[This review never got posted back when I read the book, and has been waiting in buffer since then! Don’t worry, I didn’t read the later books before this one…]
This one’s complicated. I read this enormously fast, and only once bogged down and got stuck on not quite wanting to pick it up again. Getting bogged down and getting stuck might sound bad, but it mostly happens when I get anxious for the characters, which was happening in spades, and getting unstuck depends on the pace — if it lingers too long, I might never get through it.
But… I found aspects of the ending very similar to the first book (with elements of the third), and it felt like for all the high drama and death and flashing lights, it didn’t get us anywhere. Other people have mentioned that it is important later, but it doesn’t feel like it at the end of the book: it feels like we get right back to the status quo in many ways, especially for the crew of the Rocinante.
A lot of the characters are sucky people, as well. Murtry, for instance, just doesn’t feel real because he is a complete cartoon corporate villain, and I wouldn’t have been terribly surprised for him to do some insane maniacal laughter. It makes no sense that nobody seemed to see him for what he was before Ilus.
Also, not enough of Naomi doing stuff. And Amos didn’t get to shoot enough people.
So yeah, a bit frustrating and not my favourite, despite being a very grippy read.