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The Expanse #5

Nemesis Games

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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.

536 pages, Kindle Edition

First published June 2, 2015

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Profile Image for Petrik.
664 reviews41.2k followers
July 31, 2020
4.5/5 stars

It’s all about the crew of Rocinante, and that’s the main reason why Nemesis Games is the best book in the series so far.

Here we are at the halfway point of the series. Nemesis Games, the fifth volume in The Expanse series by James S.A. Corey, once again put Holden, Naomi, Alex, and Amos in a tough spot. But get this, for the first time in the series, we finally have an entire book with POV chapters told exclusively through the eyes of these four characters. Let me repeat that, Holden, Naomi, Alex, and Amos have their own POV chapters. And to make things even better, Fred, Bobbie, and Avasarala (Yesss!!!) have more spotlight here, and my god, this book/series is seriously so much better for it.

“There was a button," Holden said. "I pushed it."
"Jesus Christ. That really is how you go through life, isn't it?”

I mean, with that kind of attitude, it’s not a surprise that Holden and the crew of Rocinante always get in trouble. Look, I can’t tell you how pleased I am by Corey’s decision to put all of these characters in one volume. The average ratings speak for itself already; all of these characters are the majority of The Expanse reader’s favorite characters in the series, and of course, Nemesis Games automatically became one of the highest rated books within the series because of this. I’ve mentioned in my review of Abaddon’s Gate and Cibola Burn that I had some issue with the choices of new POV characters. I’ve been waiting for the rest of the crew of Rocinante to have their own POV chapters, and it finally happened here.

“This is as good as it gets. Can’t expect everyone to be on the same page. We’re still humans after all. Some percentage of us are always going to be assholes.”

Not only that, but I think Nemesis Games also managed to highlight Corey’s strength in characterizations for the crew of Rocinante. Even though they’re the four main POV characters of the book, for almost the entirety of the novel, none of them actually share many scenes together. However, just because the characters aren’t separated, it doesn’t mean that the massive intergalactic problem they’re facing isn’t the same; they’re all in this together, their vacation from each other actually strengthen their relationship with each other further as they respectively realized the importance of each individual in their lives. Characterizations and choices of POV characters aside, the intergalactic conflicts introduced in this volume was bloody crazy. There were so many destructions caused and blood being shed; I’m not kidding, the number of casualties exceeded millions. For some reason, I never expected the troubles the characters faced would escalate this much in one volume, and I’m so delighted by it.

“Looking back through history, there are a lot more men who thought they were Alexander the Great than men who actually were.”

Intimate storytelling, large-scale conflicts, exciting storyline, and paced incredibly well; Nemesis Games is my favorite entry in the series so far. I have no idea how the second half of the series will go, but I sincerely hope they’ll be as good—or maybe even better—as this because I loved what I’ve read here. Also, I have a feeling the TV series adaptation of this book will be super awesome; maybe it’s time for me to start watching the TV show again.

I’ve read the novella, The Churn, before reading this, and it was beneficial in enriching one of the character’s background.

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

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

Special thanks to my Patrons on Patreon for giving me extra support towards my passion for reading and reviewing!

My Patrons: Alfred, Alya, Annabeth, Devin, Hamad, Jimmy Nutts, Joie, Mike, Miracle, Nicholas, Zoe.
Profile Image for Bradley.
Author 5 books3,910 followers
October 13, 2018
Re-Read: 10/11/18:

Shit. I said everything I wanted to say in my old review. It's still a stirring adventure for each of the characters as they split up and eventually came back together.

Truly a character-driven novel this time, though. Not much alien stuff. Just humans doing the god-awful crap they do. :)

Old review:

This was one hell of an easy read. I got sucked back into the characters as if I had never left and was delighted to see that they shone brighter than in several of the previous novels. They're back in the Solar System. The main crew got a hell of a lot of face time. If it isn't enough that this qualifies as a wonderful character-driven adventure, then rest assured. It's still all about the big ideas, big events, and big space.

The pacing is near perfect on this one. I never once had to force myself to pay closer attention. Indeed, the revelations kept everything pumping. Every character is evolving, growing older or wiser. The novel has struck a perfect balance in this. Hell, I'm just tickled pink that it turned out to be a better novel than Cibola Burn. There weren't any moments where I wondered why we were spending time on one thing or another instead of the big action. The threads in this novel were woven so nicely that I swear I saw a bow. What was inside, you ask? Oh, Bobby is back! And don't forget Fred or our absolute favorite foul-mouthed politician. It was a perfect gift for me, the reader, and I've got to shout out to Daniel and Ty: "Thank you!"

This is fifth novel in the Expanse is so very worthy, I have to say it easily nudges out the third and forth novels in being my favorites, but it does somewhat lack in the sense of grand mystery that those had developed. I mean the grand scope of mystery, the big scary objects, or the ominous death of so many intelligent species. Instead, we've got very human tragedy and a very interesting power grab in the local system, not to mention mysteries closer to home for our main characters which feel more important, somehow, than the mind-blowing ones.

I can easily say this satisfied my deep craving for truly excellent space opera. So many tend to have holes that that suck my attention into the void, requiring me to spend a ton of reaction mass to get back on track. It's a delight to have one that shows me so much love.
Profile Image for Kemper.
1,390 reviews6,743 followers
June 9, 2020
“This is as good as it gets. Can’t expect everyone to be on the same page. We’re still humans after all. Some percentage of us are always going to be assholes.”
- Naomi Nagata - Nemesis Games

"Boy, that escalated quickly... I mean, that really got out of hand fast."
- Ron Burgundy - Anchorman: The Legend of Run Burgundy

After their latest misadventure the Rocinante is in need of extensive repairs that will keep the ship sidelined as the crew finds itself with a variety of personal matters that need their attention so they split up and head to different spots all over the solar system. Unfortunately, one of them gets caught up in an elaborate trap that will have a devastating and long-range impact.

The Expanse novels have been about big events potentially changing the future of humanity, but these things have been done against a backdrop that fundamentally hasn’t changed. The political and military organizations have remained mostly stable, and a large part of the story is about the reaction by those powers to what's going on. What happens here is particularly sneaky on the part of the authors who make up the James S.A. Corey name because this is the point where they’ve kicked over the table and upset the entire game.

That makes sense because by their 9 book timeline this is where we cross the halfway point so we’re firmly in the second act which is where things traditionally get dark for the heroes of any kind of story. What’s shocking here is the extent of the damage done, and it’s made even more disturbing that even those who have generally been portrayed as being the most powerful and savviest characters get caught flat-footed.

Once again, that makes sense in the greater context of The Expanse because one of its on-going themes is how short-sighted selfish people can always draw attention away from larger threats and find a way to fight over things even as humanity should be on the brink of a new age of limitless exploration and expansion. This is especially been built up as part of an increasingly good job of developing villains.

At the start of the series the third party subjective nature of shifting the point-of-view around a handful of characters sometimes made the threats seem vague or to come out of nowhere. Since the third book the authors have done a much better job of finding ways to put a face on the bad guys, and they’ve got a knack for creating a particular brand of smug self-absorbed jerkfaces who are masters of developing rationalizations for their actions.

Another selling point here is that at this point in the series we’re fully invested in our main characters. (Or at least I assume that anyone who is reading the 5th book of 500+ page novels cares at least a little bit about these guys.) By scattering the crew of the Roci around and making them the narrators who carry the story, it not only brings a lot of the epic scale down to a more relatable level, it also sets up a near guarantee in emotional investment. Even as they’re going through different trails and tribulations they all have one goal, to get back to their ship and each other. That's the hook that carries off this whole thing because it's what all the readers want, too.

I could nitpick a bit about how some of the coincidences seem a bit much or that the novella The Churn probably should have been boiled down to backstory for this one rather than selling it as a extra by itself. But overall I’m just having too much fun with this series to gripe much other than bitching about how now I gotta wait until the summer of 2016 for the next book. I just hope I don’t get Dark Towered on this thing….
Profile Image for Mario the lone bookwolf.
763 reviews3,497 followers
February 28, 2020
That´s the slowest conceptualized one so far, mainly focused on showing the personal lives of the crew, their past, and what´s going on on earth.

