Abaddon's Gate

Abaddon's Gate

Book - 2013
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For generations, the solar system Mars, the Moon, the Asteroid Belt was humanity's great frontier. Until now. The alien artefact working through its program under the clouds of Venus has emerged to build a massive structure outside the orbit of Uranus: a gate that leads into a starless dark. Jim Holden and the crew of the Rocinante are part of a vast flotilla of scientific and military ships going out to examine the artefact. But behind the scenes, a complex plot is unfolding, with the destruction of Holden at its core. As the emissaries of the human race try to find whether the gate is an opportunity or a threat, the greatest danger is the one they brought with them.
Publisher: London :, Orbit,, 2013.
Branch Call Number: SCIENCE FICTION
Characteristics: 539 pages ;,24 cm.
Series Volume: 3.


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Jun 01, 2021

Third installment in the series. Like the previous two books, there is an epic feel to it. Set in the semi-near future, humanity has grown too populous for Earth and has expanded out into the rest of the solar system. In the last book, some sort of alien virus/nanotechnology constructed a massive ring on Venus then sent it to the outer parts of our solar system. In this book, humanity investigates it.

Once again, politics play a key role. This book's new important character is Anna, a minister for the United Methodist church initially stationed on Europa whose wife and daughter return to Earth when it becomes clear that Anna will join one of the ships heading out to The Ring. I liked Anna a lot. She's smart, extremely well-spoken an dclearly very charismatic given the opportunities she's given and the way that people respond to her. But she's certainly not perfect. She has a tendency to act impulsively, doing what she feels is important now and worrying about the consequences later. Refreshingly, she is self-aware enough to realize this.

Familiar characters return - Holden, Naomi and their crew - as well as whatever spirit of Miller it is that "visits" Holden from time to time. As do familiar spacecraft - the Nauvoo has been repurposed as the Behemoth, and its history as the Nauvoo is actually essential to the story.

I don't want to say too much about the plot. But it makes sense. Physics is used in an intelligent way - which makes me happy. The science part of the science fiction isn't overexplained, but frankly I'd rather have "alien technology" be left somewhat mysterious than explained badly. There are action scenes/fight scenes for those who enjoy such things. Important people die. Important people live. By the end of the book, we get some understanding of why the events of the previous two books occurred (on a grander scale; we already knew the human parts). And the stage is clearly set for the next few books in the series.

Mar 23, 2021

Another hit from SA Corey! The third installment of The Expanse was much better than the second, and filled with new characters and near-constant action. I truly enjoyed Clarissa/Melba's point of view- she was my new favorite. Bull's seemed pretty standard for a man in charge of security. Anna's perspective was more wholesome, and slightly preachy at times, but nothing so over-the-top religious that I wasn't interested. Holden's his same old optimistic, friendly, honest self, except this time he's got pseudo-Miller in tow, which definitely added a little intrigue to his chapters.
I love the set up here; the proto-molecule ascends from Venus and creates a gate a the edge of our galaxy to who-knows-where, and everyone goes to it to check it out, not having a clue what it is or what it means for the human race. While these novels tend to give us some information, there is still so much that is shrouded in mystery, and I hope that as the novels go on we learn more about the creators and how and why they ceased to be.
The only gripes I have about this novel (which obviously I don't hold against it) is entirely due to the fact that I watched the TV show first. I really prefer Drummer to Bull, for instance, and she doesn't appear in this novel at all (it seems the authors swapped Drummer's character for Bull's in the series). Ashford is far more likeable and stable in the show, whereas in the book he comes off like a power-hungry, unhinged lunatic. The way in which Anna discovers Clarissa's identity is different. The power-struggle at the end is more drawn out in the book. These are little, noticeable things that honestly make me like the show more- but I still really enjoyed the book. I finished it quickly and really enjoyed every chapter. I'd highly recommend this series to anyone who likes Star Trek or Stargate, or who wants to dabble in sci-fi.

Feb 15, 2021

It would be very difficult to describe all the ins and outs of the plot in a review such as this, because it is so detailed, and I would be afraid of missing something.

This book takes place a few years after Caliban's War, and the entity that crashed into Venus, has since launched itself outward into the solar system, and constructed a huge torus shaped object known as "The Ring". The crew of the Rocinante along with ships from the Belt, Mars and Earth are on their way to investigate the phenomenon but other people have plans that don't exactly mesh with those of James Holden or most others for that matter. For example the Martain Navy would really like to get their ship back, which all happens to by the Rocinante. Julie Mao's sister is out to get Holden, and doesn't really care who gets in the way. The Belters aren't to crazy about him either, so he has a rather full plate to deal with.

A very good read, but definitely read this series in order or you will miss something.

Jan 24, 2021

I appreciate the way this series gradually unfolds. Each book is a fast paced adventure, but the world move slowly from our solar system and towards the stars. We learn just a little more about the aliens and their motivations, too.

