I put this one down with very mixed feelings. The opening sequence of Velocity Weapon has to be one of the best opening scenes I’ve read in space opera for years. I was blown away by it – unfortunately, I didn’t find the rest of the book quite matched up to that promise. Would Chaos Vector manage to fulfil that flash of awesomeness?
BLURB: Sanda and Tomas are fleeing for their lives after letting the most dangerous smartship in the universe run free. Now, unsure of who to trust, Sanda knows only one thing for certain — to be able to save herself from becoming a pawn of greater powers, she needs to discover the secret of the coordinates hidden in her skull….
REVIEW: The rest of the blurb is a bit too chatty for my taste, so I’m leaving it there. Ironically, while the beginning of the first book was the high point for me, I was badly struggling for the first 20% of this one to really care all that much. I’m not a fan of pages of info-dumping – and that’s what we got, as the author went into lots of detail about the world, leaving the characters waving in the wind in the process.
There were times when O’Keefe seemed a tad overwhelmed by the scope and scale of her world and range of her characters. Fortunately, we had Sanda and Biran, and once the story got going, these two main characters with their attendant plotlines pulled the book back on track. But I thought Jules was something of a cliché, and that the book suffered because we didn’t see anything like enough of Tomas. Given what a vital role he played in the first book, we got far too little of him in this one – especially as there was a plot twist involving him that I found plain irritating, as I immediately realised how it was going to play out.
Despite these hiccups, the story was an entertaining read with plenty going on and a detailed, nuanced world, whose murky history is coming back to bite the Protectorate in the bottom. Some of the flashbacks were unnecessary – the information we needed could have been depicted within the narrative timeframe without breaking the flow of the story. But I did enjoy the politicking among the Keepers and I love Sanda’s character. This one finished on something of a cliffhanger, so I’m hoping we won’t be waiting too long for the next book in the series. Recommended for fans of epic space opera with plenty going on. While I obtained an arc of Chaos Vector from the publisher via Netgalley, the opinions I have expressed are unbiased and my own.
Great review, Sarah! I’m glad you enjoyed it despite some teething problems, and at least there were two solid characters to inform the plot! I’m definitely still interested in reading this series 😀
Oh, I hope I haven’t given the impression it isn’t worth reading! I did enjoy it – but I am particularly fussy about space opera and the relationship between Sanda and Biran is lovely – it’s great seeing a strong sibling bond in a story, for a change.
Oh no, it definitely didn’t come across like that! I’m definitely looking forward to reading this series 😀
Oh good – because I’m really looking forward to finding out what happens next…
I think your review is one of the first I’ve read. I’m a little nervous about some of your negatives, so now I’m curious and also a little apprehensive!
I read a great deal of space opera and it’s my favourite genre, but also the one I’m pickiest about. It is a strong story – but the first third of Velocity Weapon was extraordinarily good and I keep hoping the series will swing back into that dynamic, so there is a slight sense of disappointment over the direction it’s taken.
I am also allergic to info-dumps in a way that simply doesn’t bother a lot of space opera fans. And I’d read CV back to back with Seven Devils, which also didn’t do it any favours – as the characterisation and worldbuilding is far more deftly handled in SD, in my opinion. But I know Maddalena absolutely loves the series – so be aware it could just be me being very fussy…
I have these in the queue. We will see how I can get to them. Fantastic review!
I hope you can get to them, because it is a really entertaining series and I hope you get a chance to enjoy them. Space opera is a lovely slice of escapism as the moment!