And that´s so great because we learn so much about the characters out of the backstory that they evolve and become more eclectic, the power balance keeps changing and all in all it´s more of a preparation for the further parts, because there is not so much big action as one is used to. Now we are prepared with more three-dimensional characters, amounts of added personal tragedy and misery and even more options to switch between the metaplot and more believable main characters.

Do you still remember what happened to the largest empires in history after they have lost their colonies, industrial production capacity, and economic power, or wars of independence? They didn´t perish peacefully and the same will happen whenever the power balance is changed and the old rules are suddenly worthless. That´s already a delicate game on good old nowadays earth, but with so more factors to consider when three warmongering fractions are greedy to exploit whatever lies behind all those portals and could lose everything if they fail to expand, there is much more skin in the game.

Or imagine the impact of technology like teleportation, huge new areas with resources, wormholes, and so many political and economic mind games and thought experiments, and how organized crime will develop and flourish as an early adopter of each technology.

Terrorism, resistance fighters, partisans, pirates, rebels, and any other fraction is much freer and mobile in space, because they are impossible to track down. On earth, the martial superiority of sovereign nations could simply smash any country that would possibly hide terrorists until there is not more left anymore, but one can´t area bombard the whole solar system.
What is even worth for the behemoths, the better the stealth, the more vulnerable all trade routes and interplanetary freeways are, and anyone interested in harming the economy or just spreading fear can easily and quickly attack and vanish again and demoralize with guerilla tactics and precision strikes.

The use of POVs, perspectives, and especially third-person voices and views in this whole series is great, but because there is much more character development in this part, it´s even more remarkable. As I already said in another review, it would be interesting to see the storyboard and, in this case, just how they finetuned the different angles, choosing who gets a third person and who stays just in the main plot as a background character.

It seems to me as if the writer duo is using different styles and tinkering with genres, creating hybrids and I will maybe try to differentiate how I believe it´s done in each part, what premise it has, what ideas it´s playing with in more detail when I am in a novel analytical mood or reread the whole thing when part 9 is out.

< spoiler>The novel deals with a problem that is omnipresent in Sci-Fi. Invading a planet is very hard too impossible business, already large countries on earth are nowadays close to impossible to invade. But even, or especially, large planets like super earth have one fatal flaw, that they are vulnerable to attacks from above. < spoiler>

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 Baba.
3,529 reviews789 followers
October 29, 2021
2021 review: The Expanse - 5: The series 'writer' James S.A. Corey is the pen name covering two writers, fantasy writer Daniel Abraham and George R.R. Martin's assistant Ty Franck; in the last volume they left us with a reality where the human race has changed forever with easily accessible, and possible impossible to regulate access to the rest of the universe!

For Alex, Amos, Jim and Naomi, however, after years of being at the forefront of galactic human matters, it's time for a vacation. For the first time since the opening chapters of the first book in the series our favourite team are dispersed across the system hoping to work on their own private matters. What they don't know is that they have a nemesis, Marcos Inaros, who's not only intent on destroying them, but also is seeking to usurp all three of mankind's authorities, Earth, Mars and Belter and taking control of everything!

This is such a great book for the fifth in an ongoing series, as the writers double down on the character development of the main cast, whilst absolutely turning their reality upside down! All they used is common sense, which it could be argued has been lacking in a lot of sci-fi writing; it's like they mapped the interaction of mankind with alien technology and access to new worlds and calculated the impact it would have across the system from macro to micro levels, and came up with this far-future, but truly realistic story of the impact of such a change! This volume also, for the first time really develops the back stories and origins of a number of the cast, but in such way that is consistent with what has gone before. Add to that, a diverse cast, multi facetted characterisations and a stormer of a plot and you have a series that continues to entertain and amaze five books in! 9 out of 12. This is for me, at the moment the best sci-fi series of the 21st century and only bettered by Dan Simmons 'Hyperion Cantos' series, all-time!
Profile Image for Hannah Greendale.
696 reviews3,261 followers
January 10, 2017
Nemesis Games offers a perfect blend of intimate character stories with a broad scale intergalactic adventure of epic proportions. The book takes about 200+ pages to establish the stakes before launching into one thrilling close call after another.
Profile Image for Ashley.
2,600 reviews1,667 followers
August 25, 2022
July 2022: Once again, I find myself rushing to complete this review before I can allow myself to start my re-read of book six. This book was just as good as I remembered, and in fact, I actually think it was better. I noticed so many things this time around that I didn't before, when I was just focused on, basically, OMG WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN.

(Something you can only notice on a series re-read:

Nemesis Games is the one with THE VERY BIG ENORMOUS THING that happens, which acts as a pivot point for the series, and for humanity as a whole. I just picture the authors sort of laughing evilly with each other while writing this book, like, you think we fucked shit up the last four books? Well, here you go. (It's a dark, gallows humor, of course, because this book is chock full of humanitarian compassion, and THE VERY BIG ENORMOUS THING is treated with the appropriate gravitas by the narrative and by all the characters.)

Everything I said in my first review still stands, but this is a full five stars now.
"There aren’t any new starts,” Bobbie said. “All the new ones pack the old ones along with them. If we ever really started fresh, it’d mean not having a history anymore. I don’t know how to do that."

- - -

"There’s a thing that happens,” Avasarala said, “when unthinkable things become thinkable. We’re in a moment of chaos. Everything’s up for grabs. Legitimacy itself is up for grabs. That’s where we are now."

- - -

"There are two sides in this, but they aren’t inner planets and outer ones. Belters and everyone else. It’s not like that. It’s the people who want more violence and the ones who want less. And no matter what other variable you sample out of, you’ll find some of both."

August 2015: First, a warning: I have officially passed the point of objectivity for this series. You know you’ve passed that point when you no longer care what happens in a book series as long as you get to spend more time in its world hanging out with its characters. This isn’t a place I get to easily, but once I’m there, I never ever leave. Love, it is irrational.

With that said, oh boy, this book was awesome.

In retrospect, one of my favorite things about each book in the series is how different each one of them are to each other. They’re all essentially told with the same style and tone, but Corey* wastes no time languishing in story plots. His characters evolve. Things in his world change, most often in ways that are terrifying and wonderful, in the most basic sense of the word: full-of-wonder. There’s always a moment in each book that Things Change Forever. And in this one, that thing is probably the biggest thing of them all, and it’s even more exhilarating because if you’ve read the four books prior to this one, you are likely very attached emotionally to the characters experiencing these world-changing events.

*A penname for writing duo Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck.

This book also brings us POVs from all the four main crew members of the Rocinante for the very first time. We’ve always had Holden in there, but now we get Naomi, Alex, and Amos up in there, too. And with their POVs comes much needed backstory on all of them, especially Naomi. Hoooooo, Naomi. By the end of the first chapter, you know what’s coming in terms of what I’m about to spoil, so I’m not really counting it as spoilers. The Roci is so beat up from her years of space travel, and particularly her last voyage through the proto-molecule gate, she’s going to need serious revamping and repairs. It’s going to take weeks, months. So the crew split up for some “shore leave.” Amos receives news that his foster mother has died on Earth, so he takes off to take care of things. Alex follows his lead and heads home to Mars, and Naomi heads back to Ceres station after a mysterious message from a man from her past. So, when the trademark Horrific Thing happens, we are in a unique position to get lots of different viewpoints on it, and of course, Holden and Co. are right smack dab in the middle of everything.

I loved this book. I love this crew. It was so satisfying. It was terrifying and horrible and I never wanted to stop listening to it. It makes me want to re-read the first two books to see if I will love them more now. It makes me want book six* PRONTO.

*If you decide to start reading this series, know you are in safe hands. They release a new book every year like clockwork.

So, bottom line, this book was awesome, but you maybe can’t trust my opinion because love is irrational. But you probably should anyway because I have excellent taste.

[4.5 stars]
Profile Image for Rob.
845 reviews532 followers
October 5, 2021
Executive Summary: Best one yet! I've always enjoyed this series, but I really loved this book. My only complaint would I don't have more to read! I can't wait for book 6.

