“Caliban’s War” Review

The cover has a red background while the bottom corner/half is taken up by what looks like the gray surface of a planet. There's a satellite or ship in the upper right side of the cover. The author's name takes up the top of the cover while the title is on the bottom. Full Title: “Caliban’s War: The Expanse No. 2”
Written by: James S.A. Corey
Published by Orbit Books, June 2012
595 Pages
Completed May 8, 2024

On Ganymede, breadbasket of the outer planets, a Martian marine watches as her platoon is slaughtered by a monstrous supersoldier. On Earth, a high-level politician struggles to prevent interplanetary war from reigniting. And on Venus, an alien protomolecule has overrun the planet, wreaking massive, mysterious changes and threatening to spread out into the solar system.

In the vast wilderness of space, James Holden and the crew of the Rocinante have been keeping the peace for the Outer Planets Alliance. When they agree to help a scientist search war-torn Ganymede for a missing child, the future of humanity rests on whether a single ship can prevent an alien invasion that may have already begun…

This is good sequel to the previous book. The characters and the world building are developed a bit more and new characters are introduced. The central plot of helping the scientist find his daughter is good and flows well with the overall story-arc that’s getting started. The two new characters – Roberta “Bobbie” Draper and Chrisjen Avasarala are great additions. I like the fact that the series will continue to have these mostly stand alone stories that build on the overall story arc of the series. Each one develops the arc a bit more while having its own central issue to resolve.

It isn’t lost on me that there is a problem with the way the series has reduced the idea of racism down to conflicts between Earth, Mars and the Belt. This results in Earth being seemingly comprised of a single group of people like Mars and the Belt which doesn’t make much sense. In some ways it works for what the series wants to do but it others it’s a noticeable issue. Bringing this up now because the introduction of Chrisjen Avasarala who is part of Earth’s government makes it more obvious.