Persepolis Rising by James S. A. Corey

Persepolis Rising is Book 7 in The Expanse series. Considering  where Babylon’s Ashes left off, I was anticipating a story focusing on a civil war. I was wrong! We jump ahead 30 years, and what we actually get are the long term consequences and effects  of the events of Babylon’s Ashes, rather than the immediate aftermath . Its an interesting way to go, and I have to say I was skeptical at first, but I came to appreciate skipping over the details of rebuilding, and focusing on the results, which is much more interesting.

As always in this series, with each new book we are introduced to new characters and perspectives. There’s a new empire in town, and its more powerful than anything Earth, Mars and the Belt have ever seen. This empire has a cult of personality built up inside of it, and getting the perspective of someone who has fully bought into it let’s us see how the concept of a benevolent dictator can be so enticing. Humanity must be brought together under one strong rule, but at what cost? Of course, Holden, Naomi, Bobbie, Alex and Amos are right in the middle of the struggle.

With a 30 year gap, we see a Rocinante crew that is on the cusp of big changes. They’ve been through the war, its aftermath, and now they are just beginning to settle into new phases of their lives. But we can’t have that, now can we? Once again, they are caught in the center of intergalactic conflict. In many ways they approach their situation the same way they always have, but now they have different priorities, different roles, and different expectations. They have all grown, but at their core, its the same characters we’ve come to know.

There are two more books planned in the series. This is a good starting point for the last arc of the story. It has a great setup for all the players, without feeling like its a set up. By the end, I was definitely prepared for the final showdown of the series.

Lilypad Rating:LilyPadLilyPadLilyPadLilyPad

 

Advertisements

12 Monkeys, Season 3

Well, SyFy really wanted to mess with us didn’t they? The whole season in one weekend? I’m still not sure how I feel about that. It was nice to binge it, but I would rather binge in my own time and in my own way. So now the wait for season 4 (the final season) is going to feel twice as long. Anyway, these are my thoughts on season 3. This is a general overview, not an episode by episode recap. Therefore, spoilers for all of season 3 are ahead.I’m going to try to go in order here, but I may end up skipping around. So many thoughts!

Lets’ start with the first 4 episodes that aired Friday, May 19th. It was a nice arc, since it ended with Cole and Cassie reuniting and the death of Ramse. The introduction of the personal splinter machines really turned things on its head. Being able to splinter when you need to and reset the timeline when something goes wrong is a powerful tool. If the Witness is threatened, then you just splinter and reset the timeline. “Raise the Witness in the chaos of history” indeed. That has got to mess with a person, regardless of whether you are destined to destroy the world.

Cole meeting future Cole was a surprise. Future Cole was much lighter than Present Day Cole. Future Cole seemed to be at peace with what had happened. At least that was what he tried to convey to Present Day Cole. When Cassie stepped out (another surprise!), she said that Future Cole lied. What’s that about? Why did he lie? To protect the timeline? I thought it was a nice touch that this took place at the Emerson Hotel. Its there home base in every timeline. I also liked that Cole and Cassie were reunited by the end of episode 4.  It didn’t feel rushed, and it didn’t drag on too long.

Jennifer Goines is awesome. Her adventures in WWI and Paris were some of the best parts of season 3. If you hadn’t already, you really begin to feel sorry for her. She’s trapped in 1917, and has to make a way for herself for years until they find her. She tries so hard to leave clues with no results. Her one woman shows were brilliant! When Cole and Jones finally find her, they don’t even care about what she’s been through. She’s just another tool, not a real person who’s a member of the team. I was glad that when the timeline was reset, Cole treated her with the respect she deserved. Go Jennifer!

There were only 4 guardians assigned to protect the Witness. The 12 Monkeys didn’t seem to have a plan for how to replace a guardian who dies. Maybe they thought it wouldn’t matter because they could always reset the timeline? It would seem that you would do that sparingly, and only when it was absolutely necessary to save the Witness.

Ramse and Olivia, together again! You always know that Olivia is up to something. Why would you ever trust her? Jennifer was right- she is always exactly where she wants to be. 23 years she had Sam?! My first thought was that Sam himself was important, but it was really a way to get Ramse where he needed to be, which would in turn get Olivia where she needed to be- at the laboratory. Such an elaborate plan, but it worked. The key to getting Ramse to do what you want is through his son that he knew for like, 2 days. What was interesting about Olivia in this season was that she was much more animated, and less stoic. We see some emotion from her, which I’m sure was all calculated on her part. Her torture scene was a bit too much for me, but it shows how cold Jones and Olivia have become. Jones, even after getting Hannah back, still is completely single minded in destroying the witness, and so is Olivia. Both will do anything, suffer anything, and sacrifice anything to achieve that goal. Has all of this happened before? Olivia knew about Cole and Cassie’s child, and told Ramse, knowing that he would be willing to kill Cassie, so the witness will never be born.

Goodbye, Ramse. Now we don’t have to watch you make bad decision after bad decision, all for a son you barely know. But with all the time travel, will we see him again? Also, why did he never take his gloves off? Even when he was at the hotel with Cole in 2007, he was drinking and still had his gloves on. That annoyed me.