Audio book: Jefferson Mays is back! Huzzah! Don't get me wrong, he's not one of my favorite narrators or anything, but he is good. And the guy they got to replace him for book 4 was not. I was considering switching to text for this book if that narrator was used again. Thankfully I didn't have to.

His accents for Avasarala and Alex are excellent as always. Everyone else isn't really anything special. He has good inflection and reads in a nice and clear voice. Hopefully they'll be able to get him for all the future books.

Full Review
The Expanse books have been a lot of fun since I finally picked them up last year. However I was starting to feel like maybe it was running out of steam.

I liked Leviathan Wakes and thought Caliban's War was even better. However I felt Abaddon's Gate and especially Cibola Burn weren't as good.

I've grown tired of the rotating POV's with new characters to follow around. Part of the problem is that Avasarala and Bobbie were so great in Caliban's War, everyone that followed was a disappointment.

Not only that, but they didn't really feature in books 3 and 4 and I think that's a waste. Thankfully that's been remedied in this book. While they aren't POV characters again, they do feature fairly heavily in the plot, albeit Bobbie moreso than Avasarala.

The other problem was I always found at least 1 or 2 of the POV to be less interesting than the others. The best part is that instead of forcing the readers to deal with some new characters they won't like as much, they chose to make the other 3 POVs the remaining members of the Rocinante. Not only do we finally get in the heads of characters I've come to love in the last 4 books, but we get more of their backstories as well, especially Naomi and Amos.

In fact if you haven't read The Churn previously, I'd highly recommend doing so before this novel. I think you'll get a lot more out of Amos's storyline if you do. I'm hard pressed to pick a favorite plotline. They were all just so good.

So apart from excellent choice for POVs what really makes this book so great is the focus of the story. The stuff with the protomolecule in the last 4 books has been interesting, but this book mostly takes a break from that.

The tensions have long been bubbling between the 3 human factions of Earth, Mars and The Belt/OPA have finally come to a head. And just when I thought I was enjoying this book, BAM! It somehow got even better.

This is a very different story than last four. That may upset some fans, but for me it breathed new life into a series that seemed in danger of losing its way.

Some characters in this book made me so mad! Others made me scared or nervous. Just seeing Bobbie and Avasarala made me happy. I hated having to stop listening each day, and I couldn't wait to start listening again.

To me that's the sort of thing that pushes something from a 4 star rating into the vary rare company of a 5 star rating. It also put it solidly on my favorites shelf. I will definitely be listening to this one again.

If I had one complaint it's that it's over! I can't wait for book 6! If you found yourself not as happy with the last book or two, I highly recommend giving this one a shot, I really think it's best one yet!
Profile Image for Derkanus.
79 reviews78 followers
June 17, 2016
A 15 year-old Belter operative named Filip and a small team infiltrate the twin Earth/Mars shipyards on Callisto to steal canisters of High Density Resonance Coating, Stealth tech used on Martian military ships. They have a ship in orbit called the Pella that releases tungsten slugs to take out the Martian ships in orbit, as well as the Martian marines in power armor on the surface. The team suffers a few casualties but manages to escape with their loot--just as their ship launches a rock into the moon.

A year after the Callisto attack, 6 days after they got back from Ilus, the crew of the Rocinante arrive at Tycho for repairs--the new chief engineer Sakai (R.I.P. Sam) estimates they'll take around 6 months. Alex doesn't like how he left things with his ex-wife (they were happily married and had their own place after he left the MCRN, but he wanted to keep flying) and plans to visit her on Mars. Amos needs to head back to Earth because a woman he knows (Lydia, the face of whom he has tattooed on his chest) has died. Naomi wants to hire more crew since in case anything happens to any of them. She gets a call from someone in the OPA telling here that Filip is in trouble.

Fred tells Holden that he's headed to Medina Station, as that's where all the power is. He and Avasarala are back-channeling a lot of the dealings, but Fred's concerned about all the offshoot branches of the OPA; with all the new planets, life on the space stations is going to die out, but the Belters aren't all physically capable of living on the planets. Apart from Callisto, they made an attempt at attacking Earth as well.

Namoi tells Jim that she needs to go to Ceres, alone, and that he needs to let her go or they'll have to break up. She leaves, and Holden is completely alone for the first time in years. Later, he gets a call from journalist Monica Stuart, who is also on Tycho, and she asks to meet up. Over dinner, she shows him a video of a freighter that went through one of the rings and then disappeared.

Alex visits his wife Talissa when he gets to Mars, but she angrily tells him to go. He gives Bobbie Draper a ring to see if she wants to meet up, and she agrees.

Upon arriving in New York, Amos is promptly "arrested" and taken to an interogation room at the police station. Chrisjen Avasarala greets him via TV monitor and asks him what the fuck he's doing on Earth, if Holden sent his "hired killer" to take out Murtry or something. Once he assures her he's there on a personal errand, he's free to go. Amos looks up Lydia's obituary and finds that her husband Charles was the last to see her alive; Amos goes to meet him.

Monica informs Holden that the Rabia Balkhi is only 1 of 13 ships that have disappeared after going through one of the Rings, and no one is talking about it. She somehow knows about Fred's sample of protomolecule and wants to use it to consult proto-Miller; Holden says no way, and thinks maybe the OPA is involved in the disappearances. He broaches his theory with Fred, who tells him "no way" and that he should drop it.

On Ceres, Naomi meets up with an old friend, a massive Belter called Cyn, who takes her to see Filip, Naomi's son to Marco Inaro. Naomi left Marco after he used a program she wrote to sabotage the fusion reactor on the ship Augustín Gamarra, killing 234 people; this was the initial OPA rebellion, after the UN shut down the proposed Belter homeworld, Terryon Lock, in the Jovian system. Afterwards, she tried to kill herself. Marco told her to leave and not to come looking for him or Filip.

Filip wanted her to bring the Roci to take to the Hungaria cluster where they have a ship called the Pella. With the Roci still being repaired, she charters a ship covertly with Outer Fringe Export (who Holden had almost taken a job for back before they went through the Ring).

Amos heads to Philly and meets up with Lydia's widowed husband, Charles, who turns out to have been an OK guy that truly loved her--so Amos doesn't kill him. Charles knows Amos as Timothy, and Lydia was Timothy's surrogate mother after his biological mother died. Charles says that with Lydia gone, he can no longer afford the house, which was being floated by some gangster named Erich.

Amos goes to visit Erich in Baltimore; Erich used to be a small time hacker, he has one tiny little arm and one regular one, and is now running the streets that he and Amos used to work. Erich says he treated Lydia very well, but Amos insists he take care of Charles too. Erich agrees, so Amos says he won't kill him. Erich is grateful, but tells him there was a flechette turret hidden in the ceiling. Before Amos leaves Earth, he calls Avasarala and asks her to let him see Clarissa Mao, who he became fond of when they escorted her as a prisoner.

Alex goes to visit Bobbie. She's been investigating the sources of black market military equipment leaving Mars for Avasarala, and she asks Alex if he'll help her by talking to some of his buddies in the MCRN; he says he'll think about it. Before he leaves Mars, he visits Bobbie again one more time with the intention of telling her "no, he can't help", only to find a small group of men have broken into her house and tied her up. He calls for emergency services, then rushes in to save her. He gets stabbed and she gets shot, but they survive. Bobbie tells him the men were there looking for him. He says he'll stay and help her.

Holden pays a "data wonk" called Paula Gutierrez to write him a program to find any ships that may be suspicious. When he tells Monica, she's upset that he's brought Fred, Sakai, and Paula in on the investigation, especially since they're all OPA. The next day, he gets a hit on a ship called the Pau Kant located in the Hungaria asteroid group that is relatively close to Earth and Mars. He calls Alex and asks him to check it out before he comes back, then tries to track down Monica again--but her room on Tycho has been ransacked and she's missing. He warns Fred that he's got OPA radicals on the station.

