Leviathan Falls – Taki Unte Oyedeng

I have been reading The Expanse for close to a decade. It was one of the first stories that I discovered and disseminated among my friends that established me as a reliable place to get fabulous science fiction recommendations. It has been an ace up my recommending sleeve for years, and I am so happy that it is getting wider acclaim these days thanks to the also fabulous TV show. It is a wonderful, powerful story that I can’t get enough of, but all stories need to end eventually.

I have always thought that there was going to be enormous pressure on Leviathan Falls. So much of The Expanse’s strength comes from the exploration of the unknown and the cathartic feeling of getting another piece of the puzzle. How could solving the mystery ever live up to the road of intrigue that was paved on the way there? And yet, for one final time, Abraham and Franck have come together to stick the landing.

The first two hundred pages are a little disorganized and lack clear direction or urgency. It isn’t bad, but it didn’t resonate with me as powerfully as some of the more cohesive books in the series. But, the back three hundred pages of this book lay out an ending worthy of a decade-long space opera that has repeatedly stolen spots in my list of best books ever. I cannot imagine a better way to end this series than Leviathan Falls. It does exactly what it needed to with the plot and mysteries of the world while bringing some of the best character arcs in science fiction to stupendous endings. On top of this, we have a late-stage entry into the ongoing best POV contest. Our new perspective in Falls is Tanaka, a high-ranking Laconian operative that is hunting our crew. She works perfectly with the tone and themes of the book and was an extremely enjoyable perspective despite her flawed character. There is also powerful commentary about aging, the prison industrial complex, the nature of change, and more. 

Unfortunately, I can’t really talk more about this final installment without spoilers, so I thought that I would give my completely subjective ranking of all nine Expanse novels for fun. As one of the most vocal proponents of the power of Cibola Burn, I don’t think my top choice will surprise anyone. But even my bottom picks are still some of my all-time favorite science fiction stories.

  1. Cibola Burn (4)
  2. Nemesis Games (5)
  3. Tiamat’s Wrath (8)
  4. Leviathan Wakes (1)
  5. Leviathan Falls (9)
  6. Babylon’s Ashes (6)
  7. Abbadon’s Gate (3)
  8. Persepolis Rising (7)
  9. Caliban’s War (2)

These books are fabulous; a complete package of wonder in every serving. If you haven’t read them you are doing yourself a massive disservice. It’s incredible that this duo has managed to so consistently produce outstanding novels for the last ten years. Thank you for everything you have done and I hope everyone who reads this eventually reads the masterpiece that is The Expanse.

Leviathan Falls – 10/10
The Expanse – 10/10

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