Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Review: Cibola Burn

Cibola Burn is the 4th Expanse novel. In the third novel, James Holden manages to open up the star gate through which other systems can be accessed, and of course, true to American Frontier form, squatters from the outer asteroids immediately zoom through the gate in order to claim land and territory. An official UN science expedition arrives months later, and the squatters resent the presence of official authority enough to start a pre-emptive attack.

Of course, any human venture into a new frontier would result in massive chaos, huge amounts of selfishness, and eventually our protagonist Jim Holden is asked to show up and mediate between the two sides. Events escalate from there and he and his crew have to deal with the planet trying to kill them, the two sides trying to kill each other, and the mystery that's in Holden's head trying to get him to do what it wants him to do.

From the overall arc of the novel series perspective, the meta-plot and story is advancing at a glacier pace. The novel itself sets up tense situations, but shies away from actually resolving them in a realistic fashion --- the authors treat each scene like a cliff-hanger in which the crew of the Rocinante is expected to survive, thereby draining tension from the novel. There's relatively little character development, and the main villain is horribly unrealistic.

Not recommended.

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