Alex and Bobbie make it to the hospital and survive their respective surgeries. Bobbie reasons she was attacked because via the Roci, Alex is involved with Mars, Fred (OPA), and Avasarala (UN). Bobbie says that while the Donnager class warships are well tracked, the corvettes they carried were less so, and with all the battles lately, they were turning up and disappearing quite a bit if you looked at the data properly. Someone high up in the Navy would have to be involved for the level of clearance required in overwriting the records; that's what she wants Alex to look in to, while she looks into who hired their attackers. Alex gets Holden's message about checking on the ship in the Hungarian cluster; Bobbie says Avasarala gave her Julie Mao's ship, the Razorback, and that he can use it.

Holden and Fred check the security footage and see 2 guys (not in Tycho's system) in jumpsuits and caps go into Monica's room and leave with a shipping crate. They go to the dock and find the crate but it's empty, meaning someone must've edited the security footage. Fred puts the station on lockdown. Back in Monica's quarters, Holden finds that her phone seems to be receiving a signal from the hidden camera she wears for interviews. They track her to a sealed cargo crate and find her inside, drugged and tied-up, but mostly unharmed.

Alex meets with one of his MCRN buddies who hooks him up with a Commander Duarte; he too has noticed the missing ships, even the same one Alex is tracking, the Apalala. Duarte tells him that the tracking of supplies, ships, and material has collapses and they have no idea what all they're missing. He tells Alex to meet up with a programmer named Karlo that first noticed the discrepancies in the database; Alex goes to his place only to find him dead. Alex asks Bobbie to go check out the asteroid Holden told him about, and she agrees to come with him.

Fred gets in touch with Anderson Dawes, another OPA bigwig, who points him towards chief engineer Sakai. Fred interrogates Sakai, who spills that he was involved; he skirted around Fred because he's racist against Earthers, even if Fred is OPA through and through. Fred punches him out and throws him in the brig.

The ship Naomi purchased is called the Chetzemoka. When it's ready to board, she pulls Filip aside and tells him she can't come along on their mission, but that she wants him to have the ship, and that afterwards, there's a spot for him on the Roci if he wants to come with her. The giant guy, her friend Cyn, puts Naomi in a bearhug while Karal sticks her with a needle full of sedatives.

When they get near the Hungaria cluster, Alex realizes that they're being painted with a targeting laser. He makes some scans himself and gets ping after ping of Martian corvette class ships running dark. The ships let loose a couple of missiles and Alex takes off at 10gs towards Luna, where the Martian Prime Minister has a convoy, hoping they can make it in time for the PM's ships' PDC cannons to take out the missiles. Alex kicks it up to 15gs and it rips the wound open in his stomach. Before he passes out, he jettisons the core and it crashes into the first of the missiles; the Martian PDCs take out the other.

Naomi is taken to the Martian corvette where Marco is. He tells her he brought her there to keep her safe, because she's one of them--but she's pretty sure he really just wanted the Roci. Ostensibly, the attack they're planning is because the Earthers are abandoning their entire race to die, since Belters can't survive in planetary gravity. A racing ship arrives at their location (the Razorback) and Marco says to destroy them. Naomi is locked up and forced to watch the newsfeed of Marco's assault on Earth.

While Amos is in the waiting room to see Clarissa Mao, the news reports that an asteroid hit somewhere in South Africa, causing tremendous damage. Guards take Amos to Clarissa's underground cell, and he tells her about all that's happened with the Roci since they dropped her off. In the middle of his story, the place goes on lockdown; a guard tells them that multiple other accelerated rocks have impacted around the globe, causing massive destruction worldwide. The rocks were undetected because they were coated with stealth coating.

On Tycho, Fred and Holden are watching the news when 3 people enter the office and start shooting. Fred is hit, but he and Holden manage to kill/fend off their attackers; however, the station's defense grid is disabled and someone fires torpedoes at them. One torpedo hits and cracks the drive cone. Fred and Drummer coordinate an attack on the intruders in engineering and regain control of the station. A second torpedo with a salvage mech on the end impacts Fred's office; it escapes with the protomolecule sample.

Amos convinces the guards they need to get out of the prison before the building collapses, and they reluctantly agree. With the help of a prisoner called Konecheck, who has enhanced strength like Clarissa's, they manage to crawl up the elevator shaft to the surface. Konecheck kills a few of the guards and injures Amos before Mao shoots him and Amos kicks him down the elevator shaft. The surface is totally devastated and the sky is so dark with debris that Clarissa mistakes the sun for the moon. Amos suggests they walk to Baltimore because he knows some people that can get him to Luna.

Naomi tells Filip that after Marco made her kill, she wanted to kill herself; she tells him to come find her when the remorse of killing a quarter billion people sets in. He tells her she's merde to him.

Alex and Bobbie meet with the Martian Prime Minister Smith while they convalesce. They debrief for hours; mostly the Martians are glad Alex and Bobbie intercepted the hidden fleet, or things could've been even worse; they're still a bit suspicious though. Six and a half relief ships are en route; one of them is the Chetzemoka however, the ship Namoi gave to Filip.

Fred Johnson asks Holden to take him to a meeting on Luna with the Martian PM and Avasarala, who is now head of the UN. Fred plays Holden a message he got from Anderson Dawes, asking Fred to join with the new faction of the OPA; Holden is appalled, but Johnson is actually considering it--that's the side that's in charge now, and Fred can't decide if he should declare against them or stand beside them and help control the fall. Medina Station goes dark, and Drummer reports 25 Martian ships are en route to it.

Naomi asks Marco if he brought her aboard just to show off; he reiterates that he brought her there to save her, and to get closure. She insists it's because he's jealous of Holden, which infuriates him and he says he might kill Holden. She says he can't do anything to Jim, and he tells her that maybe she will. She pieces things together and realizes Sakai must've used her sabotaged the reactor driver on the Roci.

Amos and Peaches (aka Clarissa Mao) kill some doomsday prepper and load up on weapons, supplies, and a couple of bicycles. They walk to Baltimore and meet up with Erich, then proposition him to go to Luna with them, by way of a private launch pad on Lake Winnipesaukee. At first he's incredulous that they'd ask him to abandon his territory, but when Peaches breaks his wall of denial and he realizes he's got nothing left, he agrees.

Alex, Bobbie, and the Martian PM are forced to flee their Martian convoy in the Razorback when the relief ships turn out to be OPA-controlled; they attack and board the Martian ships without much resistance. The Razorback, accompanied by about 100 Martian missiles flying in tandem alongside them, make for Luna with the OPA ships in pursuit.

During the battle with the MCRN convoy, Naomi breaks into an access panel and broadcasts a message to Holden warning him that the Roci's fusion driver has been sabotaged with bad code. Marco tells her that since she sabotaged his plan, which was only to shut the Roci down, not destroy it, that now she's forced his hand. He plays her a faked distress call in her voice, asking Holden to come save her. On the way back to her cell, she stops at the med bay and starts a kerfuffle there, during which she manages to pocket an emergency decompression kit, which should cycle the airlock on the Chetzemoka.

Holden gets Naomi's message just in time; they shut down the drive at 60% and reload a new driver. His hired programmer Paula finds the bad lines of code in the sabotaged driver and tells him that when the reactor hit 95% it would've lost containment and taken most of Tycho Station with it. She realizes this could've been what happened during all the reactor accidents in the past, meaning they were all murders. Holden, Fred, and a crew of Tycho workers depart in the Roci, leaving Drummer in charge of Tycho.

Marco issues a statement from the Pella, declaring himself the commander of the Free Navy and saying that Mars and Earth no longer control anything outside their respective planets. He calls for everyone from the Belt and the outer planets to rise up and follow them.

Amos, Erich, Peaches, et. al make their way to the Lake where the shuttles are. They find one named the Zhang Guo, but it needs repaired, and there's a tribe of people trying to shake them down; Amos beats the shit out of one of them, then Amos et. al. start repairing the shuttle. Just as they're doing final testing on it, the tribe returns with many more people and many more guns. Amos's group manages to stave them off long enough to launch the shuttle. They successfully make it past the Luna patrol defenses after Amos name-drops Avasarala. Erich offers to let him run the crew, since he's now totally out of his element, but Amos just wants to get back to the Roci. Clarissa is afraid they're going to send her back to jail, but he assures her that there is no jail to go back to.

