Persepolis Rising

Persepolis Rising

In the thousand-sun network of humanity's expansion, new colony worlds are struggling to find their way. Every new planet lives on a knife edge between collapse and wonder, and the crew of the aging gunship Rocinante have their hands more than full keeping the fragile peace.In the vast space between Earth and Jupiter, the inner planets and belt have formed a tentative and...

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Title:Persepolis Rising
Author:James S.A. Corey
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Persepolis Rising Reviews

  • Kevin Kelsey

    This one changes things. I assumed that the pace was going to quicken, since Persepolis Rising is moving us into the final three Expanse novels, but I am in awe at how much this book moved the series forward from where we left off in Babylon’s Ashes. We are definitely moving toward the end of the long story arc with this one.

    As far as the story goes: The only constant is change, and

    This one changes things. I assumed that the pace was going to quicken, since Persepolis Rising is moving us into the final three Expanse novels, but I am in awe at how much this book moved the series forward from where we left off in Babylon’s Ashes. We are definitely moving toward the end of the long story arc with this one.

    As far as the story goes: The only constant is change, and empires aren’t built overnight. That rise to power is fraught full of great and terrible things. There are good and bad people on all sides of every argument. History is full of grey, contradictions, and passionate people with good intentions committing atrocities for their causes. Persepolis Rising feels like the story of the necessarily messy history between A and B. The history that usually gets rewritten by the victors. I can’t wait for book 8.

  • Mogsy (MMOGC)

    5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

    What do you do when your epic space opera series is seven books in, you’ve already put your readers through some of the most intense storylines they can imagine, and now you need to do something even bigger and better to usher it into the next phase with style? Well, you hit the “soft reset” button, so to speak. Not exactly starting things over, but there is certainly a sense we’re getting a new beginning of sorts in Perse

    5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

    What do you do when your epic space opera series is seven books in, you’ve already put your readers through some of the most intense storylines they can imagine, and now you need to do something even bigger and better to usher it into the next phase with style? Well, you hit the “soft reset” button, so to speak. Not exactly starting things over, but there is certainly a sense we’re getting a new beginning of sorts in Persepolis Rising. That’s the impression I got anyway, when I opened the book, and the first line literally started with “Almost three decades had passed…”

    I confess, at first there was a momentary feeling of panic. Were we really skipping ahead thirty years? That’s one heck of a time gap between this book and the last, and never has this series seen such a huge jump forward. But it’s true; Persepolis Rising returns to our heroes who are now quite a bit older, maybe a little wiser, and the solar system and the new colony planets beyond the ring gates are enjoying a protracted period of peace not seen since before the arrival of the protomolecule. That being said, life has not been easy for the fledgling colonies. Survival depends on the flow of supplies through the gates, and some planets have attempted to gain an advantage by cheating the Transport Union systems. Minor as they are, these transgressions cannot be tolerated, lest things descend into chaos, so Transport Union President Drummer hires teams like Holden and the crew of the Rocinante to lay down the law.

    Decades of doing such odd jobs can take their toll though, and now that Holden and Naomi are getting on in years, they’re thinking it’s time to call it quits. But of course, it’s inevitable that a momentous decision like that will precipitate something big, and indeed, Holden’s retirement has barely begun when an old foe makes his return. For close to thirty years, this enemy has been hidden away on the lost colony world of Laconia, developing new technologies and amassing the strength required to invade the solar system and make all of its Union worlds a part of their new empire.

    The Expanse series definitely has a special place in my heart. For years I have followed these characters, come to know them and love them. It would be impossible overstate my relief at finding them all here in Persepolis Rising, even after the passage of almost three decades in the timeline. We’re talking the entire crew of the Roxi—Holden, Naomi, Alex, Amos, Bobbie, Clarissa—and even my favorite foul-mouthed UN politician Chrisjen Avasarala. Older they may be, but in all the ways that matter, they are still the same. It felt very much like returning home to good friends.

    It was while reading this book, however, that it really hit me just how far we’ve come since Leviathan Wakes. As much as I’ve enjoyed the earlier installments, they feel almost simplistic and jejune now compared to some of the more intricate plot lines since Cibola Burn. Clearly, we’re well beyond the days of vomit zombies, though I was also happy to see that the protomolecule still had a role to play in Persepolis Rising. The difference is, the concept has now been adapted and expanded on a scale that affects thousands of worlds and a countless number of people, and if you thought things couldn’t get any bigger and badder than what we’d already seen in the last couple books, think again.

