James S.A. Corey’s Tiamat’s Wrath is the eighth installment of the Expanse novels, and it feels like it, in a good way. A lot of time has passed since the first book’s events, and our characters have lived through a pile of major events, right.
And the thing about this series is, the books aren’t just doing the same thing over and over. Events have real significance and the world changes in meaningful ways, including the people in it. And so our protagonists can look back at the choices they’ve made, and the world they’ve created, and work through a complex set of feelings about all of it. It’s a bit reminiscent of Daniel Abraham’s Long Price Quartet, though perhaps not so melancholy.
But of course, this is the Expanse, which means that these wonderfully-drawn characters share center stage with some real Big Idea SF, and the ideas here are big indeed—interstellar empires, incredible artifacts of dead civilizations, questions about the nature of humanity, and the fate of human civilization, just for starters.
There’s allegedly only one more volume left in the series; there’s a lot to wrap up in it, if it really happens that way, but this does feel like a series that’s nearing an end, even if I’d personally be happy for it to go on indefinitely. This is some of the best SF out there, and even though it’s gotten a lot of recognition (including a very well-done TV adaptation), I feel like it deserves more. Highly recommended.