On the Pella, Naomi escapes from her handler and makes it to an airlock, intending to escape to the Chetzemoka without an EVA suit. Her buddy Cyn comes after her, thinking she's going to space herself, but she sorrowfully blows the airlock anyway, killing him--and hopefully convincing the others she died as well. She just barely makes it to the other ship in time and opens the airlock with the emergency decompression kit she stole earlier. She finds that the ship has been mostly stripped bare, all access panels are locked, it's broadcasting a faked message saying she's aboard and needs help, and it's set to blow if anyone gets close to it. She starts pulling wires and turns one of the thrusters off, making her go in circles; she also short circuits the faked message, making it say "this is Naomi Nagata and I am--in control."

Alex gets Naomi's message and takes the Razorback to cautiously investigate. With no way to communicate, Naomi exits the ship through the airlock in a suit with only 5 minutes of air; she uses Belter hand signals so they know not to get close to the ship. Bobbie uses the mag-boots on her power armor to ride one of the Razorback's missiles like a surf board and successfully rescues Naomi. Once safely aboard, Naomi tells them to blow up the damn ship.

Holden rendezvous with the Razorback and immediately gets Naomi to the medbay, since she's suffering from space exposure and plenty of other traumas. They all make it back to Luna and meet up with Amos, who smuggles Clarissa Mao onto the Roci in a cargo container.

Avasarala calls them all together for an announcement: She's going to start a policing task force against the Free Navy, with joint support from the UN, Mars, and the OPA. Naomi is brought in as a prisoner, and agrees to cooperate and tell everything about Marco if she and the crew of the Roci are given immunity for past events not related to the attack on Earth. Avasarala agrees, and they all go for chow. Naomi and Holden head back to their room and she opens up to him about everything. They exchange their pieces of the story in almost casual, conversational tones then fall asleep together.

When Naomi wakes up, she watches the video of the ship that disappeared entering the Ring, the Rabia Balkhi, and wonders what happened to all the civilian ships, since Marco had only acquired MCRN ships. She comes to the conclusion that something in the ring gate is eating the ships.

In the epilogue, the Free Navy is confirmed to have control of Medina Station, and are commandeering civilian ships. Admiral Duarte of the MCRN has taken control of the remaining Martian military ships in an independent initiative of the fleet, ostensibly working with the Free Navy but planning to attack them from the rearguard later. Duarte appears to have the protomolecule sample and another much larger alien artifact. A Donnager class ship called the Barkeith goes through the Laconia ring; the crew experience a sensation like they are clouds and can see the spaces between atoms. A solid, fog-like alien presence appears on the ship and kills the crew.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Mogsy (MMOGC).
2,005 reviews2,597 followers
August 14, 2017
5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum http://bibliosanctum.com/2015/06/19/b...

*Warning: May contain spoilers for previous books if you haven't read them*

The Expanse is my favorite space opera series right now – the only space opera series that I’m still following, to be honest, when I’ve given up on so many others. Not only are things still going strong at book five, they also just keep getting better and better. I thought Cibola Burn was going to be the best installment we’ll see for a while, but then along comes Nemesis Games, teaching me what a mistake it was to underestimate Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck, the writing team behind the pseudonym James S.A. Corey. Bottom line, this book was simply stellar.

The reason why I think this series is so successful? Every book gives the reader something new. The universe of The Expanse is constantly evolving, with major consequences following in the wake of each installment. No longer are the stories simply focused around the mysterious proto-molecule introduced in Leviathan Wakes. Ever since it was released into the solar system in the third book Abaddon’s Gate, opening a literal doorway to a thousand new worlds, the potential for more interesting stories has exploded.

I see Abaddon’s Gate as a turning point for this reason. And now I think Nemesis Games may be another one. The events of the last novel have not stopped the frantic land rush through the massive ring-like gates, as settlers fight tooth-and-nail to be the first to colonize new planets. This has created a drastic change in the power structure of the old solar system, where three main factions exist: Earth, Mars, and the Outer Planets Alliance. OPA was mainly formed to bring together the population born in the Asteroid Belt. Called “Belters”, they are an oppressed group, marginalized and frequently discriminated for their distinct culture and language, as well as for looking physically different from the humans from Earth and Mars. But recently, Belters have started to resist the powers of the inner planets, and one extremist group has gone as far as to target Earth in catastrophic attack, killing millions upon millions.

In the middle of this mess, the crew of the Rocinante are separated. The decision to go on shore leave right after surviving the events of Cibola Burn meant that Holden, Naomi, Amos and Alex were all in different places when the attack on Earth occurred, so for the first time in this series the four of them aren’t together for the majority of the novel. Before you get too disappointed though, this turn of events also means that for the first time ever, we get perspective chapters for every member of the crew.

I can’t tell you how excited this made me. I’ve been waiting a long, long time to see the points-of-view for the others besides Holden – especially for Naomi, the only female and the only Belter of the Rocinante crew. It’s hard to believe that it took so long, but after four books, we’re finally getting the chance to get up close and personal to characters we’ve been following since the beginning. But that’s not all, either. The authors continue to sweeten the deal, bringing back some perspective characters we’ve seen in previous books, familiar names that include Bobbie Draper, Clarissa Mao, and – wait for it – Chrisjen Avasarala! (Best. Character. Ever.) While none of them return as POV characters, all three women have significant roles to play in Nemesis Games.

I’ve also said before that the books of The Expanse tell very human stories. This one is no exception. Separated in the wake of the Earth attack and in the midst of all the death and suffering, the four members of the crew realize how much they mean to each other. It’s very touching as each character struggles to find their way back together, realizing that the spaceship Rocinante has become a home for their little family. During their individual fights for survival, we gain a lot of insight into each person’s past. Naomi’s backstory is perhaps the most surprising of all, and also the most heartbreaking. Every book in this series so far has had four character perspectives each, and one always seems to stand out for me above the rest. No question about it, in Nemesis Games it was definitely Naomi’s. As much as I enjoyed Amos and Alex’s POVs as well, I just couldn’t get enough of Naomi’s chapters, which really brought her courage and resourcefulness to the forefront.

The book ends with a promise of much more to come, including possible new additions to the Rocinante family, which would be very interesting to see. It doesn’t quite leave us with a cliffhanger, though we do get the sense of unfinished business, so you can bet I’m on board for book number six.

All told, The Expanse shows no sign of slowing down, a great sign for a series that is planned to include a total of nine books, and I’m grateful that thus far we’ve been seeing a very reliable release schedule of one installment per year. With the TV adaptation coming to Syfy, now there’s yet another reason to get excited. Nemesis Games is the last novel to come out before the series airs, so get on it!
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,566 reviews56k followers
March 22, 2021
Nemesis Games (Expanse, #5), James S.A. Corey

James S. A. Corey is the pen name used by collaborators Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck, authors of the science fiction series The Expanse. The first and last name are taken from Abraham's and Franck's middle names, respectively, and S. A. are the initials of Abraham's daughter. The name is also meant to emulate many of the space opera writers of the 1970's. In Germany, their books are published under the name James Corey with the middle initials omitted.

Nemesis Games is a 2015 science fiction novel by James S. A. Corey, the pen name of Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck, and the fifth book in their The Expanse series. It is the sequel to Cibola Burn. The cover art is by Daniel Dociu.

The Rocinante is down for long-term maintenance after the events of Cibola Burn. Three crew members decide to take care of some personal business during the down time.

Amos Burton heads to Earth when he learns someone important from his past there has died, to pay his respects and to make sure no foul play was involved.

Alex Kamal heads to Mars in the hopes of getting closure with his ex-wife and to see Bobbie while there.

Naomi Nagata heads to Ceres station, when she receives a message that her son Filip is in trouble. While Jim Holden supervises repairs to the Rocinante, he is enlisted by Monica Stuart to investigate disappearing colony ships.

Facing collapse by the exodus of colony ships through the rings, militant factions of the OPA coalesce into a Free Navy and simultaneously wreak havoc on Earth as they try to kill the Martian Prime Minister and Fred Johnson.

