This review was originally written in February of 2017.
Nemesis Games, more than the other books of The Expanse series, is a novel about isolation.
Each of our protagonists from the crew of the Rocinante are separated from one another throughout the bulk of the story, all of them longing to return to the family they realize themselves to be for each other.
In the midst of an insurgency from a radical wing within the OPA (supplied by a treasonous, escapist faction of the Mars Navy), we witness periods of combat and senseless devastation from multiple angles that weren’t present in the previous novels with nearly this sort of depth and insight. As an added bonus the reader even gets to witness the grand acts of terrorism from within and without, while not providing anything particularly sympathetic where the terrorists are concerned. It was a bold, and well-executed move by the authors…to humanize the perpetrators of unparalleled acts of aggression without making the reader feel like they might have a valid reason to do the horrible things they are doing.
This was a smaller scale piece of storytelling than the galaxy-spanning, alien technology oriented action of the previous novels, but it was a very satisfying exploration of the inner worlds of the characters we’ve become so close to over the course of the previous four books.
The end does set the stage for something potentially horrifying coming up though, and it certainly kept me invested enough that I want to read the sixth installment.