    But as I’ve stated before in my reviews of the previous novels, the reason why I keep coming back to this series is because of the characters and their relationships. If the crew of the Rocinante felt like they were a family before, they’ve only gotten even closer since the last time we saw them together, and if I have one regret about the thirty-year time skip, it’s that we’ve missed all those interactions between them in the intervening period. Still, some things haven’t changed, thankfully. Holden is still a hopeless do-gooder. Bobbie is still a total badass. Avasarala is still a master maneuverer. I loved how we got to fall back into the old conversations and routines like no time has passed at all.

    Plus, let’s not forget the other side of the story. To me, the fact that the focus is not solely limited to the “good guys” is what makes The Expanse a special series. This time, Persepolis Rising includes the perspective of Governor Singh, a young and inexperienced officer tasked to bring the rebellious inhabitants of Medina Station into the fold of the Laconian Empire. Grossly underqualified for the job he must do, Singh is a tragic figure who engenders feelings of both dislike and sympathy due to his duo roles as severe authoritarian in public versus the loving family man he is in private. Believing wholeheartedly in the Laconian cause, he will become the ruthless soldier he needs to be if it means securing a better future for his young daughter.

    Before this, I wouldn’t have thought it possible to be more excited about The Expanse, but authors Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck AKA James S.A. Corey have managed to fire me up once again. Their decision to jump ahead so many years after the previous novel may have been a bold move, but it’s one that ended up paying off, giving the series the shakeup it required. More than just a brilliant sequel, Persepolis Rising is also a beginning, and indeed, in a series that is supposed to include nine novels, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to assume this is the first book of a concluding arc. Regardless, whatever happens next is bound to be exciting, and I wouldn’t miss it for the world.

  • Bradley

    I think I like this more than most of the other Expanse books, and that's saying a lot. I actually loved them all.

    That being said, OMG I can't believe all the changes we get thrown into! The whole team is together, all my favorite (living) characters from the other books together on the Rosie, but it's simply wild to see how much time has passed. Jim and Naomi are talking retirement for void's-sake.

    Let me be very clear, though, when I started reading this I thought to myself, "Is this the final

    I think I like this more than most of the other Expanse books, and that's saying a lot. I actually loved them all.

    That being said, OMG I can't believe all the changes we get thrown into! The whole team is together, all my favorite (living) characters from the other books together on the Rosie, but it's simply wild to see how much time has passed. Jim and Naomi are talking retirement for void's-sake.

    Let me be very clear, though, when I started reading this I thought to myself, "Is this the final wrap up? A last adventure?" To be honest, I was fairly okay with that, but then the authors threw me for a loop. So much big action happens and it affects almost 2000 established star systems. This is not just a wrap up of old threads. This is a setup for something even bigger and badder. Remember the whole question about what killed off the alien civ? But first, we've got some of the best grey baddies building EMPIRE out on the fringes. :)

    This is the best part of having a tale pass a lot of time. So much has changed. I love it. It's fresh. And of course it's a blast to see random people say, "James f***ing Holden". :)

    But beyond all the great big stuff going on, the novel is full of fantastic little moments that are so hard to get through without laughter and a bit of tears. I think of the scene between Bobby and Amos the most. :)

    So damn fun! This is the gold standard for Space-Opera for me. :)

  • Margret

    Holy shite that was good. SO GOOD

  • Jack +The Page Runner+

    I admit that I went into

    thinking that this was the last book in The Expanse series. I continued to think that way until about 2/3’s of the way through, when I realized that there was still too much plot to effectively be resolved in the remaining pages. Ultimately it made the majority of the book bittersweet for me, as I truly thought this was the last adventure I’d have with the Rocinante and her crew. Thankfully we have two more books to go…though that just means I have more

    I admit that I went into

    thinking that this was the last book in The Expanse series. I continued to think that way until about 2/3’s of the way through, when I realized that there was still too much plot to effectively be resolved in the remaining pages. Ultimately it made the majority of the book bittersweet for me, as I truly thought this was the last adventure I’d have with the Rocinante and her crew. Thankfully we have two more books to go…though that just means I have more bittersweet moments to look forward to. Alas.