Amos survives the attacks on Earth, frees Clarissa Mao and escapes to Luna with her help and the help of Baltimore organized crime acquaintances from his old life.

Alex meets Bobbie on Mars and they investigate missing Martian military equipment and ships, which leads them into the middle of the assassination attempt on the Prime Minister.

Naomi is kidnapped by her ex-lover Marco, leader of the Free Navy, but manages to escape; Alex and Bobbie rescue her. ...

تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز بیست و چهارم ماه فوریه سال 2018میلادی

عنوان: سری گسترده کتاب پنجم: بازی نمسیس؛ نویسنده: جیمز اس.ا کوری؛ موضوع داستانهای نویسندگان ایالات متحده آمریکا - سده 21م

نوروز پیروز

کشتیها بدون ردیابی ناپدید میشوند؛ ارتشهای خصوصی مخفیانه شکل گرفته اند؛ تنها پروتوکل مولکولی باقیمانده، دزدیده میشود؛ حملات تروریستی که پیشتر ناممکن بود، سیاره های داخلی را به زانو درآورد؛ گناهان گذشته وحشتناک بازگشته اند؛ و ...؛ آموس و ...؛

هزاران جهان بگشوده شده، و بزرگترین سرزمین هجوم تاریخ بشریت آغاز شده است؛ با رفتن موج به موج استعمارگران، ساختارهای توانایی سیستم خورشیدی کهن آغاز به ناپایداری و کمانش میکنند؛

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 01/01/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Rachel (TheShadesofOrange).
2,026 reviews2,807 followers
March 2, 2021
5.0 Stars
Spoiler Discussion Video: https://youtu.be/c3hEJLvMQVI

I adored Nemesis Games! This is one of favourite book in the series so far. I loved all four character perspectives equally. I found myself "fangirling" constantly. It felt like the authors wrote this book specifically for me. It was contained everything I love about this series.
Profile Image for Gary.
442 reviews185 followers
December 14, 2017
The most nerve-wracking Expanse novel yet sees the crew of the Rocinante separate for a variety of personal reasons during some down time for ship repairs. Slowly, they find themselves drawn back together as a strange conspiracy morphs into a shocking, game-changing event.
This time, each of the Roci crew has their own POV storyline, instead of the usual cycling through a new cast of supporting characters. The opportunity to take an even closer look at these people we’ve come to love (instead of always seeing them through other characters’ eyes) is the best kind of reward for being a devoted reader of this series. Nemesis Games takes The Expanse in an eye-opening new direction and is easily the best book in the series thus far.
Profile Image for Justine.
1,112 reviews301 followers
June 7, 2021
Second read: June 2021 - 4 stars
Even though it took me quite awhile to read this, I still enjoyed it probably as much as the first time through. I will say, however, that I was also coincidentally rewatching Season 5 of the show at the same time and boy was that confusing...I wouldn't recommend doing it!

I think my favourite part of this book is all the internal processing we see Naomi going through. Finally coming to terms with her choices, her image of herself as a mother, and her acceptance of what in reality she is truly responsible for (and also what she is not).

A nuanced and impressive volume in the series.

First read: May 2016 - 4 stars
This was yet another great entry into The Expanse series. This book provides some insight into the personal backgrounds of some of the long time characters as the usual action filled tale unfolds. The story continues to be full of excitement and I'm definitely looking forward to the next installment!

Profile Image for Ginger.
738 reviews340 followers
March 14, 2023
Excellent addition to The Expanse series! In fact, it might be one of the best.

Nemesis Games finally gives the reader what we’ve been wanting since the beginning of the series.
Well, this reader at least.

✔️ The four POVs in the book are the crew from the Rocinante.

Of course, we're still getting a POV chapter of Holden, our incorrigible and persistent captain that's holding the Roci together.
But we finally get to see inside the heads of Naomi, Amos, and Alex, and I loved it.

✔️ A second bonus in the book is having two favorite characters back in the series!

Having Gunnery Sergeant Bobbie Draper and the UN Undersecretary Chrisjen Avasarala back in Nemesis Games was fantastic. The books are better in my opinion when these fearsome and impressive ladies are back in the series!

Nemesis Games cranks up the tension and unrest with Earth, Mars and the OPA.

The galaxy has opened to anyone who wants a new start, but old governments in the galaxy are still trying to hang onto power.
A hidden threat has decided that the inner planets must pay and have declared war on anyone or anything that supports the inner planets.
As deceit, manipulation, and power are racked up to a high burn of 5G, the solar system is in a complicated game of Survivor.

I’m excited to get to the next book, Babylon’s Ashes soon! Bring on the unrest!
Profile Image for Choko.
1,178 reviews2,569 followers
April 8, 2018
*** 4.75 ***

"... “We’re not making any official statements, especially when James Holden’s in the room. No offense, but your track record for blurting information at inopportune moments is the stuff of legend.” ..."

OK, this was awesome!!! I think after the short story "The Churn", which was all about how Amos got to be who he is and where he is, this is my favorite book of the series so far!!! It was everything you want from a Science Fiction + Space Opera + Drama!!! And none of that manufactured stuff either, it was all plot and characterization, pure entertainment gold!

It is great to be back with the crew of the Rocinante, Amos, Alex, Naomi and of course, our none-too-bright but earnest and lovable Earther James Holden. He seemed to be in particularly good shape this time around:):):)

"... “What did you do?” Fred asked. “There was a button,” Holden said. “I pushed it.” “Jesus Christ. That really is how you go through life, isn’t it?” ..."

Yep, that is our Holden, who somehow, miraculously is still alive and has build a reputation for himself and his crew, as the guy who is always in the middle of things and comes out on the right side of every conflict. That has brought a ton of popularity and quite undeserved hero worship or hatred, depending on the point of view, for a dude that speaks and acts before he thinks. Making things worse is the fact that his shipmates are loyal and love each-other like a family, so they all feel like they have to follow in his footsteps and have his back, thus getting themselves constantly in trouble on his behalf...

"...“Here’s the thing,” Amos said. “If you did go in there, you might feel like you had to do something. And then I might feel like I had to do something. And then we’d all be doing things, and we’d all wind up having a worse day, just in general.” ..."

Well, after couple of rough years, the Rocinante is in the shop for repairs and it will take months to get her back into shape. The crew is restless and it seems all of them see their vacation time differently. Alex goes back to Mars to see if he can have a closure with his ex, Amos goes back to Earth after receiving the news of a close person having passed away, and Naomi receives a mysterious com from some Belter dude named Marcus and takes off for places unknown, asking Holden to let her keep it private until she comes back. All three promise they will be back, but this brings on strong the fact that the crew is less than bare bones and they need to hire at least couple of more people. However, first, they have to deal with their problems separately and we get to see all four POV's and what they go through. I loved that!!!

"...“Alien super-weapons were used,” Alex said, walking into the room, sleep-sweaty hair standing out from his skull in every direction. “The laws of physics were altered, mistakes were made.” ..."

A very militant wing of the Belter Uprising start a series of atrocities toward not only Earth, but Mars and all establishment, including the Belter OP, and of course our gang, though separately, get in the middle of the problem. The situation also involves the best UN politician with the worst potty-mouth, Avasarala, her counterpart on the Belt and Holden's off-and-on friend Fred Johnson, and our favorite Martian Marine - Bobbie is back!!!! I love all of them so much, it was such a treat having them once again ready to rumble:) No one puts things in such a colorful and memorable way as our grandmotherly UN politician!

"...“Also, Nathan, if you’re listening, and I assume you are, I’m the best and only friend you’ve got. Give her permission to share what she has, or I swear to God I’ll have you turning tricks out of a prefab shed on the side of the highway. I’m trying to save humanity here.” ..."

As much as I enjoyed the humor, most of this book concerns some hard self-explorations by all of our heroes, as well as really horrible losses for humanity. At times I was left feeling like no matter how many brilliant things Humanity comes up with, we will always find reasons and ways to hurt, humiliate, or annihilate each-other, and this is just so very depressing... Since things got really bad here, I cannot wait to see what the authors do with the follow-up, since things are left very bleak by the end of this book... I am so tempted to just go straight into the next one, but I know I have to pace myself, or book burn-out is sure to follow...

