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Summary

A revolution brewing for generations has begun in fire. It will end in blood.

The Free Navy - a violent group of Belters in black-market military ships - has crippled the Earth and begun a campaign of piracy and violence among the outer planets.

The colony ships heading for the 1,000 new worlds on the far side of the alien ring gates are easy prey, and no single navy remains strong enough to protect them. James Holden and his crew know the strengths and weaknesses of this new force better than anyone.

Outnumbered and outgunned, the embattled remnants of the old political powers call on the Rocinante for a desperate mission to reach Medina Station at the heart of the gate network. But the new alliances are as flawed as the old, and the struggle for power has only just begun.

As the chaos grows, an alien mystery deepens. Pirate fleets, mutiny and betrayal may be the least of the Rocinante's problems. And in the uncanny spaces past the ring gates, the choices of a few damaged and desperate people may determine the fate of more than just humanity.

©2016 James S. A. Corey (P)2016 Little Brown Book Group

What listeners say about Babylon's Ashes

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Filler?

I really enjoyed the first few books of this series, but recently it seems to be going downhill. This book continues with the 'Free Navy' saga that began in the last book, but it strikes me as a long, and drawn out filler portion of the wider arc. There is very little advancement of the overall plot, and everything covered in this book and the last should really have been condensed to a singular book at most. Also, the 'atrocity' of the attack on Earth from the previous book is massively downplayed, and it comes across as odd that there doesn't seem to be much of an emotional response about it from the characters.

As a final note, this may be because I have had some time away from the series and have forgotten the nuances of the writers' style; but I hope you like metaphors, because this book puts metaphors in your metaphors, so you can metaphor while you metaphor.

9 people found this helpful

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Great performance

I really enjoyed book 6. The plot is expansive and nail biting at times. The book is beautifully read by Jefferson Mays. Thank you for bringing him back again to read it.

3 people found this helpful

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Another winner! 5 stars all the way

I love and adore this series. Not a committed fan of science fiction I have surprised myself by devouring all the books (Cibola Burns I had to read as opposed to listen to tho'). And this one absolutely delivers. I think what attracts me so much to these novels is character development and evolution and a really thoughtful and original plot, as well as a society which echoes political and socio-economic factions that are all around us, I can relate to these people. They might be fighting in spaceships miles above our heads, but they're waging the same sorts of wars. The intense humanness is what keeps me reading, and the great writing of course.

Of course, now that I've watched Season 1 of The Expanse their faces are fixed in my head as the tv characters, but mostly that's ok. Jefferson Mays he is the perfect narrator, every nuance, every tiny inflection comes through.

Brilliant.

ps Audible - will you finance re-recording Cibola Burns with Jefferson Mays? Nothing against Erik Davies, it's just that his narration is not as suited to the series as JM, it spoils an otherwise brilliant run of books.

5 people found this helpful

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Damn. I've finished them!

This is last of the books in The Expanse series, and I've grown to love them more as I've progressed through them. The characters are complex and interesting, the scope is sweeping, and there's wit as well as drama, psychological insight as well as action. All six books are entirely satisfying.

This series is as free from gender bias as anything I've ever read. That two men can write a character like Avasarala - an old, sweary, powerful Indian woman - is impressive. Age, sex, race and sexuality are all incorporated into these books as unremarkable facts of life. They do not determine whether someone is a soldier, a politician, an engineer, a priest or a doctor. These authors write about People.

The book is well read. The voices of all the characters are consistent and evocative, and Maya's rendering of the Belter patois is excellent.

The overall message of this series is humane and tender and timely, but it is conveyed in riveting stories, and through characters it's easy to fall in love with.

1 person found this helpful

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Complete change of pace... dead slow ahead.

What disappointed you about Babylon's Ashes?

The pacing was slow, predictable and repetitive.
The villain was just unbelievable. Every time Inaros started going off on one about his righteousness, I just wanted to yell "But you killed billions of people". What's worse, other characters supported him. Even with the differences between the belt and Earth, I refuse to believe that people would support someone who orchestrated genocide. I like my villains to at least be believable.
Plus the author seemed to completely forget about Amos half way through the book... he just disappeared and the re-appeared towards the end of the story. Very little exploration of Clarissa being on board the Rocinante aside from some thrown in angst that Jim just gets over between heartbeats.
Bearing in mind how much time the book spends building up the bad guy, the ending was anticlimactic at best.

What will your next listen be?

I'm invested in the Expanse series so shall listen to the next one. I just pray it'll be less dull than this dirge.
Until then, moving on to We Are Legion (We Are Bob) - which so far is excellent.

Have you listened to any of Jefferson Mays’s other performances? How does this one compare?

Mays was on form as always. I have no complaints about his excellent performance.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Babylon's Ashes?

Pretty much anything with Inaros would be cut - leaving him as some faceless entity causing terror. The Philip story was tedious and predictible and so would be mostly axed.
In short, by the time I finished editing this novel it'd be a short story.

Any additional comments?

In all honesty, I think you could skip this book entirely and go straight to the next one with little or no continuity issues.

1 person found this helpful

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Bring on the next one

Another great installment of the Expanse series. I've been waiting for it for a while now and enjoyed it thoroughly, but sad it's already over. just going to have to wait again now.

1 person found this helpful

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Highly enjoyable, a good space opera installment

I really enjoyed this installment of this space opera. This book introduced the perspective of done new and existing characters; fleshing them out some. I recommend this audiobook for expanse enjoyers.

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Great book

Looking forward to hearing more from this series well read and enjoyable. Sifi at its most interesting.

