This was a rollicking page turner with a well-developed noir-world, a compelling conspiracy-plot keeping things moving, and enough “big ideas” to satisfy any sci-fi/space-opera fan.
In particular, I really like the universe that Corey builds. It’s lived in; it feels dirty and heavy. I particularly like the details (like the Belter creole) which highlight the difference between the outer and inner solar system. I also think it’s fascinating that a story set in a world dominated by Earth and Mars never actually visits Earth or Mars: a lesser book wouldn’t have been able to pull that off and would have wasted agonizing pages showing us leaders on the inner planets sneering.
In my last book review, I lamented that the main character was essentially flawless. That’s essentially my main issue with this book as well. Perhaps I’m just becoming too hard to please in my old age, but I’m annoyed that one character’s chief flaw is that he’s just too righteous while the other’s is that he’s just too good at his job.
In the case of the first, that’s what other characters actually say about Holden. In the latter, there’s a weird disconnect between what the book tries to say about Miller (he’s a drunk, he can’t be trusted, he’s not a good detective) and what the book shows us about him (he keeps closing cases, he’s fired because he’s solving the case his boss didn’t expect him to solve, everyone he kills legitimately needed killing within the reality of the story): methinks the book doth protest too much.
It’s not a big complaint and it does manage to keep the story moving at a fast clip (even allowing for sub-light travel times). I’m looking forward to the planned television series and to the next book. Both promise to be lots of fun.