    But though this is by far my favorite space opera series that I’ve yet read, I do feel that the right thing to do would be to end it sooner rather than later. Too many authors have a tendency of dragging out their tales, to the point where there’s just too many contrivances to keep the plot going. Take the Honor Harrington series by David Weber. I really really loved those books, and the first 8 or 9 or so were fantastic. But then it sort of wore out its welcome, and it was harder and harder to stay invested. I really don’t think that Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck will let that be a problem, as it seems very clear that there’s a definite end game in mind with The Expanse. I’d much rather see this series end strongly than peter out over more novels than would make sense to work through.

    So I always do my best to keep my reviews spoiler free, but I admit that this one will be especially difficult without divulging at least a couple of minor plot points. There may be other reviews on Goodreads that have already spilled the beans on major happenings, but I’ll just assume that there aren’t.

    So the first thing to understand is that

    has a bit of a time-jump to it. The book never really specifies how much, and the synopsis doesn’t make mention of it. But it’s a bit of a time gap between the last book,

    , which is new to the series. The other books followed one after the other pretty closely. So with that time jump, we are facing the crew of the Rocinante as they are older, wiser, and more than a little tired of the interstellar hijinks that have basically defined their time together. But I think that the time jump works in this novel's favor. It would be easy for these guys to keep pumping out "danger of the year" books, slightly procedural in execution, though keeping with an overarching plot. But here, they take away the familiarity and give us something completely new; new ways to look at our heroes, new ways in which the dynamics of the various superpowers are handled, and new dangers to threaten the things our characters have been fighting for.

    So, much has changed, yes? Yes indeed. But do you want to know the good news? These are still the same deep and multifaceted characters that we’ve grown attached to over the years. Yes, they are older, and the book does well in showing the different ways that age is catching up with our intrepid heroes. But regardless of being older, they are still comfortable to return to as only old friends can be. The gang is all here from

    , and I'm so glad that our initial crew of 4 on the Roci has grown to include Bobbie and Clarissa.

    As always with The Expanse,

    is a multi-character affair. Yes, Holden still has a lot of chapters, but not the most. Instead, my favorite Expanse character Bobbie Draper has the majority of the chapters in

    , followed closely by antagonist Santiago Singh and President of the Transport Union Drummer. We do get a few chapters from the rest of the Rocinante’s crew, but they are few and far between. And that’s really ok.

    As a main character, Holden has always been a good one to follow. Loyal, dedicated, and with a strong moral compass, Holden is always in the right place at the right time. And that luck has translated into a strange superstardom for him that he is only peripherally aware of. It makes for an interesting dynamic, since we as readers know all the things that he has done, and all the things he’s survived, so to us he is a hero. But he just isn’t aware of that side of himself. And I like what the years have done to Holden. He’s still a strong character with strong convictions, but he definitely has that “world weary” feel to him, much like Miller did in the early days. It’s interesting to see how Holden has started to become a little like Miller, though they were polar opposites all those years ago.

    Drummer is a good choice as a protagonist with a large number of chapters, as she has a very personal investment in the events that take place in this book, and is in a position where we get to see a lot of decisions being made, and the far-reaching impact of those decisions. She starts out somewhat cold, but the layers get peeled back the further into the story we get.

    Singh is the perfect choice for an antagonist. A die-hard believer in the system he supports, he is two men at once. On one side of the coin, he is a man of great feeling and passion, who believes very strongly in the things he is trying to accomplish. On the other, he is a dangerous and callous man who isn’t afraid of making the tough decisions that end lives. I truly despised him, even as I could understand some of the motivations for what he was doing.

    And Bobbie…oh how she finally gets to be the character I’ve wanted her to be. I really really really want to talk about the reasons she gets to grow and broaden as a character, but that’s a surprise best left to the reader. Needless to say she may be older, but she’s still badass former Marine with a surprising amount of insight and natural resourcefulness. She takes no shit, and it’s always fun to read her chapters as you never know which way she’s going to go.

    As for the remaining characters, we only get a few chapters from them. They all behave like they should; Naomi is still the smartest person in the group, and loves Holden fiercely, even while being exasperated with him; Alex is still the mediator of the group, taking care of the crew and the Roci; Amos is still the dangerous but loveable sociopath that we know so well, but he is allowed a bit more depth this time around; Clarissa is still the damaged and quiet cypher, shadowing Amos and dropping hints of wisdom and insight from time to time. If you loved these characters before, you’ll love them here. If not…nothing is going to change your mind at this point.

