Review: “Nemesis Games” by James S.A. Corey

Nemesis Games by James S.A. Corey. 532 pages. Orbit Books.

If you’re a fan of The Expanse on SyFy or the book series, you’ll be familiar with the byline of James S.A. Corey, who writes the terrific futuristic series about mankind expanding beyond the solar system and fighting among itself. This is the fifth book in the series, and probably the one I liked least so far. I’ll tell you why.

Contrary to what I normally do, I’m going to start off with what I don’t like about the book, then end with what I do like. The strength of the series, beyond being about space, space battles and politics in space is mostly about the relationship between four people who make up the crew of the Rocinante, a former Martian warship that is now sailing under independent colors. The universe that Corey has created is interesting and compelling, but it’s the interaction of these three very fascinating people that makes the story sparkle.

That’s the biggest issue I have with this book. In Nemesis Games, Corey decides to have the four of them go their separate ways, in some cases reexamining their past histories, in other cases just getting into modern trouble. The synergy that usually happens in the story is gone, and I missed it tremendously. Further, because the new premise called for the story to introduce many new characters, the action slows way down. It wasn’t until almost 80 percent of the way through the book that the usual excitement picked up.

That being said, here is what’s good. The story continues. A whole new group of bad guys is introduced in a way that makes them hard to beat and easy to like. And you get a really good look at where Holden, Amos, Alex and Naomi come from.

If you like the series, you have to read this book. There’s no getting around it. But it’s not one of my favorites. But I DO look forward to the next one.

I give this one three and a half stars out of five.