رخ داده است. همانطور که امیران نژاد بشر تلاش میکنند، دریابند، که این دروازه آیا یک فرصت است یا یک تهدید، بزرگترین خطر همان چیزی است که آنها با خود آورده اند. ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Rachel (TheShadesofOrange).
2,214 reviews3,214 followers
December 13, 2020
4.5 Stars
Spoiler Discussion: https://youtu.be/LEHrIg-Cklk

I really enjoyed this third installment in the Expanse series. The beginning started out a little slow, but once the story got moving, it did not stop. There are several new characters introduced in this novel. Personally, I found myself more drawn to the chapters which featured previously-established characters. However, I did eventually warm up to the new additions in the cast, although I struggled with Melba's character arc.

I appreciate the moral ambiguity of several of the major and minor characters. The authors are certainly not afraid to write about imperfect aspects of humanity.

At times I wish that the science fiction was a tiny bit harder, since I wanted a more in depth understanding of the ring.

Yet, that did not prevent my enjoyment of this fun and thrilling novel. I am very excited for where the book ended, which sets up some fantastic possibilities in the rest of the series.
Profile Image for Derkanus.
91 reviews80 followers
May 20, 2016
A "slingshotter" takes his ship Y Que through the protomolecule ring created by Venus, near Uranus; it accelerates past 99 g's and his body is splattered inside the ship--but the ship doesn't come out the other side of the ring. A live feed from the Y Que broadcasts the events.

The Roci crew has had a propsperous year; they've made a bunch of ship upgrades including joining Naomi and Holden's rooms and and adding a rail gun. Detective Miller continues to visit Holden, but he doesn't seem to actually hear Holden or talk directly to him--he mostly seems to speak gibberish. He asks Holden for help and says "they know I find things. They know you help me." Naomi knows about it, but Holden hasn't told the others.

There's a food shortage for the outer planets/belt, since Ganymede now produces less than 1/4 of its previous food output. Venus is completely dead. Inside the Ring is some sort of anomaly.

Bull (Carlos c de Baca) is a former Earth marine, now OPA and XO on the Behemoth, the largest weapons ship in the solar system--formerly the Nauvoo, but commandeered by Fred Johnson during the Eros incident. The Behemoth is a "retrofitted piece of crap" that wouldn't hold up in a real fight; it's mainly for show. Just before launch, Bull is re-assigned to chief security officer; Captain Ashford doesn't want a former Earther as 2nd in command of the OPA's flagship. Bull doesn't care for Ashford much.

Clarissa Mao--daughter of Jules-Pierre Mao--gets a new identity as Melba Koh and will soon be shipping out on the Cerisier, a civilian maintenance ship going to the Ring. The guy selling her her new identity tries to shake her down and she kills him and his goons; she has implanted glands in her mouth that release chemicals that basically turn her into a ninja--though she crashes majorly afterwards. She plans to humiliate James Holden for destroying her family, then kill him.

Europa Pastor Annushka Volovodov has been chosen for the secretary-general's advisory group for the civilian trip to the Ring. She boards the UNN Thomas Prince, a Xerxes-class battleship.

If the Nauvoo fires its railgun, the ship will tear apart. Many of its parts were built to spin, since the ship would only have thrust gravity at the start and end of its journey. Bull can't get the budget from the XO, Michio Pa, to fix many of the problems. Samara Rosenberg from Tycho is the chief engineer.

Holden takes a job as far away from the Ring as possible, but the employer backs out at the last minute when Holden is served a summons from Mars; they want the Roci back, and it's impounded at Ceres. Monica Stuart from UN Public Broadcasting wants to do a story on the Ring, and asks Holden to take her and her team there; under the Freedom of Journalism Act, she has reasonable use of any hired materials and personnel. Holden believes Miller might be behind all of this.

Melba commands a team of 4 technicians on the Cerisier, but she's doing a poor job of faking it. She leaves a bomb on a ship called the Seung Un; she creates a video of Holden saying he's claiming control of the Ring on behalf of the OPA, and has paid someone on Ceres to setup a remote connection on the Roci. She confides in Ren, a member of her team, that she's in over her head with the engineering job, and he says he'll help her out.

