The Battle of Medina Station, and the final face-off between Marco Inaros and the Rocinante crew, do not go as expected. For anybody. But does this mean Happily Ever After, or…?
So this brings our sixth Expanse Read Along to an end, but don’t worry – the group has agreed to come back for more in January, when Christmas is out of our way and the seventh novel, Persepolis Rising, is in our grabby and excitable hands! Watch out for a schedule for that Read Along, but until then, let’s discuss the finale of Babylon’s Ashes. Because HOLY SHIT YOU GUYS.
Questions for this week are from imyril. Let’s do this.
So – we get up close and personal with Marco Inaros. Reactions?
To be quite honest, Marco’s POV wasn’t something I’d expected to get at this point in the book, but what we got was pretty much exactly what I would have thought: Marco really is every bit as arrogant, egocentric and skin-crawlingly despicable as he’s been made out to be. There is no twist in his story, because the very idea of him backing down goes against everything he is. Marco brings nothing but destruction to the table here, but at least in the end it turned out to be his own. That’s something. (Can you guess how much I don’t like him?)
And on that note, I have to state for the record that the way he was finally taken down was a complete, badass, epic surprise, and I am more in love with Naomi Nagata than I’ve ever been. I want to have her babies. When everyone around her is thinking in terms of fighting power, size and strength and all that, Naomi is solving the mystery of the missing ships AND USING IT TO LITERALLY TAKE MARCO OUT OF THE GAME.
It was a huge gamble, and if it hadn’t worked there’s basically no doubt that the Rocinante would have been crushed like a tin can when Marco and his fleet came through that gate. It was an absolute last-ditch, desperate move, but what I loved about it was the poetic justice. I’ve talked before about the deeply personal chord that Naomi’s story struck with me, when we learned more about her past and saw how she dealt with her feelings about Marco now. Seeing her step out in front as the one with the means and the ability to finally put an end to him? It was perfect. Just perfect, and so deeply satisfying on that level.
So, yeah. Fuck you, Marco.
Filip completes his arc – were you surprised? How do you feel about him as a character now? Would you be happy to see his POV in the future?
I was surprised by his eventual decision, I’ll admit. I was fully prepared to see him stick with his father and go down swinging, and while this isn’t the justice I wanted for all that he’s done, it was still somewhat reassuring in that it shows he did come to his senses, at least where his father was concerned. If there was nothing he could do to stop Marco – which there probably wasn’t, let’s be real – then at least he was able to walk away. Hopefully this will bring him to some better understanding of Naomi and the real reasons she walked away, herself.
As for a future POV from him … I’m more open to that now than I would have been before this. If there’s a good enough reason to bring him back to the action, then why not? I still don’t like him, but I can at least respect this choice he made, and I am a little curious to see what could be in store for him now.
What do you make of Holden’s choice at the end?
I think it was the smart call. He knows exactly how successful he’s likely to be in that position, given what it’s really representative of. The bad blood between Earthers and Belters can’t be swept under the rug with a political handshake, especially now. Putting Holden in any kind of position of power there would just make the real issues worse, and he was right to refuse to let Avasarala push him into it. Holden belongs on the Rocinante. Let Pa worry about that professional headache; as he says, she’s a better fit for it than he’ll ever be, and in a way it kind of serves her right at the same time, heh.
Can Holden’s vision succeed? Is it going to be happily ever after?
I think, as solutions go, this is one for the long-term, and so any fruit it bears won’t show immediately. There’s going to be a long period of adjustment required here, for everyone – and the economical damage done by Marco’s war can’t just be covered with a bandage, so to speak. It’s going to take a long time to recover, just in that sense. It might succeed, but we’re talking years down the line here if it succeeds at all. So as for ‘happily ever after’ … I think that’s getting way ahead of ourselves, but who knows?
Happy or not, though, I think it will definitely make things interesting for these various newfound political relationships for a while…