Review: VELOCITY WEAPON by Megan E. O’Keefe

Publisher: Orbit Books
Page Count: 504
Release Date: June 11th, 2019
Series: THE PROTECTORATE, Book 1
Rating: 4/5 Stars – Really Liked It!

Note: I was provided a free ARC by the publisher in return for a fair and honest review.

41085049Sanda Greeve is having a rough day.  Her gunship was shot down in an enemy engagement and she’s woken up in a medbay with one leg missing.  That turns out to be the least disturbing thing she discovers.  Sanda soon realizes she is on an enemy ship with no one else on board, save the ship AI named Bero.   Bero, in turn, reveals that he picked up her emergency pod which was floating in space, that Sanda appears to be the sole survivor of a prototype weapon attack that accidentally destroyed both sides of the intergalactic war she was fighting in – and that all of this happened 230 years ago.  With the nearby jump gate destroyed, Sanda’s going to have to find a way to survive a trip to the nearest planet, a trip that will take decades at best.

230 years ago, Sanda’s brother Biran is unaware of his sister’s ultimate fate. On the day he became a Keeper (member of the ruling body and guardian of the technological knowledge of how to make jump gates), a cold war between his nation of Prime and the rival Icarion finally went hot.  Biran is thrown into the deep end of politics, trying to negotiate a truce with the Icarions and the return of any captured soldiers, which Biran hopes will include his missing sister.  And somewhere across the galaxy, a crew of thieves lead by a woman named Jules has just stumbled into a secret lab – and a third party will stop at nothing to get the data they recovered from it.

VELOCITY WEAPON is a space opera infused with mystery, politics, thrills, and humor.  Following three different characters gives three very perspectives on what is happening in the galaxy, and in many ways sets three different tones.  Sanda is full on THE MARTIAN, trying to find a way to make it to civilization without dying of old age; Biran is trying to help hold together a nation in crisis; Jules is living her best cyberpunk criminal life.  The chapter headings are not only humorous, but also serve to remind you what year it is and the location of the character, helpful in a story that continuously jumps back and forth between its leads.  Of the three major story threads, I found Biran’s the weakest, simply because he’s a naive young man placed in a position of great power, without the political knowhow to wield that power effectively, something that left me groaning on multiple occasions.  Far more compelling to me was his sister Sanda, who despite everything thrown at her, manages to keep a wry sense of humor as she struggles to survive, all while being down one leg.

VELOCITY WEAPON is also a tale that managed to continuously surprise me with the way that certain plot threads tied together.  I cackled to myself more than once as certain information came to light that put a new spin on what I knew before.  Don’t expect, however, for this book to neatly wrap up all its plots with a pretty bow.  VELOCITY WEAPON is very much part one of a much bigger mythos, and some elements (Jules in particular) end up leaving way more questions than answers.  This could be frustrating at times, realizing that the significance of certain plot points weren’t going to be explained until a later date.  But the overall adventure of VELOCITY WEAPON is just so much fun that I still finished the book on an emotional high!

VELOCITY WEAPON is an excellent start to a new intergalactic adventure.  While most of the conflict stays fairly “local” to a few planets, it’s clear by the end that we are only at the tip of a very large iceberg. I, for one, am incredibly excited to return to this adventure soon, and eagerly await the next installment!

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