Night 2 was only three episodes. That was a good thing because there was way too much plot to process with 4 episodes. I know I am skipping over a lot of stuff, but these are things that stood out to me…some are important, others not so much. I wonder if it would have been better for Cassie and Cole to just tell everyone who the Witness was. Olivia was able to figure it out, according to her, and Deacon probably would’ve gotten there eventually. (Oh, and can I just say that I’m glad Deacon survived? Its like he’s the truth teller for the series. I  know he wants to have a purpose. So far its been to get Cassie out of Titan. Hopefully, he can play a bigger role next season.) Jones may have still wanted to kill the Witness, but she may have been more amenable to finding another way. I think Jones was hurt that they didn’t tell her. They didn’t trust her, so that made Cassie and Cole the enemy too.

The heist in 1989 was all kinds of wonderful. Little Jennifer is just as awesome as grown up Jennifer. Jennifer is officially a part of the team. About time! And I also love how Deacon is like the Jennifer Whisperer. He gets such a kick out of watching her go. I like how he tries to watch out for her. Glad to see Terry the Tortoise! And Gale! Nice to see him contribute more to the team. But telling him he will die in 1961, wow.  That was pretty brutal. He was already having a hard time, that just made things worse for him, I think. But as usual, he pulls through for them. Hope Valley, 1953. Whoa. That poor kid. He’s a primary, and he’s surrounded by crazy people. Was he born to be the Witness, or was he made to be the Witness? I also wonder if the lady the Witness drew was really Cassie, but the Witness intentionally pointed to the other woman instead. Had the Witness (lets call him Athan, the name Cassie gave him) had visions of his mother and father yet? I get the feeling that even at that age, he knew who they were. I do like how Athan has always been one of the voices in Jennifer’s head. He is primary after all. I believe in season 2 it was established that the primaries throughout time all can hear each other.  That is the source of the voices in their heads- the other primaries throughout time. Cool. Jones and the crew find out the identity of the Witness, and now the team have become enemies. Let time jumping games begin!

Night 3, is the final act. Cassie and Cole are splintering through time, looking for Athan, while Jones and drew chases them through time. Jones and crew is using Jennifer’s drawings to find Cassie and Cole, but of course Jennifer is also trying to protect them. Jennifer will always be Team Cole. So the last guardian encourages Athan to write the Word of the Witness, and then soon after Athan leaves to splinter himself through time. He says that this helped him to stay sane. Until of course, he falls in love and tries 607 times to save the woman he loves. Which, apparently, after failed attempt number 607, he decides that he is going to be the Evil Witness after all, and set about destroying time/the world. Because of course that’s what happens! Love makes you crazy. Or, at least the loss of it does. We get a masquerade ball, where Jones and crew catch up with Cassie and Cole. Of course, Jennifer saves the day! with fireworks!

The theme of this season seems to be of fate and destiny. Can you choose your fate? How powerful is destiny? Will time let you change your destiny? Interesting how the Witness thinks he is a primary “or some variation thereof”. What does that mean??

And Jennifer of course gets herself out of the cage so she can play her part in saving the “dying man” from her drawings. Who just happens to be the Witness. And of course, Olivia reaches the culmination of her plan, and is able to splinter to Titan, using the coordinates she received back when she took Ramse to see his grownup son. So many callbacks and pieces to the puzzle.

Cassie and Cole catchup with the witness and take him back to the house of cedar and pine. And of course, they tell him when they are, and he passes that information along to Olivia, who then uses it to help Jones and crew find them, and then everything goes haywire. Titan! Olivia! Cole and Cassie were too willing to give Athan the benefit of the  doubt. When someone shows you who they are, believe them! “My family have come for me.”

So, all this stuff about Olivia really being the Witness is problematic for me. We’ve spent a whole season trying to save the Witness who is really not the Witness? And why is Olivia the Witness? Athan says that insuring his birth insured Olivia’s. The Witness is timeless, the deceiver. But even Olivia sys that she hasn’t done those things yet. He witnessed, but is not The Witness. huh? I feel like I need to rewatch seasons 1 and 2 so I can understand Olivia better. There should be some clues in there.

So now we start a new cycle for the fourth and final season. We’ve got a new map of symbols, with Jennifer being the key to deciphering them. The serpent eating its own tail. The new symbol for next season. And Cole’s mother!! I knew she had to play some role. It was always weird that we never even saw her. Cole’s dad was adamant about protecting him, and he was always a little to accepting of this whole time traveling business,. He was emotional, but pretty calm when he met his adult son in season 1. What did he know? Who is Cole’s mother? What is Cole’s mother?! It looks like mommy issues will be a theme in season 4. And finally, has anyone ever explained where the name “12 Monkeys” came from?

And for all you Wheel of Time fans out there, in the letter Cole’s mom wrote him, she talked of the serpent eating its own tail. Is Cole’s mother an Aes Sedai!?

Is it 2018 yet?