    So enough about the characters…what about the story? Well, again, I have to be careful of spoilers. Let’s just say that the events with the Free Navy and the drama with Earth has allowed some folks to slip out of the limelight, where they have been plotting some major changes for Mars, Earth, and the Belt. It’s bold, it’s big, and it’s definitely not what anyone is expecting. The good news is that our heroes are back together again, so we don’t have to experience the story separately. While that approach worked well enough in

    , the story of The Expanse works best when our heroes are in the mix together, working through problems as a team. Sadly, very little time is spent on the Rocinante, which always makes me a little sad (that ship is almost a character in her own right).

    Without talking about plot points, what else is there to mention? Well, the writing and editing is top-notch, as usual. These guys know how to construct a story, and they know where they are taking this tale. As a result, the plot is tight and perfectly paced. The action is superb as always, and the ideas are grand yet grounded, but no matter how big in scope the story may become, there’s still such a huge focus on heart and humanity. Each character feels unique and distinct, and when they feel, we feel with them. These have been, and still are, some of the most realistic characters I’ve ever read in a science-fiction setting. Deep thoughts, character growth, and lessons learned are expertly handled. But it’s not all deep and heavy...the humor is also on point, as always. Sarcasm, one-liners, and funny personal observations pop up off and on, always right where they are needed. I’ve said it before that I don’t always get hit with the feels when reading books, but for some reason The Expanse novels always manage to get through my armor and profoundly affect me. That, more than anything else, explains why I love this series as much as I do.

    Honestly, I think the only people reading this review are fans of The Expanse who are in it for the long haul. If that’s the case, then I’m glad to be on this journey with you! Two more books to go, and I’m already anxiously awaiting the next one!

  • Mike

    Full review to come. Another excellent installment in this infinitely enjoyable space opera. Action, adventure, subterfuge, time jumps, and new players abound in this intense romp. The next book can't get here fast enough.

  • Niki Hawkes - The Obsessive Bookseller

    The only thing I hated about Persepolis Rising is how long it’s going to make me wait for the next book.

    I always come away from an Expanse novel reeling. Sometimes from massive events, but often just from the profound depth of character. This series continues to illustrate what it is to be human and I can’t help feeling deeply affected by the sentiment within each novel. A short interaction between two characters in this book (maybe 3 pages worth?) had the power to become one of the most memorab

    The only thing I hated about Persepolis Rising is how long it’s going to make me wait for the next book.

    I always come away from an Expanse novel reeling. Sometimes from massive events, but often just from the profound depth of character. This series continues to illustrate what it is to be human and I can’t help feeling deeply affected by the sentiment within each novel. A short interaction between two characters in this book (maybe 3 pages worth?) had the power to become one of the most memorable moments of the series for me. It’s those little moments made bigger by the depth of their history and meaningfulness of the nuances that makes this series so stellar. Needless to say, I’m a fan.

    As far as “stuff happening,” the lack of which was my only issue with Babylon’s Ashes, Persepolis Rising delivered on plot advancement and regained much-needed momentum for the series. I’ve been trusting the authors to evolve it into something, well, expansive at some point, and they’re delivering with flair. Other than a segment in the middle (where I had an oddly difficult time concentrating), Persepolis Rising offered a snowball ride to a great story climax that has me almost angry that I can’t pick up the next book immediately.

    Recommendations: The Expanse is easily my favorite space opera/science fiction series on the market. The series has a lot of action, great characters (like, really great), and tons of memorable moments. I’d hand it to people looking to get into the genre. But at this point I would beat longtime scifi fans over the head with the first tome if they haven’t given it a try yet.

    Via The Obsessive Bookseller at

    Other books you might like:

  • Kemper

    Once you get seven books deep into a series it gets really tricky to review because you can’t talk about even the basic story set-up without spoiling stuff for anyone who hasn’t read the previous books. Since I’m really trying to encourage any sci-fi fan to check out

    I don’t want to just spoiler tag the whole thing either. So how to discuss in a way that won’t ruin it for the newbs yet still be an informative review?

    Weep for me, people of Goodreads!

