This volume of The Expanse is boldly going where none of the books have gone before. That is, deeper into the lives and minds of the rest of the Rocinante crew – and while they fly solo!
Details for this Read Along are here, if you’d like to join us or follow along, and this week’s questions are from me. Spoilers follow for the Prologue through Chapter 12.
The story takes a pretty sharp turn from any of the previous sorts of narratives, by dividing up the Roci crew and (finally!) giving us the POVs of Naomi, Alex and Amos, as well as Holden. What do you think of this twist? Are you enjoying a particular POV more than the rest, so far?
I am loving this twist! I’ve wanted to get POV chapters with the rest of the crew for a while now, so getting all three of them in one book is really exciting for me. I am a little bit nervous about the crew being scattered, because if anything is a recipe for trouble it’s that, right? But at the same time, I’m really enjoying the sense of having breathing room that this change of pace and direction gives us. Keeping up the same level of action-packed peril and adventure might be exciting, but it can be tiring, and so this feels well-timed, to me.
As for the POV I’m enjoying more … Heck, I’m enjoying all of them, given what’s happened so far. Alex meeting up with Bobbie and getting into that unexpected trouble is definitely intriguing, and for the sheer delicious drama of it, I’m all over what’s going on with Naomi – but the story I’m really eating up is the one with Amos, back in his old hometown. I’m not surprised at all to learn that Amos isn’t his real name (or at least not his original one), but I am, I admit, pretty surprised that no one’s died yet… I suppose if you wanted to put a fresh twist on any Amos-centric plot thread, that would be a good one to go for!
Holden, meanwhile, has to tackle the mystery of some disappearing ships, without the rest of his crew. Do you have any theories about the disappearances, and how do you think Holden will handle flying solo on this one?
I’m definitely interested in what’s going on there, because it’s clear that something is, but I’ll be honest. So far I’ve been more keen on what the others are getting up to. I’m sure I’ll come back around to this, but it hasn’t exactly been centre-stage in this book so far, which I feel is understandable given its new direction. As for Holden flying solo … I do feel a little bit sorry for him. He’s been a little bit like a lost puppy without his crew so far, though to give him his due, he isn’t wallowing in it. He’s got the repairs to the Rocinante to distract him, as well as The Mysterious Case of the Disappearing Ships. I think this divergence from the usual narrative came along at the right time for Holden’s development as well; I can’t imagine him handling being on his own this well at any previous point in the series. So, again, it feels like a good call by the writers, and I’m eager to see where it all goes from here.
Before leaving the Rocinante, Naomi raises the point that it might be time they considered expanding the crew. Do you think she’s right?
I do. I love the core dynamic of the Roci crew, as well as their individual personalities, and while I’m loving the chance to find out more about them and see more of their personalities get an airing, I also think it would be really interesting to shake things up and keep the series fresh by adding new faces to the crew. So far my response to non-crew POV characters has been fairly mixed. I’ve really liked some, been fascinated by others, and a bit bored by yet more… But maybe some new additions to the crew would give the writers a chance to really engage in that characterisation and improve their score? I’d definitely be here for all of that.