Nemesis Games – James S.A. Corey

I am doggedly stubborn. I will keep at something even to the point of it starting to hurt me. But I get frustrated when people assume that my tenacity also means I am closed minded. One does not assume the other. I change my mind all the time, and I try to be almost gleeful about it (this often strikes people as being false, and admittedly it is a little. The sensation of finding out that you were wrong hurts a little – but I’ve opted not to care about it, so that hopefully the stigma around it moves on. We should start training people to change their minds and move on). I would like to bring into evidence James S.A. Corey’s Nemesis Games.

Nemesis Games is the fifth book in the expanse series, but more notably, it is the first one that I through and through enjoyed. I disliked the first books pretty extremely, and was pretty openly mocking of the series afterwards. But I decided to keep up with the series as a whole.

The short of the plot is that the crew of the Rocinanate are all off doing various personal things when the plot hits the fan in a pretty big way.

So the question, of course, is why did I like this one so much more in comparison to the others. For one thing this was the first novel where I felt like the group of main antagonists really got the punch on the lip they deserve. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I dislike the characters. But there is something utterly unrealistic (or perhaps, overly cinematic) about characters whom are always the center of the action and drama of a narrative. Its even weirder when they are always saving the day. For a series that had five books or so when I started reading it, I found it weird that all of them always tied up so damn nicely. Nemesis Games was a nice contrast to what had been happening, and it really geared me up to tackle the next one. The threat that the crew of the Rocinante now face seems to be given some legitimacy by the fact that it is not immediately thwarted, as many of the human actors are in each of these books.

Not all of this book was great, the sections dealing with the aftermath of the disaster on Earth made me say little more but ‘yea, Lucifer’s Hammer did it better’. Not that these things should be a pissing contest.

The next question that comes to mind is whether it is the books that grew on me or the quality of the writing that increased with the books. I suspect it is the latter. Speaking to someone I knew who read these books, I asked him what he thought of the ‘vomit zombies’ (‘Vomit Zombies!’ was the exactly line that made me stop taking the first book seriously) from the first book. “Yea, those were pretty silly,” they said. “The first book largely was”.

So it’s not me.

Frankly, I have no idea. And I am happy this way.

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