Behemoth staff have been showing up to work high. Bull (with his deputy Serge), bust a drug dealer and Bull non-chalantly puts him out an airlock. Ashford relieves him of duty, but Bull explains that on a military vessel anyone endangering the ship is to be executed. Ashford waffles and tells him never to do it again. The XO recognizes that Bull did this to show the crew he's more Belter than the captain, and he just made her shit list.

Miller keeps telling Holden to check his doors and corners and to clear the room or he's going to wind up dead; Holden's not so sure he's just speaking gibberish any more. Data shows that the Y Que is still moving in a straight line at a constant speed of 600 meters/second.

Ren confronts Melba after he gets air filter data from the Seung Un indicating there might be a bomb aboard; she turns into a ninja, breaks his neck, then seals his corpse up in a storage locker in her room.

Anna starts holding prayer meetings on the Prince, as many of the crew are distraught about the Ring. She sees a young woman that looks like she needs help; it's Melba, and she's going crazy with remorse after killing Ren. She thinks Anna somehow knows what she did, and tweaks out at her.

Melba heads back to the Cerisier and activates the software on the Roci, issuing a trigger code to blow up Seung Un, announcing Holden's responsibility and demands, then powering up weapons and targeting systems.

On the Behemoth, probes sent into the Ring have determined there are a number of large objects, possibly ships, on the other side. XO Pa revokes Sam's access privileges for making repairs Bull told her to do; Pa knows this, but is politicking to turn Bull's allies against him.

Bull gets the transmission from Holden demanding that the information and resources about the Ring remain free to all people and that he'll kill anyone who tries to stop him. Bull and Pa tell Ashford to shoot down the Roci so Earth doesn't think the OPA is on his side; Ashford reluctantly fires a torpedo, but this causes the whole ship to lose power. The XO lets Sam out of confinement to fix the ship.

Holden realizes the lawsuit and the camera crew were a setup for this moment. The Behemoth fires a torpedo at them, but Naomi's countermeasures are all offline. With no other options, they take the Roci into the Ring.

Ashford wants to follow the Roci through Ring; Mars vows to destroy them if they even get close to the Ring. Bull suggests to Pa that they overthrow the captain, but she insists they follow the chain of command.

Hector "Hank" Cortez (spiritual advisor to the UN secretary-general) asks Anna to sign a petition to take the Prince into the Ring; she immediately agrees, seeing it as a way to reunite the fleets and stave off war.

Melba is extremely upset that Holden survived her sabotage. When the Cersisier's employers order a number of crew to be dispatched to the Prince to chase after Holden, she volunteers. Before leaving, she removes Ren from her storage locker and stores him in her toolchest. On the Prince, she recognizes Anna's friend Tilly, who used to babysit her.

The inside of the Ring is 1 milliom km across, bounded by 1373 rings spaced into a sphere. The only open ring is the one to Earth. In the center is the "Ring Station", a metal sphere 5km across; orbitting it are the Y Que and the probes that have been sent through. In the "Slow Zone", nothing can go faster than 600 m/s.

Amos is replacing a lightbulb in the head when he finds the transmitter that was hacking their system. One of the documentary crew, a blind guy, admits that he got paid to stick it there. His glasses have a sonar optic system that he uses to create a 3D model of the woman who paid him; Holden thinks it's Julie Mao.

Naomi puts out a broadcast saying the previous message was a fake; the other ships demand to see Holden, but he's EVA en route to the sphere. Bull tells Naomi that Ashford wants to send in an attack squad, and that he'll take the civilians off her hands.

The sphere irises open and lets Holden enter. Inside, Miller explains that he's not actually there in person; he's the "machine for finding lost things" and can interface with the sphere's systems.

Martian marines in exosuits catch up with Holden. An insect-like alien defense robot attempts to stop them, but they destroy it with a grenade; this teaches the station that even things moving as fast as a baseball pitch are dangerous, and the Slow Zone slows down even more, causing massive casualties on all the ships. More alien things activate and begin ripping the marines to pieces; they fall back.

Melba uses the deceleration catastrophe to steal a mech suit and EVA to the Roci. She breaks in through the cargo door and attacks Naomi in engineering. Namoi's shoulder is crushed by the mech, and just as Melba is about to break her neck, Anna tazes her. Anna had recognized Melba in Naomi's broadcast as the girl who freaked out at her and pieced things together when Tilly told her that the image was of Claire Mao. Anna, high on amphetimines (she was injured during decceleration), stole a tazer and an EVA suit and followed Melba.

Melba starts to recover, so Naomi and Anna flee; Melba keeps ripping all the doors open with her mech suit. Naomi passes out from blood loss; Anna grabs her and they hide in a locker. Melba begins tearing the locker doors off, but her mech's battery runs out. She uses her glands and starts kicking and ripping the locker door off with her bare hands, but the effects wear off before she can get to them. Anna sedates her and tapes her to a chair.

Holden asks Miller to tell the station to help the people on the ships; Miller says it's utilitarian and can't do anything like that. Miller takes him to the central core; he needs Holden to phyiscally touch the interface in order to authorize Miller for remote access to it, since Miller himself is actually just the protomolecule running "the most complex simulation in the history of [the] solar system" inside Holden's brain to make it seem like he's there with him (he is nothing more than a "fancy kind of hand terminal to the creators").

When Holden touches the core, his consciousness ascends and he learns about the creators, who were a galaxy-spanning hive consciousness; he can sense entire solar systems with his mind. He realizes the creators were sending fire through the Rings and blowing up entire star systems to try and quarantine something from coming through. The station has been waiting 2 billion years for the all-clear to open the network back up. Miller says the station is in "war mode" but he can take off the lockdown if--then the Martians show up and take Holden away.

Bull awakes in the medical bay, paralyzed from the waste down. The doctor insists on putting him in a medical coma, but Bull has too much work to do; the injured people on all the ships won't heal properly in zero-g, so he wants to spin up the Behemoth's drum to create gravity. Sam has to remove the railgun and torpedo tubes first, and when Ashford finds out Bull has orchestrated this, he goes crazy with rage and orders Bull into the coma. Pa and Bull relieve him of duty, making Pa the captain. Bull contacts the Roci and Anna tells him she thinks Melba blew up the Seung Un, and that they need help.

Holden is taken to the MCRN Hammurabi where he explains everything that has happened so far. He's put in a holding cell; Miller appears and tells him they all need to shut down their ship's power so he can unspring the lockdown. This will probably open up all the Rings, which could be very bad--but Miller needs to know what happened.

Melba is locked up on the Behemoth; she's near catatonic. Ashford is in a cell beside her and promises her amnesty if she helps get him out; she ignores him. She won't respond to Bull, so he sends in Tilly; she confesses that she did it all because Holden "hurt daddy."

Anna and the Roci crew are taken to the Behemoth. Tilly asks Anna to speak with Claire; she again confesses everything, but Anna wants to redeem her. Claire says there's no justice in that and doesn't want forgiveness for the terrible things she's done.

Bull gets a call from Captain Jakande on the Hammurabi; she won't come to the Behemoth or give up Holden, because the MCRN won't let her surrender. Sam gifts Bull a modified mech suit that lets him walk; he's deeply touched. Bull asks her to turn the comm laser into a weapon so he can give the Martians a reason to surrender; they surrender willingly, and Holden is en route.

When Holden arrives, he tells Pa everything, including how to shut off the protomolecule's hold on them. He heads to the medical bay to check on his crew and he's accosted by Anna. She tells him about Claire, then takes him to see his crew, who are all grateful to her for saving their lives. Anna asks them to forgive Clarissa, and Holden reluctantly agrees when Naomi says she forgives her.

Clarissa's conscience has returned and she's taken to hating herself instead of Holden. She eavesdrops on Ashford's visitors and realizes they're planning a coup. Hector Cortez (who used to golf with her dad) asks her to join the coup; he feels responsible for many of the deaths, since he was the one who petitioned to come into the Ring. He's joined with Ashford so they can use the comm laser to destroy the gate--locking themselves inside--in order to stop others from following them. He wants Claire to use her abilities to keep Ashford alive. Deciding that all the deaths will be given meaning this way, she agrees.

