So, after a small multi-year hiatus, I’ve got this thing back up and working. I have an enormous backlist, but it turns out that if I talk about the book I just finished, I can clear out a bit of that, too. So: James S.A. Corey’s Leviathan Wakes, Caliban’s War, and Abaddon’s Gate.
So these books—which are the first three books of an as-yet-unfinished series (but which stand alone pretty well; there’s an overarching plot, but each book tells a story with a full beginning and ending)—are ultra-classic SF. They take place in a solar system with a settled Mars, a crowded Earth, and space-savvy low-grav-adapted Belters. They feature an ancient alien artifact that has the potential to change humanity’s understanding of the universe and our place in it. They even have a rock-jawed spaceship captain who has an unswerving sense of honor.
In the hands of a lesser writer, this could make for some mediocre Heinlein retread fluff. But Corey (who is actually Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck writing together) elevates the book beyond the SF staple material. The biggest thing, I think, is the characters. The books are full of characters who are not only well-developed, but also likeable. These are people you want to spend time with, by and large (though the first book is a bit mopey at times). Combine that with some super-pacey plotting, and the result is a series of books that I tore through quickly, and want more of.
If you like this sort of thing, I can’t imagine that you wouldn’t love these books.