So…um…confession. I read Velocity Weapon back in…
Why am I waiting until November to write up a review you ask? Well…
yep…no good reason. Well, really it is because I got behind on the writing part of this whole blogging thing but didn’t stop reading things and it just kinda slipped by. Then kept slipping by. And then I realized November would be Sci-Fi Month and I figured why not wait till then to do it? So yea…I’m doing it now…after four months have gone by and I’ve probably forgotten some stuff. So, this will probably be a shorter review than normal for me which kinda sucks because I really enjoyed this book.
“Sanda and Biran Greeve were siblings destined for greatness. A high-flying sergeant, Sanda has the skills to take down any enemy combatant. Biran is a savvy politician who aims to use his new political position to prevent conflict from escalating to total destruction.
However, on a routine maneuver, Sanda loses consciousness when her gunship is blown out of the sky. Instead of finding herself in friendly hands, she awakens 230 years later on a deserted enemy warship controlled by an AI who calls himself Bero. The war is lost. The star system is dead. Ada Prime and its rival Icarion have wiped each other from the universe.
Now, separated by time and space, Sanda and Biran must fight to put things right.” – Goodreads blurb
Velocity Weapon is a fast paced, sci-fi thriller filled with plenty of twists and turns that keep the reader guessing. O’Keefe delivers an edge of your seat action story with space battles, intrigue, and betrayals crafted to make you wonder what’s gonna happen next and how deep the plot goes. This book has a lot of elements I really enjoyed:
- Baddass female protagonist – check
- Sentient AI sapceship – check
- Behind the scenes political maneuvering – check
- Underground rogue smugglers causing havoc for the imperialists – check
- Unexpected plot twists – check
- Underlying moral question – check
The book is told from three primary points of view. The first is that of Sanda Greeve, Ada Prime sergeant and fighter pilot who wakes from her evac pod after her gunship was blown apart in space to find herself on-board an enemy ship alone, injured, and naked. To add insult to injury she discovers it has been 230 years since the battle. She was picked up by Bero, an Icarion sentient AI driven ship who informs her the war is over and both of their worlds have been destroyed. Sanda must work with Bero to find a way out of the system on limited supplies in hopes of finding human life somewhere.
Meanwhile Sanda’s brother Biran 230 years in the past is frantically searching for some sign that there may be survivors from the battle in which his sister went missing. Biran, a Keeper newly graduated from university and a rising political figure must navigate unfamiliar territory among Ada Prime’s leadership while searching for some sign of hope that that there may be survivors from the battle. It’s a race against the clock as Icarion is maneuvering for what may be a knockout blow to the system.
At the same time a young thief named Jules on a planet in another system altogether finds herself in over her head when her crew breaks into a derelict warehouse and discovers something they didn’t expect; a cache of contraband that could make them rich beyond their dreams. But someone knows about their discovery and is out to get it back and kill them in the process. Just what is so important about this haul? And what does it have to do with the war between Ada Prime and Icarion so many systems away?
O’Keefe’s writing is on point in Velocity Weapon. At over 500 pages the pace could easily get mired in the weeds if the author let it but O’Keefe keeps things humming along. The first half of the book is definitely slower than the second half, but it never gets boring. Instead O’Keefe uses it to get all the pieces and world building in place for the explosive finish. But that first half isn’t “slow” by any means. This is probably because of the tension written into it as the narrative builds up to reveal what happened at the Battle of Dralee, and whether and how the two timelines in the story will ever sync up.
I’m a fan of alternating POV stories so I don’t have to be sold on them, but the technique is used really well in Velocity Weapon. The fact that Sanda is stranded 230 years in the future, and Jules is in a whole other system, means the shifting points of view just add to the suspense. You’re left wondering just how the narrative is going to come together while getting completely enmeshed in each character’s thread.
Then there are the plot twists. Velocity Weapon has more than one. Most are seemingly small shifts in direction you may or may not have seen coming that propel things along at a quicker pace for a time. And then…then there’s the big one. I give no hints as to what it may be or when it occurs, but once it comes things take on a whole new level of intensity real quick and the narrative goes barreling toward it’s conclusion.
Another aspect of the book I really dug was the underlying moral and ethical question it’s built around. That is, the extent to which we are responsible for the outcomes of our technological developments, and more specifically the drive to create a truly sentient AI. This isn’t a new question and it isn’t new to science fiction at all. The whole Terminator franchise with all its dystopian glory is built around it. In Velocity Weapon it comes to the fore early on with the knowledge that two worlds have destroyed themselves and an entire system over access to and control of technology. It also surfaces in an interesting way when Sanda begins to wonder what it must be like for Bero to be a sentient creature (a computer/ship yes, but sentient creation nonetheless) to exist knowing other sentient beings live inside it. It raises even more questions regarding the psychology of sentient AI which O’Keefe explores in her thrilling narrative.
This was the first book of O’Keefe’s I’d ever read and it made me a fan. This is just book one of the Protectorate series and I’m dying to know where it goes. It ended on a cliffhanger with definite opportunities for future mayhem. I’ll be anxiously awaiting the next installment.
4 of 5 Stars
Note: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.
Author: Megan E. O’Keefe
Series: The Protectorate (#1)
Publication Date: June 11, 2019