Bull gets a call from Serge warning that Ashford's people are taking over. Bull warns Pa, then calls Sam; she tells him Ashford's guys took engineering and asked her to overclock the laser, so they can destroy the Ring. She tells him to hole up in one of the storage lockers and he does. Serge is killed in a skirmish with Ashford's soldiers.

Cortez asks Anna for her help controlling the mob after they close the Ring; she disagrees that that is the solution, and refuses to join him.

The Roci crew realizes something is going down; Naomi calls Sam, who tells them to hide and that she'll join them shortly. En route they beat up a couple of insurgents and take their weapons. They rendezvous with Sam and she fills them in, explaining that using the laser will melt that entire side of the ship; Holden tells her that if they attack, the Ring Station might destroy their entire solar system. Sam sends them to find Bull while she sabotages the laser. Bull rounds up his people and they set up base in the admin offices where Radio Free Slow Zone has been broadcasting from. Bull has the journalist Monica and preacher Anna do a broadcast explaining the situation and asking everyone to shut down their reactors so the station will let the ships go.

Sam continues to sabotage the laser; Ashford calls her to the bridge and when another egineer disagrees with how long the repairs should take, he shoots Sam. With Sam dead, Naomi is tasked with shutting down the reactor and gassing the bridge; Holden will take the bridge once they're all unconscious; Amos will stay and guard Anna; and Alex will head back to the Roci to secure it.

Bull's team retakes engineering. Naomi tries to gas the bridge, but Clarissa disables remote access to it. Ashford sends out a team of 4 soldiers equipped with confiscated Martian power armor. He shut downs the rotating drum section of the Behemoth--leading to another catastrophic inertia change and injuring even more people--and sends the armored soldiers straight through to engineering.

Bull, Naomi, et. al. are forced to retreat from engineering when the 4 power-suited soldiers arrive. Naomi managed to dump the core, but not the grid--so Ashfrod can still fire the laser. They escape out an airlock and into an elevator shaft in vacuum. Bull stays behind to cover them; he throws his 2 remaining grenades at the pursuing mech warriors, killing 2 of them and sacrificing himself.

In the offices, Amos manages to repell the attack, but his team suffers massive casualties. Anna broadcasts that they're losing the fight and that they need to stop Ashford or Earth will be destroyed. Clarissa calls and says she could open the bridge doors for Holden, but wants Anna to convince her; Anna says to have faith in the people who chose to forgive her in spite of the pain she's caused them, and to stop siding with Ashford, who kills innocents out of convenience. Clarissa opens the doors.

Naomi rigs the backup elevator to engage, squashing the 2 remaining marines in mech armor like bugs. The hatch opens (thanks to Claire) and fire is exchanged from both sides. Ashford tries to shoot Claire, but she dropkicks him, then re-rigs the bridge access controls, allowing the grid to be taken offline. The ship shuts down and the lights go out.

Holden suddenly finds himself on an alien planet with proto-Miller. With all the ships powered down, Miller managed to shut down the station's defenses, which freed the ships and opened all the Rings. No malevolent force appears and kills them, but Miller warns him that they could still be out there. Even though his creators are gone, Miller can't stop searching for them and tells Holden he "needs a ride."

Anna insists that Clarissa gets a fair trial on Luna, and asks Holden to transport her there. When he refuses, she offers to buy the Roci from Mars and give it to him if he'll agree; she calls up Tilly and asks her to foot the bill, and she will. Aboard the Roci, Claire helps Amos fix all the damage she caused, and finds she really enjoys the crew's company.

Review: 4.5 stars.

This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for John Carter McKnight.
470 reviews75 followers
June 18, 2013
I'm simply gobsmacked. The first two volumes were terrific and really good respectively, but they didn't prepare me for the gut-wrenching brilliance of this volume. This deserves to be ranked as one of the classics of military SF, religious SF and space opera, all at once.

The characterization here is stunning: one of the viewpoint characters is the "main villain," and if there were nothing but her internal perspective, this would be some first-rate writing. Add on the trilogy heroes, a lesbian priest discovering there's more to her than small-town ministry, and you get something amazing beyond words.

This is a mediation on the role of violence, of political legitimacy, of the nature of grace and forgiveness, handled more deftly than in works advertising that they're Saying Something Important.