I'm getting a little tired of Holden and his crew (not without some more character development) and would have liked a focus on some of the characters introduced in the last book, but Bull and Melba/Clarissa have some depth and Anna offers the real reprieve from the masculinist approach of everyone else (rooted in stereotypically masculine ideas of strength and problem-solving with force). A person of real spiritual depth, Anna was my favorite character, but the authors miss a chance to explore how religion (specifically Christianity) would change and evolve new theologies for new needs.

By the third book I see perhaps the biggest overarching theme of the series: in the face of an encounter with advanced alien life, the biggest challenge is always humanity itself.

Dec 11, 2020

A little slow to start - a lot of Holden and crew waiting around to do their thing when they get hired to sail out to the Ring. Even when three fleets arrive it took awhile to see how this was important. Once Holden entered the station and Miller's essence was explained better things started falling in place for me. I liked new characters Anna and Bull and the values they represent. This one may get me back into the Expanse series; plus with all this pandemic time to read I will check out part 4.

VaughanPLDavidB Jan 12, 2020

This was an effective story that drove the narrative of this saga nicely forward. There was a personal vendetta and a blundering attempt to explore a strange new phenomenon, both of which got a lot of people killed. The only reason I don't give it five stars is that, in an effort to show deep emotional connections between characters, it strayed into the maudlin. That, and the fact that it was heavily laden with religious baggage, which I believe it could have done entirely without, particularly the annoying Pastor Anna, who was, if it's possible, even more self-righteous than James Holden. Nevertheless, looking forward to book 4 in the series.

Jan 18, 2019

So far, this is one of my favorite book series of all time. Like books 1 and 2 before it, Abaddon's Gate kept me up late and fully immersed in the story. The intrigue of the protomolecule mystery continues to grow, and we do get some answers (which was satisfying, because book 2 seemed to just give us more mystery). The threat remains, however, it's clear from this installment of the series that humanity's biggest threat remains humanity itself. Full disclosure: there were parts of this story that were difficulty to read.

Melba, for instance. She's not supposed to be likeable, and she has a redemption story arc that I found believable, but she's straight-up my definition of a monster. And pretty much ever scene with Ashford. The throw-down big battle toward the end does what you'd expect- shocking deaths and mega-heroics and nail-biting tension. The co-authors excel at narrative tension and pace.

My only (small) frustration was that I wanted more with the crew of the Rocinante. In book 2, we veered a bit away from them- but I adore Avasarala, and Bobbie was a fun counterpoint, so I was fine with it. The veer continues, where the Roci crew scenes mainly serve the backstory plot, and once again we're along for the ride with new characters Bull, Anna, and Melba. That's fine- Bull is heroic and Anna presented a fantastic new perspective (she's a Methodist preacher- not many scifi stories explore the role of religion and faith in the exploration of the stars). I'm just selfish and always want to know more, especially about Amos (my psychotic, hilarious book boyfriend), Alex, and Naomi. I'm gonna need more than just teasers of their backstories, eventually.

It was nice to have more continued hat tips to Miller, Avasarala, and Bobbie (even though our adventures with them are apparently on pause for the time being). I assume the same will happen with Anna (maybe? She's not a major player, but she was a great perspective and pretty much the only beacon of hope). Given the pace at which I devour these, despite their length, I can't wait to pick up book 4 (and the rest).

Oct 17, 2018

Fantastic addition to the series, I look forward to seeing where it goes from here!

Feb 16, 2018

This one got some so-so reviews. It did dragged a bit but overall still a great book and fun action.

May 17, 2017

Books one and two were entertaining, if flawed, but the third is a complete let down. Weak characters coupled with a slow pace and thin plot tied together by a string of unlikely contrivances. The authors failed keep a rather basic story entertaining and plausible for the first three books which leads me to doubt the story will be coherent or fresh later.

Once again the solar system's luckiest crew of likable, scrappy, cliches find themselves in the thick of the plot and the only ones managing to interact with the protomolocule on any meaningful level. The continued connection between the crew and the protomolocule is fairly obvious and explained to a certain extent, but how the crew physically find themselves at the crux of things this time around is both contrived and transparent... and this is just the first few chapters. A few hundred pages of exposition later and one is left wondering why most of the characters made the decisions they did - when they were clearly in contravention of EVERYTHING the stood for or did previously. The two biggest let downs the preacher's absolutely improbable EVA suit escapade and Ashford's decision to let a prisoner out of jail. Absolutely ridiculous and their respective outcomes completely transparent.

The story plods along throughout and is strung together by a series of events that just would not happen given the way the characters have been established and the demands of the situation.

The overall setup for sending the solar system's luckiest crew (in terms of survivability) into the fray yet again and how the machination of the primary antagonist play out is implausible - even for those that accept the basic premise of the story, the boundaries established thus far, etc.

The characters have always been cliched, but likable enough to be ignored. However by book three that is stretching very thin. How many times can the crew forgive and forget, go all in and have it still remain believable. At this point I will even settle for entertaining...

Will reserve final judgement for book four.

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mvkramer Apr 05, 2016

Violence: Clarissa kills a few people with her bare hands, and at the end of the book, there's a shooting war inside a space ship.

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