The Expanse made it to Book 5 before they finally had their Empire Strikes Back, both in tone and excellence.
Unlike the previous novels, Nemesis Games takes our heroic space-faring foursome and splits them up, with everyone getting their own PoV chapters. It’s like in a tabletop RPG campaign where we focus on individual characters and their own personal stories – except here the book deftly weaves these stories into the main plot as everyone becomes entwined in an apocalyptic event that sets up all new stakes, alliances, and warfare within the inner systems. And we witness it unfold from four different angles! It also finally brings fan-favorite past supporting characters like Bobbie Draper and Clarissa Mao in really cool ways.
My only complaint is that it doesn’t really conclude, instead serving up an intriguing springboard into a new main plot.
Nemesis Games is easily the best book of the entire series up to this point. I only hope the rest of the novels can keep up the momentum.