Very astute readers may catch the Chekhov's Gun when it's presented. I laughed out loud when it went off, as it had slipped right past me, and surfaced again wrapped in layer upon layer of psychological meaning. A brilliant bit of craft and far from the only one in the book.

The only nit I'd pick is that one of the "villains" lacks the layered moral nuance of even the other secondary and tertiary characters, and verges into cartoonishness: showing this person not being a perfect jackass at every opportunity would've helped.

Otherwise? This is what SF is for, telling a rollicking adventure with galactic-scale consequences that's really about humanity's oldest questions about itself.
Profile Image for Jess Owens.
325 reviews4,560 followers
March 5, 2022
I have so many thoughts on this book.

My biggest complaint is that we do not get enough time with the Roci crew. We still get Holden’s POV but not enough. We’re introduced to Bull, Anna, and Melba. At
The start I didn’t mind Bull & Anna but as it went on— I didn’t care. I want to know what my crew is doing.

At first the pacing was fine. I was into it. Nervous, excited to keep reading. But around 60% I was getting annoyed and I think it’s because of the POV chapters of everyone but Holden.

Anna is a priest and my god, spare me. I was so sick of hearing her religious bullshit and her whining about her family that she chose to leave behind to go on this ridiculous expedition. She kept being the person to say “no this person deserves forgiveness” and “who are we to judge” and I was sick of it and her.

Melba was on a revenge mission and I hated her from the start.

Bull is from the OPA and working on behalf of Fred Johnson, I felt very middle of the road in his chapters.

While the protomolecule is present, it wasn’t enough of a focus for me. The parts we did get involving it were so interesting and I wanted more. This story focused more on the ongoing mess between earth, Mars, and the OPA. And while the politics and relationships are important, I wanted to know what was going on with the protomolecule, damnit.

So much in this annoyed me in the last 30-35%. It was a solid 4 star up until then. I also feel like the writing was noticeably not great ? The first two I think were fine- nothing to write home about in terms of prose, but this book? Some lines were so weird, slightly cringe, and choppy. I think some of this definitely translates better on screen, so I am excited to watch this season now.

Profile Image for Mallory.
496 reviews43 followers
June 5, 2013
I've been waiting for this book since I finished the previous book in the series. I've been actively anticipating it for the past few months. I've been hungering after it for the past week or so. So, with all those high expectations, did Abaddon's Gate live up to my hopes?

Why, yes. Yes, it did.

It had everything I could hope for in a science fiction novel. Great characters: check. Great worldbuilding: check. Awesome journeys through the depths of space into mysterious... things: check. Pulse-pounding, heart-racing, breakneck action: check. Ruminations on morality and the human experience: check.

This is the sort of book that makes me enjoy SF: a book that transports me to a fascinating new world and gets me thinking along the way. I'm running out of ways to express how much I enjoyed this book, so here's what I want you to do. Whatever you're doing, stop. Just go pick this book up. Don't bother finishing this review. Just sit your ass down and read. Abandon whatever else you're doing and start reading. You can thank me later.
Profile Image for Apatt.
507 reviews806 followers
June 13, 2016
I should keep this short really, I have a feeling that when people see a review of book #3 of a series they have not read they tend to find something better to do with their time and move on. So I guess this review is quite a niche. Ok, that should leave maybe a couple of review readers - hello mum! :)

So Abaddon's Gate is volume 3 of the popular space operatic Expanse series. I was not that big a fan of volume 1 Leviathan Wakes, but that all changed after watching the Syfy adaptation and reading volume 2 Caliban's War. If you had told me a year ago that I would be reading volume 3 of this series I would have thought you were a very strange sort of clairvoyant, to be predicting what people will read in a year's time, and opined that your supernatural gift should be more productively employed.

After the thrilling conclusion of Caliban's War our heroes, the motley crüe of the spaceship Rocinante find themselves to be quite well to do and are having fun drinking vintage wine and gambling with gleeful abandon. If this nice state of affairs was to persist throughout the book the readers would bin it en mass and used bookshops would be flooded with discarded copies. So, predictably, things soon turn pear shaped for our heroes and even humanity as a whole.

