Publisher: Orbit Books
Page Count: 546
Release Date: July 28th, 2020
Series: THE PROTECTORATE, Book 2
Rating: 4/5 Stars – Really Liked It!
Note: I was given a free ARC by the publisher in exchange for my fair and honest review
Warning: Light spoilers ahead for book one in the series, VELOCITY WEAPON. You can find a review of that book here!
Sanda Greeve didn’t ask to be the sole owner of a set of coordinates leading to a mysterious point beyond a sealed dead gate, but it’s what she was left with after events left her stranded on a ship with an AI named Bero. With Bero fleeing to the far fringes of space to prevent himself from being weaponized, Sanda will have to rely on herself and her very few allies to find a way to the coordinates. Because whatever is waiting there is something multiple people want to either hide or obtain, and they’re all willing to kill for it.
That was a rather brief and vague summary for the second book in THE PROTECTORATE Trilogy, but like its predecessor VELOCITY WEAPON, CHAOS VECTOR is a book of steady reveals. While not quite as gasp-inducing as book one (and really, how would you have topped THAT reveal), CHAOS VECTOR nevertheless manages to zip along at a good clip, unpacking mysteries while introducing new ones. CHAOS VECTOR is much more of an intergalactic trek this time out, as Sanda tries to collect the people, resources, and political clout she needs to activate a gate, something only the Keepers (protectors of gate technology and all its related secrets) can authorize. Those of you who like escapes from exploding space stations, firefights, and traveling to backwater planets will have the perfect book to snuggle up with.
Sanda continues to be the stand out character of the series, the epitome of a reluctant hero who takes the weight of the galaxy on her shoulders because she quite literally can’t trust anyone else to do it. With the planets on the brink of war and multiple shadow factions trying to shape events to their liking, Sanda has to forge a path forward, sometimes getting it right and sometimes getting it wrong. It’s a burden that definitely takes an emotional toll as the story goes on and fatigue sets in, but Sanda will keep trudging forward, one step at a time.
Sanda has a good supporting cast in the background as she adds new people to her crew, and her lover Tomas even gets a few POV chapters to flesh out other sides of the story, adding a new angle I appreciated. Jules continues to be a bit of an enigma, but is absolutely never to be discounted as a key influencer of events. Once again, though, Biran failed to be a character I really connected to. As a Keeper trying to manage peace negotiations with the rebellious planet Icarion, he adds key context to the galactic level stakes, but I just didn’t care on an emotional level about what he was going through. His chapters are relatively few, however, so it didn’t stall me on the book overall.
True to form, CHAOS VECTOR ends with some reveals that quite dramatically shift the direction of events. There are still plenty of unanswered questions and dangling threads, but thankfully this series is a trilogy, so readers can expect for everything to come together in the next installment. If you like your space adventure with a healthy dose of intergalactic conspiracy, the time is now to catch-up with THE PROTECTORATE!