I’ve barely been able to put this book down since reading the first page. I had to force this book to the side just so I could get any initial ideas and impressions out before I finished it. Yes, it is that good.
Megan O’Keefe does a fantastic job at taking the reader through different times without jerking back and forth with rough transitions and sudden changes. Three main story lines direct the flow of the book, but two of them take place at the same time (albeit in different places) while the other occurs two hundred and thirty years in the future. Instead of harsh time jumps and unexpected shifts in tone or direction, O’Keefe elegantly guides the reader from one place to the next, keeping care for the characters and audience in mind.
The world(s) that she has created are dynamic and captivating too. She does a wonderful job exemplifying the differences between the Primes and Icarions without taking one side or the other. From the minute differences that Sanda notices in design and layout, to Biran’s discussions about enemy whereabouts, the characters and communities feel incredibly real and are rooted in their beliefs.
Something that has also become immediately noticeable is how unlike Star Wars or Star Trek O’Keefe’s universe is. It seems that so many space opera-style novels and books are loosely related (or tangential) to either of the massive pop fiction universes, but O’Keefe manages to steer clear of both of them. Whereas in both Star Wars and Star Trek, sentient beings across multiple galaxies have cracked the equation to speed-of-light travel, O’Keefe’s civilizations have barely made it halfway to the SOL without assistance.
Not to mention that the typical array of strange aliens, bizarre sentients, and anthropomorphic visages are completely absent. Certainly it makes things easier to describe, and, given the history that O’Keefe weaves for these two civilizations, much more believable. The suspension of disbelief is so incredibly necessary for fantasy, sci-fi, and other supernatural novels—consider my belief suspended. She also removes any notion of supranatural entities (jedi, sith, or even borg) existing within this universe; it’s just the people and their planets, nothing more and nothing less. (Well, something more, but that’s a spoiler.)
O’Keefe also devises and executes a convincing government entity with a believable (and suspicious) history. She draws the reader in at all the right moments and leaves just enough unsaid to account for mystery and intrigue. Secret weapons, intra-organ devices, and space travel gates—what more could you ask for?
It also needs mentioning that O’Keefe’s characters are incredibly diverse in their personalities, genders and races, socioeconomic standing, work, and beliefs. Hardly any two characters are exactly alike, and thus she makes real a society of people; each one individual and discernable from the rest. Sure, many of them share the same political or ideological beliefs, but the faith in and execution of those beliefs are as different as the people are.
Without making any fuss or drawing any attention too, O’Keefe diversifies her characters in numerous ways. From nonbinary/gender non-conforming individuals using “they” pronouns to the main characters being raised by two fathers, O’Keefe makes no unnecessary comment about these preferences and family styles. Queer characters, GNF people, disabled characters—all and more populate O’Keefe’s world and adds a necessary and vital element to her universe: realism.
I’m hardly halfway through the book and I’m already certain it won’t take me too much longer to tear through the rest.
Secrets, politics, spies, and survivors all coalesce in Velocity Weapon to create a magnificent start to a brand-new series.