The Rocinante (from Syfy's adaptation)

In the previous book, the inscrutable “protomolecule” aliens the have crash-landed on Venus and soon create a weird gigantic ring, 1000 km in diameter, and launched into orbit. In the meantime, the Rocinante is on the run from a pursuing ship from Earth, another one from Mars, and yet another one from the OPA (Outer Planet Alliance), for a heinous crime they did not commit. Their only chance is to go through the mysterious Ring, once they are through that, they find that the law of physics has changed, the aliens have imposed a very slow top speed of 600 meters per second for space flight. The absent aliens have left a space station behind. Any object exceeding the maximum speed allowed is pulled into the space station’s orbit to become a sort of useless space flotsam. Soon, some humans visit the space station and start getting trigger-happy when threatened by the station’s security system. This caused the station to not only kill most of the human visitors but also drag all four ships into the station’s orbit and disable their drives.

This is another thrilling installment in the Expanse series. It is action-packed with plenty of hair-raising escapades and last stands, and last minute rescues. On the plus side Abaddon's Gate has well-developed, complex characters with believable motivation, and the series world building is top notched. My only complaint is that the novel focuses almost entirely on the human conflicts, at the expense of exploring the alien mystery. I wanted to know more about their technology, biology, culture etc. The fighting among the human factions is exciting stuff but there is nothing new about such conflicts. I would rather be rooting for the good guys against an alien threat than against human fascists.

Another little snag is that two awesome characters from Caliban's War, Chrisjen Avasarala and Bobbie Draper, are entirely absent, and they are very much missed. However, the writing team of “James S.A. Corey” are great at creating compelling characters so there is some compensation from some colorful new characters. Particularly Pastor Anna who starts off as a rather bland, generic pious Christian type but when she is under pressure to save innocent lives she shows admirable resolve, strength of character and moral fortitude.
“She was beautiful too. Beautiful and terrible and uncompromising in her compassion. It was in her face. It made her hard to look at.”
Another character starts off as an antagonist but has a somewhat unbelievable sudden change of heart. Fortunately, I am a sucker for a nice redemption story and quite enjoyed her character arc, unbelievability notwithstanding.

So another entertaining volume of the Expanse series under the bridge then. It falls a bit short of the previous volume’s excellence but more than good enough to keep me committed to the series. I am also excited that by the end of this book the series has reached a pivotal point where the setting is no longer restricted to the "intersolar" space and has become interstellar. Cibola Burn next then!
Profile Image for Gary.
442 reviews196 followers
November 16, 2017
The third book of The Expanse is my favorite in the series thus far.
The anomaly that the protomolecule ejected from Venus at the end of Caliban’s War has created The Ring – a gateway to a kind of null space dubbed The Slow Zone, where all three major power players in the solar system converge to get a foothold. When a UN vessel is destroyed, James Holden and the crew of the Rocinante is blamed, setting off another potentially volatile conflict.
We already know that the authors Corey know how to build a nail-biter with plenty of good old-fashioned sensawunda, but the real strength of the series is their ability to introduce new POV characters in each book that are every bit as memorable and endearing as Holden and the crew of the Roci, and Abaddon’s Gate features the series’ best up to this point.
It’s not hard to guess at what the ring is finally revealed to be, but getting there is quite a ride.
Profile Image for Andrew Gillsmith.
Author 3 books251 followers
July 4, 2022
This is the book where The Expanse really begins to come into its own as the greatest space opera of the last decade.

Big, big payoffs for those who have been patient with books 1 and 2.
Profile Image for Caro the Helmet Lady.
773 reviews349 followers
January 11, 2018
General impression - a lot of combat, grouping, regrouping, splitting parties, shooting and vomiting. Buckets and buckets of vomits. It kinda felt like an annual top model convention.

