In Brief: Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey is good science fiction/space opera set in our solar system. The first in a trilogy (naturally), this book provides strong characterization and a mix of detective fiction and military sci-fi.
Pros: Corey’s two main characters are interesting dudes with problems who also give us a solid foundation of the book’s universe. The belters vs. inner planet politics and conflict is very well done, and the pacing and basic writing are effective. We also dig the old-school cover art.
Cons: A couple of overly familiar themes lie at the heart of this book: a first contact scenario (albeit a different take on it) and the evil and greedy military-industrial corporate antagonist. However, these are relatively minor issues.
Review: A reasonably plausible future setting with space travel, inter-planetary politics, ship-to-ship battles… Add elements of mystery and possible extra-terrestrial contact. Sounds like space opera, which is where Leviathan Wakes firmly plants it flag. Along with time travel stuff, space opera is the subset of science fiction I enjoy most, but man, oh, man is this a subset that can be (and often is) done poorly. Fortunately that doesn’t happen with this book. James S.A. Corey (pen-name for the collaborative duo of Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck) knows the pitfalls of the genre better than most.