Sanda and Biran were siblings destined for greatness. Her: a dedicated soldier with the skills to save the universe. Him: a savvy politician with ambitions for changing the course of intergalactic war.
However, on a routine maneuver, Sanda’s gunship gets blown out of the sky. Instead of finding herself in friendly hands, she awakens 230 years later upon an empty enemy smartship who calls himself Bero. The war is lost. The star system and everyone in it is dead. Ada Prime and its rival Icarion have wiped each other from the universe.
Now, separated by space and time, Sanda and Biran will find a way to put things right.
I received an ARC of this book from Orbit through Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
In a shameless plagiarism of the typical (and memeable) George RR Martin blurb, Velocity Weapon is space opera as it ought to be written.
It has everything you’d want, and expect, from the genre…and then some.
We alternate between three point-of-view characters: Sanda, a sergeant who finds herself in a sentient enemy ship, hundreds of years after a battle destroyed all she holds dear; her younger brother, Biran, a newly-minted politician with a bright future; and Jules, a thief involved in a heist with dire and unexpected consequences. There are also interludes that give us a better understanding of the world…or raise more questions.
The way O’Keefe uses these points of view to create a sense of mystery and anticipation is masterful. Nothing in the story is as it seems and the book is relentless with its edge-of-the-seat revelations. “Oh my god, what now” is something I found myself saying quite often…but it’s never cheap, never just twists for the sake of it. It’s exhilarating and brilliantly crafted.
The plot certainly captured my imagination and my attention, but what captured my heart were the characters and their relationships. Families, born into and found; friends, old and new.
The tone is often light, funny at moments, which is a nice change of pace after high-stake events and perspective-bending twists.
Velocity Weapon is very much a first book of a series, and not everything is resolved at the end. Far from it.
If you want a space opera with a lot of heart, intergalactic geopolitics, a grumpy AI ship, badass and lovable characters, and a plot that will keep you guessing and audibly gasping…I highly recommend Velocity Weapon.