The third installment in The Expanse series has left me a bit unamused. Probably if I was reading it when it was the freshest book in the series I'd be possibly having quite a different feelings about it. Now that I knew that there were at least four sequels and two more in plans, I could barely use my empathy switch to the full capacity, if you know what I mean. It all was too predictable.
Definitely not my favourite one out of three of them I've already read. Definitely the slowest one so far, considering the plot and the many characters I didn't really give a f*** about. All those descriptions, sheesh. All those descriptions of inner monologues. It actually got much better when I started skimming a bit. That's what the authors should've done - make it shorter by half. Would make it a great read!
Melba. My god. Actually, thanks for Melba, authors! because comparing to her Holden was quite OK now and I kinda started liking him, finally. I don't even want to start with Melba's incredible learning abilities and everything else. I know that authors needed a certain "Tasmanian devil" type of character and they created it. It's OK, really. Was kind of refreshing, in general. But deus ex machina much?

All that said - the last line Holden heard from a certain person on "Roci" had a great effect on me. I'm going to read the next book, of course. I'm doing it for you, Miller. <3
Profile Image for Algernon (Darth Anyan).
1,530 reviews978 followers
November 1, 2013

If humanity were capable of being satisfied, then they'll still be living in trees and eating bugs out of one another's fur. Anna had walked on a moon of Jupiter. She'd look up through a dome-covered sky at the great red spot, close enough to see the swirls and eddies of a storm larger than her home world. She'd tasted water thawed from ice as old as the solar system itself. And it was that human dissatisfaction, that human audacity that had put her there.

Book three of the Expanse series offers a reminder that space opera aims at being more than a fun adventure among the stars, that it addresses and defines our humanity by the impulse to explore new frontiers. When the last white blot on the maps of the Earth disappeared, it was the turn of the neighboring planets and later of the whole Galaxy to fire up the imagination of the restless and the daring explorers.

A quick reminder of the first two books in the series: it is centered in the Solar System, in the not-too-distant future, proposing a society based still on a mega-corporatist economic system and on military power projection that resulted in three major players on the political scene. The Earth United Nations battles for supremacy with the Inner Planets while the Outer Planets Alliance (OPA) struggles for recognition and independence. An alien artefact / artificial intelligence enters the scene first as a deadly virus producing space zombies, latter as a terraforming agent mysteriously altering the planet Venus. At the start of this third book, the alien has morphed into a BDO (Big Dumb Object) of the kind made popular in the books of Arthur C Clarke or David Niven: a gigant circular structure, purpose unknown, orbiting around Uranus. All three major Solar Powers send ships to investigate the artefact after it is revealed it might be a portal to worlds unknown. (and not quite as dumb as you might expect)

The book was a little slower in gaining momentum than the precedent ones, but once it got up to speed it achieved the high quality standard I have come to expect from this Daniel Abraham - Ty Franck collaboration. I'll start with my grumbling, in order to get it out the way and concentrate on the good parts. Because the authors decided at the start that each book should stand on its own feet with a self-contained plot there is only one major POV character carrying over from the previous encounters (Holden) and three new ones to get familiar with (Bull, Melba / Clarissa, Anna). Building them up, presenting their background and putting them in the larger context of the expedition takes care of the first half of the novel. I considered characterization one of the best selling points of the series until now, but frankly I didn't much care for the new actors at the start, and I only partially got involved in their troubles by the end:
- Melba is a stereotypical villain who doesn't even manage to stay consistently in character until the end
- Ann is a hollier than thou white knight that needed a couple of flaws to make her more palatable
- Bull is better as the hard-boiled, cynical policeman ( - I thought you were the law and order here. - I'm aiming for order, mostly .) but he is too much a clone of Detective Miller from the first book, as if the authors were a bit lazy and recycled what they thougth was their best creation.

On to the good stuff:
- the plot is basically a thriller that combines well action scenes with political machinations, creating good opportunities for heroic behaviour and self-sacrifice and other scenes of intense emotional turmoil
- the science part of the novel is a notch above what we have been offered previously, especially when it comes to the effects of gravity and inertia and relativistic speed applied to spaceship mobility. Also good efforts to combine weightlessness with air pressure and to use it in creative ways in combat.
- the interaction between the members of the Rocinante crew remains a highlight of the series, probably not surprising since they are the only ones to feature in all the current three books.
- interesting debate on the role of religion in the space age, well handled
- very strong ending that opens up a host of wildly unpredictable potential developments for the next book in the series, one that would remain on my instant buy list.
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