Whee! The good kind of Sci-fi!
This book was set up excellently by Leviathan Wakes. We know enough about humans and politics in this world to see how things are going to go wrong, and then the authors tilt things a bit further. The plot feels never quite predictable, but stays within your general forecast, so it also feels plausible.
Character-wise, this book also shines, though I was a bit meh on the botanist. Yes, he felt realistic. No, I didn’t care about reading more of him when there were other exciting new and old characters to explore. The multiple POV thing works out perfectly, too.
Is this series a serious take on Alien? Maybe. Are the big corporations always at fault? Yes, emphatically. On a smaller level, and also on the highest level, the series avoids simple answers, but in between, the answer is obviously “centralising rich assholes are a problem”. I don’t disagree, but I want to note that the series plays to my opinions.