This series has quickly become one of my favourites and each new book was always one of my most anticipated and best reads of the year. I still really enjoyed Persepolis Rising, but I wasn’t happy with all the turn of events. When they announced this one was delayed from December to March I figured it was due to the time they’ve spent writing the show, and was happy to wait if it meant a return to form. It was definitely worth the wait. I’m really happy the Vintage 1974 Classic shirt got picked up by Amazon and I hope they get to complete the series because once the final book is published I’d have a big Expanse (get it?) in my reading schedule.
The premise is that the solar system has been conquered by the Laconian Empire. They are a colony established by Mars deserters that have gained access to a shipyard owned by the Protomolecule race. Easily crushing the rest of humanity, they have established a British-style colonial empire that rules reasonably soft but still with absolute authority. Holden has been captured and the rest of the team is struggling to figure out a way to fight a seemingly invincible foe. Worse, Laconia continues to poke the bear of the race that destroyed the Protomolecule race. They believe they can deal with them as equals despite the fact they are seemingly possessed of far greater technology.
This is probably the best storyline for Naomi in the series as it gives her the opportunity to become the leader of the revolution against the Laconians. Too often, Holden was given the role of leader and it’s good to see Naomi show herself off as a practical alternative. Holden also becomes an “evil chancellor” working against Duarte from behind the scenes while ostensibly his pet prisoner. Amos, Vintage 1974 Classic shirt, and Alex all get great storylines and this is probably one of the best books for character development in the series.