"...“Can’t expect everyone to be on the same page. We’re still humans after all. Some percentage of us are always going to be assholes.” ..."

I would recommend this series to all fans of Science Fiction and good, exciting, heart-thumping entertainment all together.

Now I wish you all Happy Reading and may you always find what you Need in the pages of a Good Book!!!
Profile Image for Tom Merritt.
Author 37 books1,763 followers
July 6, 2015
I loved getting the perspectives from each of the view of the Rocinante. I also loved splitting them up so we can see a little more of what they're like outside of Holden's orbit. My only quibble would be that the story arc leaves me hanging which in show business I believe is called leaving me wanting more. Which ultimately is a good thing but damn. All of the Expanse novels have left you on a hook for the next one but never as intensely as this one I don't think. SO MANY MYSTERIES! ALL THE MYSTERIES!
Profile Image for Lori.
308 reviews100 followers
December 1, 2017
Nice addition to the series.
Profile Image for Mike.
478 reviews370 followers
December 11, 2015
After the shortcomings of the previous installment, I was a bit concerned that the shine might be off this delicious space opera apple (not a Star Carrier level of concern, but still some). I was extremely happy to see my concerns obliterated and my faith in this series more than restored.

My biggest problem with the last book was that it felt very claustrophobic. I mean, the series is called Expanse , but Cibola Burn mostly took place on one planet, nothing like the solar system (and beyond) spanning stories the first three books encompassed. Nemesis Games remedies this by "breaking up the band", sending Naomi, Alex, and Amos off to take care of some of their own business while their ship undergoes extensive repairs. This accomplishes two excellent things:

1) Character development: another of my criticisms of Cibola Burn was the lack of character development. The main cast showed no change from the beginning of the book to the end. They were the kick ass good guys who kicked ass and did good. Sure it is entertaining, but it was not as rich in characterization as the previous installments. With Alex, Amos, and Naomi heading off to take care of some of their own business we get more of their backstory and their internal thought process. I thought this was particularly effective in Naomi's case. We already know her as an amazing engineer and independent woman but as we learn about her past (which very much informs contemporary events) and her battles with depression; she really becomes a much more fleshed out and deep character.

2) Multiple Perspectives of Solar System Events: Nemesis Games returns us to events that span and affect the entire solar system. Instead of the POV characters all in one place reacting to the same information at the same time, each of the POV characters gets information at different times and have to overcome different challenges. It both shows each of their individuals strengths and highlights how important that they are to each other as a crew. The split of the crew also lets us to see some great characters from past books: Fred Johnson, Avasarala, and Bobbie.

All in all the splitting of the crew and POV's really gave the story a much richer feel and context.

Another great part of Nemesis Games was the antagonist. One of the underlying themes of this series is the tension between the planetary societies (Earth and Mars) and the Belters (people who live and operate in low gravity environments in the asteroid belt and moons). Before the series starts there is a history of Belters being exploited by Earth and Martian companies and governments. Lack of supplies, high fees/taxes, disregard for Belter welfare, etc. Generally a very tense relationship with extremists on both sides, but because both sides provides some benefits to the other a relationship worth preserving and improving...

...At least until the opening of the gates to a thousand new worlds. Where certain minerals and substances came from the Belt, the new alien worlds offer an alternative and possible more stable/cheaper source of those substances. As such there is a large worry among Belters that they will simply be left behind as the rest of humanity expands to planets that, due to their adaptation for low gravity environments, Belters would be unable to take part in. Further, Belters have evolved into a unique society and identity independent of Earth and Martian origins. They see this exodus of humanity to the new worlds as a direct threat to their culture and way of life.

Into this volatile mix, a group of Belter terrorist due some pretty terrible things in a terrifyingly effective and coordinated manner. I don't want to spoil much, but I will say the terrorists are scary competent and have a devastatingly effective plan to sow the seeds of chaos and destruction. And lurking in the background (as is the nature of Expanse books) is the protomolecule and some greater conspiracy that may just be using the Belter terrorists as a convenient tool for some greater plan that has yet to be revealed.

The only slight, minor issue I had with the book was that this was more like the first half of a larger story. The conclusion leaves a lot of loose ends that need to be dealt with plus further mysteries about the gates themselves. But that does nothing to diminish this highly addictive and engaging read. Can't wait for the sixth book!

And, because I guess it is something I do, some of my favorite passages form the book:

Yes, but think of the huge tracts of land:"But not all 1,300 systems have good surveys yet. Who knows what we'll find."

"Killer robot things and continent sized fusion reactors just waiting for someone to flip the switch so they can blow half the planet into space, if memory serves."

Avasarla is still, literally, the best: "Either I'm not in any trouble or I am in all of it. How you doin', Chrissie?"

"Good to see you too. Call me that again and I'll have an officer beat you gently with a cattle prod."

It is important to pace yourself, professionally speaking: "I made my name with the story on the Behemoth. Aliens and wormhole gates and a protomolecule ghost that only talked to the most famous person in the solar system. I don't think my follow-up to that can be "Humans Still Shitty to Each Other". Lacks panache."

James Holden's ancestors must have reproduced very quickly: "What did you do?"

"There was a button. I pushed it."

"Jesus Christ. That really is how you go through life, isn't it?"

I would watch the hell out of the Fred and Holden Show (as long as Avasarla guest starred): "I've been trying to reach your hand terminal for the past fifteen minutes."

"I may have left it in my pants. In my quarters. I think I did."

"Are you drunk?"

"I think I am."

"And you're not wearing any pants?"

"I'm not ready to take our relationship there yet."
Profile Image for Algernon (Darth Anyan).
1,478 reviews939 followers
September 11, 2015

Only last week I wrote that I don’t like to start multi-volume stories in progress, as I have neither the patience to wait years, nor the sharp memory to keep events and characters sorted out long term. But, what good are rules if you can’t make exceptions! Five years ago, my friends were all praising this new space opera thing by a new author: “The Expanse” by James S A Corey. When I learned that half of the creative team behind this alias is Daniel Abraham, I didn’t hesitate, and today I consider the series my summer blockbuster fix: disasters, special FX, larger than life characters, adventures, clever twists and cliffhanging endings that just force you to pick up the next one and find out how your heroes will survive this time. Of course, it helps that Abraham and Franck are churning out these novels like clockwork, never missing a deadline until now. It also helps that the quality is pretty consistent from one book to the next, making it very hard to pick a favorite episode.

Actually, that remark about cliffhanger endings is only half true. There IS a jaw dropping event at the end of each installment, but the major plot of each book is self-contained, making it possible to start with the last one or in the middle of the series, if you somehow missed the start. The continuity for the five books already published is guaranteed by the crew of the space frigate “Rocinante” , a tightly knit freelance team under the leadership of captain Jim Holden.

Jim, his girlfriend and second in command Naomi, his pilot Alex and his muscle-man gunner Amos have been through a lot together, and at the start of this episode, with the “Rocinante” severely damaged in the previous adventure, they are about to enjoy a well deserved vacation on an orbital station. Pretty soon though. Jim Holden discovers that his crew is not as tightly knit as he likes to think. Instead of waiting together for the reapirs to be finished, all three of his friends ask for special leave to take care of ‘personal’ business. Alex Kamal goes back to Mars, to try and patch things up with his ex. Amos Burton goes to Earth to pay homage to an old friend who passed away, and Naomi receives a secret summons from a ghost of her past. I thought initially that this scattering of the major POV characters all across the Solar System was only a clever plot maneuver to place them in key positions for the upcoming events, but there is a big bonus that turns the novel into my current favorite in the series. Namely, that it was about time we give ‘good guy’ Jim Holden a rest, and find out more about the people behind his hero image.

While I enjoy the popcorn entertainment of the space opera, the real reason I rate the Expanse series so high is the talent of the authors to write engaging, believable characters. Holden is a great one, but he is painted mostly in shades of white: what you see is what you get, the burden of command, the idealist fighting for justice and all that jazz. Ambiguous, conflicted, secretive, evolving personalities are more my cup of tea, and with Amos, Alex and especially with the new revelations about Naomi I got a triple serving of my favorite dish.

