Cibola Burns by James S. A. Corey (Review)

Cibola Burn by James S. A. Corey


The gates have opened the way to thousands of habitable planets, and the land rush has begun. Settlers stream out from humanity’s home planets in a vast, poorly controlled flood, landing on a new world. Among them, the Rocinante, haunted by the vast, posthuman network of the protomolecule as they investigate what destroyed the great intergalactic society that built the gates and the protomolecule.

But Holden and his crew must also contend with the growing tensions between the settlers and the company which owns the official claim to the planet. Both sides will stop at nothing to defend what’s theirs, but soon a terrible disease strikes and only Holden – with help from the ghostly Detective Miller – can find the cure.


I will be honest I always find the beginning of The Expanse books a little slow but once I get into them and the story starts to get moving and I simply can’t put the book down. Cibola Burns proved to be exactly the same.

As usual the book is told from a few characters’ points of view and the characters that we had this time were Holden, Basia, Elvi, Havelock and The Investigator. The prologue is from Bobbie and the epilogue is by Avasarala. Each chapter is told by a different character and shows us each scene and situation from the point of view of that character. 

Holden we know really well by now, captain of the Rocinante and a man who always tries to do the right thing but does have a habit of inadvertently causing conflict between people. Holden is sent with his crew Naomi, Alex and my favourite Amos through the gates to help mediate the situation between the Belters and RCE on the new planet Ilus. Both the Belters and RCE claim the planet is theirs but the Belters were there first and they will do anything they can to make sure they can keep it and the mining rights. 

Basia is one of the Belters on Ilus and he lives there with his wife and two children but Basia has fallen in with the wrong crowd and makes some questionable decisions which land him in hot water. However, he is a good man and a dam good welder who will do anything he can to help his family.

Elvi is one of the scientists who arrive with the RCE ship and I must admit she is rather annoying. Yes, she is clearly a genius and is very useful for the story but the way she follows Holden around like a lost puppy is rather annoying and she can be rather heartless sometimes with the things she says. She forgets people have feelings sometimes.

Havelock we have already met as he was Miller’s partner at one point. Havelock is now working for the security of RCE and is trying to keep a ship full of scientists calm. Havelock is a character who always tries to do the right thing. He is understanding and tries to keep everyone happy but sadly he has a rather different boss who makes him do things he is not keen on or embarrassed about.

The Investigator was actually my favourite point of view and I found it rather fascinating and I was frustrated that we did not see more of The Investigator. I will not say more as don’t want to spoil the character. 

Overall, this story touches many points, immigration, major corporations crushing the little people, love, terrorism and much more. I particularly liked seeing how the intruders on the planet were effected by the natural ecosystem of the planet. I give this book 5 out 5 Dragons. 


Purchase Links

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About the author

James S. A. Corey is the pen name of fantasy author Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck, George R. R. Martin’s assistant. They both live Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Reviews of previous Expanse books

Leviathan Wakes

Caliban’s War

Abaddon’s Gate

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