Every political power has a fleet at the Ring – and they’re all painting the Rocinante with their targeting lasers as Melba’s gambit pays off. So if you were Jim Holden, hanging in front of a mysterious alien gate with no control over your gunship’s guns or comms, what would you do? WHAT WOULD YOU DO?

For those new to the Read-along – we are working our way through The Expanse from beginning to end, reading about a quarter of each book per week and blogging weekly in response to a host’s prompts. Expect enthusiasm and/or ranting – it’s fun, and if you fancy joining in, the schedule is at the bottom of this post – grab a copy and read along (you don’t have to keep to the time table).

Our host this week is Sarah of The Illustrated Page. Be warned – if you keep reading, There Will Be Spoilers.

 

1. After two books that built mystery on top of mystery, we finally get some answers. What revelation excites you the most??

I don’t know that I have as many answers as I have more questions 🙂 But the thing that excites me the most – unexpectedly, but WOAH I AM HERE FOR THIS – was the Behemoth spinning up its drum and embracing its provenance as a generation ship. I didn’t expect that to be such a HELL YES moment for me, but it was immensely satisfying. Apparently I have a thing about generation ships and I didn’t know it.

 

2. Was Holden right to head off on his own? And how do you think he’ll fare now that he’s been captured by the Martians? And is his crew still alive??

Oh hell no. It was inevitable, but it’s not sensible or right or fair to his crew. I think the Martians will treat him pretty damn badly given even half a chance, but I don’t expect to go beyond bruises – it wasn’t one of their ships he supposedly blew up, although I’m sure they’ll take advantage of the opportunity to take some of their irritation out on him. I also wouldn’t be surprised to find the station isn’t done with interfering yet…

The crew of the Roci are absolutely still alive. Injured, possibly. But I think they were at worst moving very slowly, so they’ll have escaped the worst impact.

 

3. On a related note, how do you feel about the new POV characters now? Are you warming to any?

I’m not wedded to any of them, but I’m enjoying Baca’s practicality and Anna’s honesty – I liked her sermon and conversation with the marines, and I was deeply entertained by her gung ho response to the stims. Of course she’d leap off to Get Involved – she’s never been a bystander – but I expect the next scene to get very out of hand!

…but I’m still not warming to Melba. I don’t hate her and I’m not bored by her, but I don’t like her.

 

4. Do you think Earth and Mars will agree to the OPA’s plan? Do you think they’ll be stuck forever in this weird starless place or will they get back home?

I think some or most will agree, because it’s too good a plot line not to – get all the factions in a confined space and turn up the heat; what can possibly go wrong? It’s a generation ship, so it’s equipped for exactly this circumstance (how convenient!) – but I don’t actually think the next few books are about generations of travel through space, so yes, I think they’ll find a way home. Probably before the end of the book. I mean, the gate is right there, if they can figure out how to get away from the station’s rubbish ring and through it in one piece…

 

5. Oh, and do you think that destroyer of worlds, strange darkness is still out there?

I’d be quite disappointed if it weren’t 🙂 However, I suspect it won’t show up quickly – that feels like a big bad for a later instalment. I am curious to know whether it becomes more of a nod to Up The Walls of the World – we know so little at this stage it’s hard to tell!

 

Other thoughts for the week…

…it was awfully hard to put the book down this week. Awfully hard.

 

Take a tour of our responses this week:

 

A round-up of the weekly discussions for Book 3: