Five Star Reviews: Babylon’s Ashes

Hold onto your hats because there’ll be a bunch of these. Being on chemotherapy in the Balkan Tower of Matriarchy at Christmas means there is a lot of time for me to hide, reading in my bed, but not much time to write. But maybe that was a good thing, especially for this book.

Babylon’s Ashes really grew on me. Like the rest of the Expanse (as individual books, and as a series, and as a TV series), Babylon’s Ashes is slow to start but picks up a lot of momentum. It is, on the one hand, super dismal. For, like economics values of “dismal.” The economic landscape of the solar system being what it is, people are motivated to do terrible things to each other.

That’s part of the mastery of the writers. Daniel Abraham and Ty Franc (“James S.A. Corey“) adeptly show us the big picture of clashing tides of history as well as the personal stories of the little people struggling inside them.

Kindness, though, stands out above philosophical waffling about the “great man” vrs. “historical forces” debate. The heroes of the book are the people who, whatever their personal backgrounds or contexts, try to be compassionate. They reach out and help where they can. For a guy who’s life is uncertain in many ways right now, that was comforting. I might have had a different reading of the book if I’d read it at a different time, but that’s kind of the point.

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