This review is about the fourth book in The Expanse series, called Cibola Burn. If you haven’t read my reviews on books 1, 2, and 3, you should read them first. I chose to review this book because I absolutely love this series and want to review every single book.
Cibola Burns continues the story of the gates to other solar systems, with a new focus on a conflict between illegal settlers and an Earth-based science corporation called Royal Charter Energy. The settlers race through the gates as soon as they hear there is a life-sustaining planet on the other side. RCE has the “rights” to the planet and feels that the settlers need to leave. When the RCE ship arrives the settlers blow up its transport shuttle. The RCE security chief gets mad and declares martial law and shoots a few colonists he thinks had blown up the shuttle. The violence keeps escalating to the point where James Holden and the crew of the Rocinante are sent to make peace. Things go horribly wrong, an alien power plant on the other side of the planet blows up, and the excrement impacts the ceiling-mounted air circulation device.
One of the characters in the book is a man called Adolphus Murtry, the RCE security chief. I wouldn’t like to meet him because he is ruthless and a little bit psychopathic, and demonstrates this by shooting someone–who he suspects of blowing the shuttle up–in the head. He is a horrible man and doesn’t hesitate to kill anyone whom he dislikes.
Cibola Burns reminds me a bit of The Martian, in the sense that people are stranded on a planet with no way to get home. However, in The Martian, it is one man stranded on Mars. In Cibola Burn, it is the population of a colony, some scientists, a sadistic security chief, and the crew of the Rocinante stranded on an alien planet that is doing it’s best to kill them. There are death-slugs, moons that are actually defense turrets, and a bacterial infection that loves salty water so much that it takes up residence in people’s eyes, blinding them.
I think the overarching theme of the series, and this book, in particular, is that humans might fight viciously with each other, but in times of extreme need, they band together, no matter their differences.
This is an amazing book. I love the characters and the plot, it is written very well, the language is easy to understand, but it has fewer space battles and epic explosions than I would like, so I will only give it 4.9/5 stars.