Cibola Burn by James S.A. Corey

After the events of book three I was expecting the scope of what is already a solar wide setting to really blow up and that didn’t really happen.

The whole book basically takes place either on or in orbit around one of the new worlds that opened up; Ilus or New Terra. That is not to say it wasn’t exciting, it most definitely was. In addition to Holden, we have three new POV’s. Havelock, Miller’s old partner from Leviathan, Elvi a biologist sent out to explore the new world and Basia, a settler on Ilus who we have met before but only very briefly. 

It took a while to come to terms with basically a whole new cast again but after a while I warmed to them all. At the heart of this is the conflict between the squatters/settlers who settled first on the planet without any sanction and the corporate team of scientists and security personnel who feel they have the official charter. At the back of this (and not for very long) is the planet itself, designed by the beings who built the protomolecule that starts to react due to the activities of the people there.

The book starts with a bang and doesn’t really let up. It actually depressed me in a way at the start. Imagine a whole new world, pristine and with enough space for all to coexist peacefully. However humans are always ready to fight and quick to react with violence which always tends to escalate. Kudos to the writers that they captured exactly how I’d imagine humanity would react but nevertheless it was still somewhat depressing.

Holden captures this perfectly, he sees this but isn’t surprised by it anymore, like most cynics he’s an optimist at heart. The only really complaints I had was that I did miss the crew dynamic from the Roci as they were mostly split up and after a climatic end it all wrapped up rather too neatly. 

Anyway this is a great book. The tension constantly escalates and we have kind of wild west vibes mixed with disaster movie vibes, and finished off with the customary space opera element, it’s a heady cocktail. We learn a little more about the race who built the ring and some of their technology and hints of what might have caused their destruction. It’s all set up now for the rest of humanity to get involved and for some reason I don’t imagine that that’s going to go smoothly.

4 stars out of 5

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