I loved Velocity Weapon, but since a decent part of the entertainment factor of the first book was having my jaw hit the floor with each successive reveal, I did have to wonder whether that format would be used again and whether it could work as well the second time around. Thankfully, I needn’t have worried. What Megan O’Keefe did instead was minimise the tricks and go large on character. It made me realise how important and impactful the cast had actually been and that it had been them just as much as the shocks that so gripped me before. There are definitely still surprises in Chaos Vector, but they supplement the story instead of being the framework upon which it is built. It means that there’s a greater cohesiveness here, a forward momentum and linear connectivity that was somewhat limited by the way the various threads worked in the last book. The different perspectives are cleverly interwoven to build upon each other, every part clearly integral to the story, and the emotional connection is all the more powerful for it.
She grinned, tasted iron, and licked the blood from her teeth. “You know what the last thing I got arrested for was?’ … ‘Spaceship piracy’
The new format allows Sanda to shine. Even more so than before, I mean. Because this time it’s not just about survival… it’s about survival AND a whole shipload more problems, all of them life-threatening or world-ending. If there’s a shit creek in space, she’s up it, paddle nowhere to be seen. Her only way out lies in discovering what’s hidden inside her skull before someone kills her for it. But she can’t do it alone. She needs a crew. And this is where the whole thing comes brilliantly together. The author has a real talent for developing relationships; allowing the reader to feel the growing connections between people, revealing how burgeoning trust leads to friendship, bringing you into the found family she has created and making you feel like one of them. At the heart of it all is Sanda, who has that same kind of skill set, doing for her crew what Megan O’Keefe does for us: giving people a place that feels like home.
Sanda’s all attitude on the surface, but underneath she cares deeply for those around her and she fights, hard and dirty, for what she thinks is right. She’s so far from perfect, she makes mistakes and gets into a ton of trouble, but she’s also smart and ballsy, real on a you-and-me level, and faces problems with an incomparable level of badassery. No wonder she draws people to her - I would fight for her. Chaos Vector has cemented her place in my list of favourite female characters, and just putting it out there, I’ll read however many more books about her the author can possibly write. Of course, she’s only one of the great characters in the book. There’s beautiful diversity everywhere you look, none of it cliche or add-on, and each person has their own thing, their true-to-themselves voice. Her crew might be the best part, but everyone has their role to play. The interaction is punchy with snark as the baseline for communication and some conversations had me laughing out loud. Even in the midst of high energy scenes, all blood and explosions, there’s still time for some humour. For all the grand political machinations, dystopian inequality, and uncountable deaths, the focus on family and friendship gives the book a heartwarming feel even when things get really dark.
Chaos Vector isn’t dull for a single second, with worldbuilding and action that’s both cinematic in scope and exciting as hell - I’d love to see this on screen. With this series, O’Keefe has progressed classic space opera into something bolder, more modern, and truly fun. When I turned the last page, it felt like I hadn’t been given enough time. Especially since the author revealed some seriously big questions that needed answering IMMEDIATELY (ok, ok, I have zero patience, I know) and because she loves a dramatic and abrupt ending to drive her readers crazy. This series is just so damn readable. I blasted through the whole thing and still wanted more, mostly because I didn’t want to leave the characters, these friends, behind. Bring on what comes next ASAP please.
Review by Emma Davis
9/10 from 1 reviews
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