Welcome to the final post in the read-along of James S.A. Corey’s Babylon’s Ashes, book six of The Expanse! We’re planning to tackle the new book, Persepolis Rising, in January. If you’d like to join, speak up at our Goodreads group page! This week’s questions were provided by There’s Always Room for One More, and they cover through the end of the book. Please beware of spoilers from here on out!
1. So - we get up close and personal with Marco Inaros. Reactions?
He is just as awful of a person as I had surmised by seeing him from the perspective of others? I didn’t really enjoy seeing his thoughts about characters I liked, and it seems he’s one of those gross (and dangerous) people who refuse to let exes go. Further, his sections thoroughly convinced me that he did not have the strategy or vision to really lead the Belt into a stable future. It was pretty satisfying when his section ended with him and all his followers getting vaporized!
2. Filip completes his arc - were you surprised? How do you feel about him as a character now? Would you be happy to see his POV in the future?
I was surprised that his character arc didn’t have anything to do with killing all those people or his feelings about it. I feel like him being a mass murderer was really just kind of side-stepped, and he hasn’t even seemed particularly concerned about it (he’s still proud, I guess). Instead, his arc was about him moving from hero-worshipping his dad to realizing that he’s an abusive manipulator. I guess the more that see that side of Marco the merrier, but I don’t see any reason to modify my previous opinion of Filip. I don’t really feel any desire to see more of his perspective, but I hope Naomi finds out he’s not dead. That will help a bit with her grief and guilt.
3. What do you make of Holden’s choice at the end?
I think it made a lot of sense. I was facepalming as well, when I heard Avasarala wanted Holden to be the head of the new Belter union. They’ve tried that. Fred’s OPA was not exactly a resounding success, though he did his best. The OPA needs a leader that is a Belter, not an Inner who really wants to help them.
As for which Belter, as much as I have criticized her, I think Michio will do well. She’ll deal fairly with Belters, and she has already been organizing distribution of goods throughout the Belt. I got the impression she’s highly visible in Belter society, and people will likely respect that she cared so much about the people of the Belt that she turned against the Free Navy to help them. I might have chosen Anderson Dawes, just because he’s used to complicated administration work, but I think Michio will be a good choice.
I’ll just say, though, Naomi would have been an awful choice. Not because I think she couldn’t do it, but because I think she’d be miserable in the job. She does not strike me as someone who would be happy spending her days administering a complicated trade union.
4. Can Holden's vision succeed? Is it going to be happily ever after?
I think so. Weirdly enough, this is one of the ideas I was thinking of when Belters started talking about their vanishing niche. It makes a lot of sense for them to be in charge of trade. I can see a few potential pitfalls, though. The Belters have never done anything this large and organized, so there’s bound to be mistakes and growing pains. Second, a good number of them hate people who live on planets. Ships with these kinds of folks are likely to price gouge or otherwise abuse colonists. This could be managed by ensuring frequent trade stops per planet and a rotation of different ships, I think, so that no community is dependent upon any one shipment. So not exactly happily ever after--they’ve got a lot of work ahead of them. I think the future is brighter for them than it’s looked for a while though!
For a final thought, I loved that Naomi was the one who saved the day, and that she did it through data analysis! I'm looking forward to seeing what's in store in Persepolis Rising!