It’s a little crazy that this is the first book that gives us point-of-view scenes from all four members of the Rocinante crew: Holden, Naomi, Alex, and Amos. On the downside, this is because for much of the book none of them are together! While I hated to see the “family” broken up, it was awesome to see them act as individuals, with their own goals and conflicts.
The ways in which the drastically separate plots mostly intertwined is a mark of how wonderfully plotted these books are. Solar system-spanning events told from the perspective of individuals can be difficult, but Corey placed each of our heroes in the right times and places to show us what was going on without anything feeling contrived.
It’s difficult to go into detail of those times and places without verging into massive spoiler territory, but I would like to take a moment to talk about Baltimore. I work in the city itself and live in the suburbs, so some of these scenes hit particularly close to home to me. Before now, so much of their world-building is set in space, so I loved seeing it played out in an environment I’m familiar with.
While jotting down notes to myself as I read, one of the things I wrote is “Militant OPA is batshit insane.” I knew I was on the right track when my favorite character in the series, Avasarala, said much the same thing about the villains of this particular book. It might be a crude assessment from either of us, but it’s so, so true.
Despite all of the nerve-wracking ridiculousness that occurs in this book (everything from explosions to a Belter’s worst nightmare), I found it intriguing that the epilogue brought us right back around to where the narrative started. Some philosophical conversations in the text note that humans, for all their advances, are still little more than primates. Corey brings this home in numerous stark ways while building tension for future excitement.