    Here’s what I can safely say to eve

    Once you get seven books deep into a series it gets really tricky to review because you can’t talk about even the basic story set-up without spoiling stuff for anyone who hasn’t read the previous books. Since I’m really trying to encourage any sci-fi fan to check out

    I don’t want to just spoiler tag the whole thing either. So how to discuss in a way that won’t ruin it for the newbs yet still be an informative review?

    Weep for me, people of Goodreads!

    Here’s what I can safely say to everyone: The plan is for this to be a nine book series, and it’s essentially a three act structure with three books per act. So we’re starting the end run with this one, and that’s clear from the jump. A lot of time has passed since the last book, and our main characters can now claim senior discounts. In fact, some of them are even thinking about retirement. However, one of the lingering plots from an earlier book comes back in a big way and all of humanity might find itself under the boot of a dictator if something isn’t done. And all of this struggling among people scattered among the stars continue to take place as a potential alien threat simmers in the background.

    Since this is essentially set-up for the final phase of the overall story there’s a lot left up in the air, but like the previous books it’s also an entertaining self-contained sci-fi tale by itself. At this point we’ve been living in this universe for a good long while so that we know all the ins-and-outs of it as well as what to expect from the story. What continues to be fresh and engaging is that the co-authors who make up the James SA Corey name come up with new spins on moving forward so that it hasn’t become stale and formulaic.

    For example, this is a book in which a whole lot of people find themselves under the authority of an autocratic ruler with an army of true believers who believe anything he says. (Sounds familiar.) As you’d expect the story becomes about a resistance rising up among the conquered people, but what’s interesting is that there’s no immediate way to win. No Death Star to blow up, no magic computer virus, no chosen one to lead them to victory. Beating these guys will mean a long term strategy of resistance and a whole lot of blood will be shed in the process.

    On the heels of that is that these bad guys don’t exactly act like villains. Yes, they’re smug jerkfaces whose utter self-confidence make them insufferable, but they’re also pretty sincere about going about it a way that isn’t a brutal occupation. These are smart folks who have studied history and know that the best way to stop an insurgency is to keep it from starting by keeping people from being disgruntled in the first place. Plus, their stated goal is to unite the squabbling factions of humanity into a single force so they hope to get everyone on their side through the politics of persuasion.

    That’s the really insidious thing about this one. A big theme in

    as stated by one character in an earlier book is that a fair percentage of humans are always going to be assholes. What’s been shown over and over again is that people are always willing to fight among themselves about the old grudges rather than put them aside to band together even when it would be in their own best long-term interest. It’s been the biggest stumbling block that the heroes have struggled against over the course of the series. And here’s finally someone who has the power to actually make that happen, and he isn’t acting like an insane dictator. Hmmmm…maybe he isn’t

    bad....

    Another new aspect in this is that since we know the end is coming that no one is safe. It adds some tension and drama to the action because it really does seem like all our favorites aren't going to make it this time.

    It’s another great entry in the series, and my only real complaint is that I kind of got bummed while reading because I know how few there are left. I’ll also plug the excellent TV series based on the books that the SyFy Channel airs and is getting ready to start its third season which is well worth checking out.

  • Gary

    Thirty years after defeating the Free Navy and negotiating and end to the various conflicts between the belters and the inner planets, the crew of the Roci is still doing work for hire for the organization that spawned from the ashes of the OPA. Hovering at retirement age, Jim and Naomi agree to sell the ship to Bobby so they can enjoy their golden years together, just in time for the known universe to go sideways and shit all over their plans. Yes, the one loose end from Babylon’s Ashes comes b

    Thirty years after defeating the Free Navy and negotiating and end to the various conflicts between the belters and the inner planets, the crew of the Roci is still doing work for hire for the organization that spawned from the ashes of the OPA. Hovering at retirement age, Jim and Naomi agree to sell the ship to Bobby so they can enjoy their golden years together, just in time for the known universe to go sideways and shit all over their plans. Yes, the one loose end from Babylon’s Ashes comes back through the gate, with thirty years of weaponized protomolecule technology in tow. This is the lead-in novel to what purports to be the final act of the series, which is set to conclude at nine books. If we think of The Expanse as a “trilogy of trilogies”, then Persepolis Rising may be the most finely tuned “first book” in the series, with its balance of tight, focused plotting and illuminating character detail as sharp as the authors Corey have yet mustered. Its depiction of the psychology of fascism stands in interesting correlation to Yoon Ha Lee’s Machineries of Empire series, covering similar ground but with a more traditional literary realist approach.

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