I am deliberately not telling you anything about the big ‘Nemesis’ event, hoping you will get as big a shock as me when the time comes. I think it’s enough for now to say that even with the whole galaxy open for colonisation, there are still factions in the Solar System who nurse old grievances and have scores to settle.

The aliens that sent the protomolecule hadn’t needed to destroy humanity. They’d given the humans the opportunity to destroy themselves, and as a species, they’d leaped on it.

When things go pear shaped, Amos, Alex and Naomi are suddenly unable to return to the orbital station and must find the inner strength and the resolve to survive without the usual support of their comrades and without the leadership of Jim Holden. But even absent from the action, the captain can still be an inspiration for his crew:

Even when the captain fucked up, he was acting in good faith. Amos hadn’t met many people like that.

Amos is sorely in need of such a role model, as he gets closer to the Dark Side than any other crew member . Left to his own devices, he is best described as a psychopatic killer with a very short fuse. And what he’s going through down on Earth is enough to push over the edge even a saint. I bookmarked a short conversation between him and another reformed assassin, in the aftermath of a brutal beating:

Amos walked back toward the hangar. Sure enough, Peaches was standing in the doorway, her arms crossed. He wiped his hand. His knuckles were bleeding.
“See, that’s what civilization is,” he said. “Bunch of stories. That’s all.”
“So what if it is?” Peaches said. “We’re really good at telling stories. Everything just turned to shit, and we’re already finding ways to put it back together.”

Which brings me to the third (or fourth) reason I love the series: no matter how dark things get, and they get sunk to the bottom of a dark hole in “Nemesis Games”, there’s always a chance to get up, dust yourself, and fight another day!

All three storylines involving the ‘Rocinante’ crew members are dramatic and spectacular enough to warrant a spin-off movie or novel. Together they bring the house down, at least for me. Again, in trying to avoid spoilers, I can’t go into details, but I would like to see what others thought of

I know I am abusing the spoiler tags, but I am also curious about the hook at the end of the novel. Uncharacteristically, a lot of plot lines are left unresolved, and the overall status of the Solar System is a big mess. What will they come up with next?

As an epitaph of sorts, and a reminder that we need a sense of humour to help get us over the rough spots, I will close my review with the heartfelt exclamation of one of the lead characters:

I think this has to qualify as the worst vacation ever.
Profile Image for Kevin Kelsey.
400 reviews2,179 followers
March 15, 2018
Easily the best in the series so far. No question about that. Instead of introducing several new characters and slowly weaving them into the plot along with the Rocinante crew, this one buckles down on the core characters and delivers in strides. A lot happens, considering that no time had to be spent giving us info on all new people, the bulk of the book fully develops backstories and gives us the goods on the main characters.

Naomi brings it all home in this one, and it's amazing to finally see her in action. She was always a little in the background in the previous books, but not here. The Amos chapters are pure fun, and his backstory first established in The Churn is continued to a great conclusion. Bobbie is back, paired with Alex for most of the story, and Avasarala is as vulgar and pissed as ever. Her interactions with Amos were my favorite thing about this one.

The story itself is a massive shakeup to this universe, and will have long lasting reverberations for the books to follow. Characters are changed, permanently. Big things happen. Stuff goes down. There was also some great setup for what's to follow. This book was complete in and of itself, but in a way it felt like the first half of an absolute epic. Book 6 is too far away right now, and I honestly feel like it's going to blow this whole series wide open for the remaining 3 books after.

I am excited.
Profile Image for Anissa.
842 reviews251 followers
February 16, 2021
This was what I enjoy about The Expanse! After a bit of a disappointment in reading Cibola Burn, I was a little reticent to jump right into another. My husband decided he wanted to get back to watching the show so I figured I'd read the book for the season before we did.

This book delves into the backgrounds of the main characters and also gives an in-depth perspective to current goings-on on Earth, Mars, Tycho station and what's become an OPA faction ship. Holden, Naomi, Alex and Amos shone brightly and I loved reading about their trials, setbacks and successes. The bonus of course was having Bobbie and Avasarala reemerge as major players again. Honourable mention to Fred and Clarissa. The action was great, the quips fun and the tragedy on epic scale. This was the culmination of the high stakes humanity has been on the brink of for years and that's not even including the protomolecule sample that's still out there or who knows what else will happen with the many planets through the Ring Gate. I really look forward to the next book!

I will of course continue with the series. Recommended.
Profile Image for Trish.
1,875 reviews3,382 followers
October 11, 2018
The first three books took place in our solar system, some time in the future. The fourth book switched to a more outwards look thanks to the ring gates and all the pathways they had opened. Since I'm a fan of stories about galactic discovery, I LOVED the new setting and all its possibilities. Alas, we are now back in Sol.

Part of me wanted to be out in the deep black and explore, see aliens or at least find more artifacts, connecting the dots, getting closer to solving the mystery of the builders.
Another part of me must admit that this story about the political turmoil that got started when the ring gates opened is realistic and still very interestingly executed. I mean, it would be utopic to think humanity would suddenly just get along because there are enough worlds out there for the individual factions so nobody would have to fight any longer. That would be the smart way to see it but since when have humans ever been this smart?
There is also the problem of the economies collapsing (or threatening to) as well as the different governments trying hard not to be left behind by their own subjects. *lol*
I guess it therefore comes as no surprise that there is quite the struggle in Sol and that the authors wanted to highlight that, to give the reader a bit more introspection.

Thus, the crew of the Roci are at Tyco station at the beginning, where the ship needs extensive repairs. In order to pass the time, they split up (what could possibly go wrong?) with Amos going to Earth, Alex to Mars and Naomi ... Holden stays behind with Fred Johnson and that awful reporter Monica.
However, the past that is slowing reeling Naomi back in is also threatening the entire system and soon shit really hits the fan.

As such, this more narrow perspective of events also served as a more closer look at the characters themselves. A bit more flesh on their bones so to speak. More about their pasts (for those who've read the short stories as much as for those who haven't), setting the scene for the crew to grow both in character and numbers (yep, you heard that correctly).

Some events here are truly heartbreaking, such as but the authors managed to balance that heartbreak against some of the best dialogues I've ever read, mostly between Avasarala and Amos. Chrissy, you're the best. ;)

I did not, however, connect with Naomi. *lol* If anything, this has confirmed what I think about her, namely that ?!
Nothing new, really, and it's actually a good sign since it points to the authors sticking with how they built their characters instead of catering to the audience or making unrealistic changes.

Anyway, this was not what I had expected and except from the one massive thing happening this was on a smaller scale event-wise, but it was still written impeccably and had me enjoy every minute that I sat on the edge of my seat. To say nothing of that epilogue! Way to hook the readers!
Profile Image for Sud666.
1,920 reviews156 followers
August 17, 2020
The cosmic epic of The Expanse continues. While there are some similarities to Season 4 of the show (which was a combination of this book and the previous "Cibola Burn"), but this is a fra darker and much more complex story.

The crew of the Roci decides to do some individual missions. Amos heads back home to Baltimore for a funeral; Alex goes back to Mars to try to reconnect with his old life; Naomi stupidly decides to go "help" her son and Holden is stuck on the Roci trying to help Fred Johnson.

No more spoilers. Now while that part is going on-there are some major "meta" developments. For one thing, the opening of the gates has led to the decline in power for Earth and Mars and is devastating to the Belters. A rouge OPA branch launches a devastating attack on the Earth and the repercussions will be immense. The other "meta" is that on top of all these human problems- some THING is making ships disappear. The book ends on a huge cliff hanger.

Great sci-fi and a fun story. Sadly I shall have to wait however long it takes for the next book. let's pray James S.A. Corey do not channel their inner-G.R.R. Martin.
Profile Image for Renay.
236 reviews124 followers
August 25, 2018
Friends, I have been having paroxysms of joy whenever I think about this book, these characters, their friends, AVASARALA, BOBBIE, FRED.



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