The Expanse Read Along: Babylon’s Ashes, Part 2


In the second part of Babylon’s Ashes, loyalties – and perspectives? – are starting to shift. But what will this mean for our key players?

Oh yeah, and there’s the space dogfight to (nearly) end all dogfights. Holy crap.

Spoilers follow!


If you missed it, here’s the schedule for this read along, with host/participant links. As always, feel free to grab the book and join us!


Week 1: Prologue to Chapter 13, Sunday 5th November, hosted by Tethyan Books
Week 2: Chapters 14 to 27, Sunday 12th November, hosted by The Illustrated Page
Week 3: Chapters 28 to 41, Sunday 19th November, hosted by Over The Effing Rainbow
Week 4: Chapter 42 to End, Sunday 26th November, hosted by There’s Always Room For One More


So far we’ve gotten POVs from Namono, Pa, Filip, Holden, Salis, Clarissa, Dawes, Avasarala, Prax, Alex, Naomi, Jakulski, Fred, and Bobbie. Do you have any favorites? Least favorites? Of the characters who’s POVs we haven’t gotten yet in Babylon’s Ashes, who do you most want to see?

Dang, that is quite a lot of POVs, isn’t it. I hadn’t quite realised there were so many!

My favourites are more or less the same as they were, to be honest. I’ll always love getting perspective on things from the Rocinante crew, and yes, in my heart that includes Bobbie and Clarissa now. Same with Avasarala, and Fred, Prax and Dawes are interesting enough to me that I’m invested in the parts they’re playing here.

Least favourites … That sounds like a bit of a harsh way to put it but I’ve got to admit I’ve sort of forgotten who Jakulski and Salis are, or how they’re important at this point. As I noted, there are a LOT of different POVs this time around, and while I value the scope that this offers us, as I said last week, it does mean there’s a lot to keep up with. If these players are valuable, I think we’ve yet to find out how…

As for Filip, I’m still conflicted. I’d like to see him reach a point where he might affect things more positively, or at least just realise fully that his dad is a monster and an egotistical dickbag and take a step back, for his own sake if nothing else.

… Are there any POVs we haven’t gotten yet? Heh! I can’t think of any, to be honest.


Marco’s left Ceres. Is this a smart move? Is he abandoning the people of the Belt? And what do you think has happened to Dawes?

Marco may in fact be starting to scramble to hold on to the ‘victories’ he’s won so far, and the elbow room that they’ve provided him. I just don’t think Marco has enough control of his own ego to realise that this is what he’s doing. He’s definitely too full of himself to ever admit it. It can’t possibly be true that anyone’s getting the better of him, oh no. Whatever they do is just playing right into his hands. The fact that his general MO so far has been to cause chaos and throw enough destruction in his enemies’ paths that it holds them back doesn’t seem to have registered. But how long can he really keep that up?

And I don’t believe for a second that Marco’s number one concern is really the best interests of other Belters. Marco cares about Marco. He wants to be top dog, and he wants revenge against Naomi. Sooner or later, it’ll be his downfall. I’m (almost) certain of it. And it’s going to be delicious to read about.

As for Dawes – I still think he’ll figure out a way to extricate himself from this mess. It seems to be what he’s good at, but whether or not Marco will see that in time to be able to stop him causing him any problems … I don’t know. But I really hope Dawes can throw a spanner in Marco’s works on his way out, even if only because the bastard deserves it.


Pa’s got a temporary truce of sorts with the OPA. Do you think accepting her supplies is the moral thing to do, or is it condoning piracy? And who do you think fired on Pa when she was with the Rocinante?

I can understand that dilemma, certainly, but the situation’s really not clear-cut in a moral sense. There’s no black and white here. Yes, Pa did things that were morally questionable – but I don’t think her newfound mission to undermine Marco’s attempt at dominance by, y’know, doing what he said he was going to do in the first place is among the worst decisions she’s made. For anyone out in the Belt who’s paying enough attention to what matters, it undermines Marco’s stated intentions and his integrity, not to mention his capability. That helps the other side, more than it hurts them. And yes, maybe it is technically piracy, but … Well, the situation’s kind of dire and Earth and the Belt already need all the help they can get, right?

As for who tried to shoot her down, that’s a good question. I’m not sure it matters much at this point, but the fact that Marco might have someone on the inside there definitely does. I honestly don’t know who it could be, but I’m still chewing on it!


Filip appears to be having some unusual feelings. Do you think he’s any closer this week to edging towards redemption?

… Maybe? Or, if not redemption, then at least an eye-opening realisation where his father’s concerned, like I said. That might be enough for him to turn around and at least do something to stop him, but at this point I’m not inclined to think he can possibly redeem himself after all that he’s already done. Earth has gone apocalyptic and billions of people are dead. That’s as much on him as Marco, and how the hell do you even begin to atone for that?

And that’s assuming Filip even wants to. Let’s not forget that no one’s had to nudge him all that hard to take credit for it at any opportunity. Filip is proud of what he did. That says a lot about him, no matter how brainwashed he’s been. That sounds harsh, I know, but that’s where we are now.


Prax’s home is unofficially being occupied by the Free Navy, and he went and sent potentially lifesaving information to Earth. Do you think this is going to come back to hurt him?

Prax! Hi, Prax! *Waves*

I was hoping we would see him again, and I really like his part in this book so far. As for what he did … Yeah, it probably is going to come back on him somehow, unless he’s smart enough to realise it might and get himself and his loved ones the heck out of Dodge.



Any other thoughts this week?


Marco finally took on the Rocinante, ship to ship, only he probably didn’t count on Bobbie Draper being their gunner. YOU’RE EATING TUNGSTEN, MARCO, HOW DOES IT TASTE?

I ate this scene right up. I won’t lie. It had me on the edge of my seat; I honestly was not at all sure how it was going to play out, but IT WAS GLORIOUS. Even when she’s up to her eyes in danger, Bobbie’s thinking things through, analysing their patterns and using their own movements against them. I seriously cannot love her enough. She. Is. Badass.

… Only now she’s in medical trouble and I’m screaming and AAAAAAAAH WHAT NO. NOOOOOO.


3 thoughts on “The Expanse Read Along: Babylon’s Ashes, Part 2

  1. It sounds like we all don’t really care about Jakulski and Salis. I hope something dramatic happens on their end, to justify their chapters existing.

    That space battle was so good, too! It was so satisfying to see Marco get trounced by Bobbie and Alex. 3-to-1 and he still wasn’t strong enough for the Rocinante! Bobbie is a very impressive strategist.

  2. That space fight was so cool, and I’m glad Bobbie thoroughly trounced Marco. It was a joy to read.

    I completely agree with you about Jakulski and Salis. When they come up, I’m like, “Who are these people and why do I care?”

    1. Thirded on both counts. What a scene! …and, who are these people? An awful lot needs to get relevant in the second half, but I rather think it’s going to. And let’s not forget Medina is at the heart of the gates – so closest to whatever is lurking inside/the other side of them…

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