Book Review: Velocity Weapon by Megan E. O’Keefe
I received a review copy from the publisher. This does not affect the contents of my review and all opinions are my own.
Mogsy’s Rating: 4 of 5 stars
Genre: Science Fiction
Series: Book 1 of The Protectorate
Publisher: Orbit (June 11, 2019)
Length: 544 pages
Velocity Weapon by Megan E. O’Keefe was a book I picked up on a recommendation from several reviewers whose descriptions of the book sounded like something I would really love—and I’m glad I decided to check it out! As space operas go, it was highly entertaining with some fantastic character development and world-building, and I couldn’t have asked for more.
As the story opens, our protagonist Gunnery Sergeant Sanda Greeves finds herself waking up naked and alone on an unfamiliar ship. Exploring her surroundings in shock and confusion, she manages to access the ship’s sentient AI, discovering that she has been asleep for more than two centuries. The war she had been fighting in is over, with both sides having destroyed themselves. The ship Sanda is on now is The Light of Berossus, an enemy ship. Bero, as it calls itself, informs her that the two of them are now alone in a dead star system, her home world of Ada Prime and their rivals from the planet Icarion having wiped each other out.
In a separate thread, we also get the story from the perspective of Biran, Sanda’s brother. When the news arrives that his beloved sister’s gunship had just been blown up in the Battle of Dralee, Biran barely has time to grieve before he is swiftly whisked off by the Keepers of Ada Prime to discuss their next step. And in another star system, a young smuggler inadvertently stumbles upon something she shouldn’t have while on what was supposed to be a routine job—a deadly secret that will have serious repercussions for the galaxy if it is discovered.
While it’s going to be difficult to review Velocity Weapon without revealing any spoilers, I’m going to try my best because some things are simply best experienced firsthand, including all the twists and shocking surprises in this book. As we alternate between the different character perspectives, more details of the plot are gradually laid bare, allowing the reader to piece together the clues and find out just what is going on. I won’t lie, the beginning will be confusing at first, and the big picture will be hazy and vague—but stick around if you can, for it will be worth it.
Each character’s point-of-view will present a conundrum, a conflict to be solved. Sanda is in the biggest bind of all, lost in space with a ship that seems to have its own personality and agenda, and it’s anyone’s guess what it has in mind for them both as they try to find their way back to civilization. Biran is in the process of being groomed to be the next Keeper of Ada Prime, though the only thing on his mind is his sister and how he will be able to get her back. What anyone could possibly do to help her is anyone’s guess, separated as the characters are by space and time, but eventually all will be answered. Kudos to O’Keefe for being able to juggle all these moving parts while keeping her cards close to the vest so by the time the revelations come, you will be floored.
Still, I have to say, one key aspect of the book I did not really care for was Jules’ part of the story. Although she ended up playing an important role in the overall plot, I thought her early sections detracted from the overall mystery and the tensions surrounding the siblings’ predicament. I think the author knew this might happen, because Jules’ chapters were packed full of intrigue and fast-paced action in order to tide us over while the character’s own arc was being developed. It’s not that I didn’t like Jules or enjoyed her chapters, but while Sanda and Biran’s threads were unfolding, all I really wanted was to get back to their part of the story to find out what happened next! The Greeves were hands down the most interesting characters, and I always felt a thrill especially whenever I returned to Sanda’s POV. One of the reasons for that is Bero. Now don’t get me wrong because I loved reading about Sanda—she’s strong, spirited, and tenacious. But as you know, I am also a sucker for ship AI characters, and Bero was a real trip. And that’s all I’m going to say on that subject!
In sum, I had a lot of fun with Velocity Weapon, and I was pretty excited to learn that there’s likely more to come as this looks to be the first book in a new series. Not much else really to say about this novel, except that it was entertaining and satisfying. I also think it opens up doors for many other possibilities, and I will be waiting with great anticipation for what Megan E. O’Keefe has in store for us next.