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wow what a ride!

I began by watching the TV series and couldn't wait to find out what happened next, I'm glad I did ! I now have to choose between waiting for the series to catch up or listening to the originals !

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Exceptional next phase in this realistic series.

All good, story direction, believable continuation of all the characters personalities and the narration made it come to life.

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  • Bert Heymans
  • 28-12-16

This time around the story just stalls

What disappointed you about Babylon's Ashes?

There are plot holes and the way characters behave is really weird. Nobody appears to be really angry/hurt/traumatised about the attack on earth. That just doesn't make sense. The story went nowhere this time. It feels like the authors are stalling.

What was most disappointing about James S. A. Corey’s story?

I was missing all the ingredients that make The Expanse a great series for me, like a good Holden story (he feels left out this time), great action writing (too sparse) and alien stuff/new worlds/new technologies/mysterie development.

The space battles where OK, Bobby was OK, the Prax and Vandercaust bits where good, but it fails to save the book for me.

What didn’t you like about Jefferson Mays’s performance?

He has a nice and consistent voice to listen to, but he's not my favourite. Some of the Belter slang is weird to listen to, it's supposed to sound foreign but the way Jefferson May pronounces them is weird. I didn't recognise the German or Dutch in it for instance. It must have been really hard to do, reading a boring story with characters speaking a self-invented language half of the time.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Babylon's Ashes?

We got even more Marko this time (the blandest villain character ever), a meek Avasarala (!) and boring details about the struggles of Micio Pa. I would have cut a lot, if not most of it.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Ales Drobek
  • 21-10-18

A new height of dragging the story

A few genuinely great space opera pearls drowned in mountains of padding. I've seen my share of this tactic but the Expanse authors mastered it to an absolute perfection.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 28-09-17

Anti-climactic end

Amazing characters, but the ending wasn't that good. It was too abrupt and ambiguous I think.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Siert
  • 13-01-17

Touching

These books are incredibly well written. It makes you part of the crew of the roci in a way few writers are able to.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Erik
  • 17-12-16

Awesome! Just awesome!

James S. A. Corey is back and better than ever. The authors are changing their narrative style a little by telling the story from every relevant angle making this a complex but very exciting story! Everything we love about the expanse and a little more.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Johan
  • 10-09-21

First book of the series that was a bit less good

So far I've loved this series, and all books including this one have been good, there's been very few moments when I felt like I something in the story makes no sense or that "why would they do that? it makes no sense" there are some things like the way the belter creole works that seems an unrealistic way for it to evolve, as someone interested in linguistics this is something I just have to accept though. However in this book the main problem with the story is how hard it is to keep track of where they are going and why. It is also hard to tell how much time passes in parts of the story, because of this, it often is hard to follow I got bored and uninterested which I never got in the previous books. Also the characters' behaviour are many times not realistic, like Marco's crew, and how characters who act in impossible and unreasonable manner are tolerated even in extremely serious and grave situations.
So this is the first book in the series where I will give it a lower score. The previous ones in the series got highest scores from me.
Babylon's Ashes only get this:
Overall: ★★★★☆
Performance: ★★★★★
Story: ★★★☆☆
Performance still gets top score as Jefferson Mays manages to be lively and exciting, and any range of emotions from any character, he does convincingly, without ever sounding silly or over-the-top.
Also this is the first series where I have been listening to most of it in higher than 1x speed, usually 1.10x or 1.15x speed. Any speeds between 0.90 and 1.20 sound good, and - I would say - completely natural. Which has not been the case with most audiobook productions I've listened to. Even 1.25 sounds fine most of the time, but at some points it sounds a little unnatural.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 08-11-20

Felt like a filler episode

You know how there’s sometimes episodes that only progress characters and not the main story? This is what this book is. I like the development of the characters, but it mostly lacks the galactic mystery aspects of the other books. In previous books the Holden chapters almost always lead to a development around the protomolecule, while other character chapters typically lead to development of subplots such as the Medina mutiny-counter-mutiny. In this book, even Holden chapters focus on what feels like subplots, which leaves the book feeling directionless. You could probably skip this book if you only want the alien plot lines, but I liked the character development. If you do skip it:

— Warning, spoilers ahead —
Here’s the main plot points in order of importance: The ring gates make ships go missing if too many go through at once, there’s a monster hiding between spaces of atoms or something killing ships that go missing, the Earth has been bombarded with meteors by terrorists and is soon uninhabitable, Clarissa/Melba is now a part of the crew, Naomi got kidnapped and then tried to save her son but chose to killed him by making his ship go missing in the gates, Fred Johnson is dead, Mars has been abandoned in favor of ring worlds, a Martian faction is building human-alien hybrid warships in secret, Michio Pa is in charge of setting up a network of shipping to move people off the dying Earth to ring worlds. That’s all that happened essentially, there was an escape from dying Earth and stuff which was pretty cool and some other parts I really liked, but yeh. Felt a little filler compared to the rest of the series!

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  • Henri
  • 06-03-20

Invisible pieces falling together leaving a mark

Possibly my least favorite book in the series, but this is expanse so it's still onw of the greatest books, things don't happen because they are the main characters but because they are the people they are doing their best in these situations

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Rasmus
  • 09-10-19

Can't listen anymore

The whole setup for the plot from the last book was so infuriatingly bad it tainted everything about this book and then the characters become war profiteers all of the sudden. No thanks.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • torben
  • 10-04-19

addicted

started on book one and became instant addicted to the books :) listen to them or read it is on my top 3 list off books