To begin with, I read this book with a lot of speed and interest and at the same time fought with the writers’ choices the whole way. Who thought it was a good idea to colonize a bunch of worlds all filled with alien technology and ruins? Who realistically thinks a few hundred people in a ratty little colony have an actual claim on a whole world? When the second, so-called official colony follows the first band of Belter settlers, why wouldn’t they make a second colony somewhere across the planet, which is, after all, a pretty big place? All this is niggling, of course. The writers went for the high-drama choices, as anyone would expect them to do. But the premise felt like a mess to start with. Then along comes Murderous Murtry, the chief villain here, and one of the most over-the-top villains of the whole series. Nothing will stop him from exerting the preeminence of the claim of the corporation for which he works, certainly not logic or decency or diplomacy. Then the alien ruins wake up because there’s a scrap of protomolecule on the Rocinante. By now it’s well established that the protomolecule can be used to explain most anything that needs explaining. Then comes the prolonged action sequences and the chase across the planet and the standoff in space as the planet wakes up and does nasty stuff to the colony. It reaches out it reaches out indeed. There are battles on the planet and battles in space and the bad guys just want to kill everybody when there’s a whole entire planet to share if they would just think about it. But anyway. That was the argument in my head. But I devoured the book and skimmed the parts of it that felt too long, because, well, they were too long. It’s amazing that I came away still liking this series as a whole so very much when I quarreled with so many parts of it.