Dazzling space battles, intergalactic politics, and rogue AI collide in the second book in this epic space opera by award-winning author Megan O’Keefe.
Sanda and Tomas are fleeing for their lives after letting the most dangerous smartship in the universe run free. Now, unsure of who to trust, Sanda knows only one thing for certain — to be able to save herself from becoming a pawn of greater powers, she needs to discover the secret of the coordinates hidden in her skull.
But getting to those coordinates is a problem she can’t solve alone. They exist beyond a dead gate — a Casimir gate that opened up into a dead-end system without resources worth colonizing, and was sealed off. To get through the dead gate, she needs the help of the enemy Nazca. But some Nazca are only interested in the chip in her head — and they’ll crack her open to get to it.
I have been dreading writing this review, mostly because I enjoyed reading Chaos Vector so much that I really wanted to do that book justice and also partly because I was having trouble finding the right words to describe the experience. So, before I get too rambly and possibly lose you, if you take nothing else out of this review it should be this: Chaos Vector is a great fucking book, and if you are a fan of Velocity Weapon (the first in the Protectorate Series) you will love the follow-up, too.
I mention that it is a follow-up, because that is really important to note. The first thing that appealed to me about Chaos Vector is that author Megan O’Keefe played the second book in the series perfectly. Sanda, the female lead everyone fell in love with in Book 1, is back and badder than ever in Book 2. She does not let anything slow her down, and nothing stops her from fighting for what she thinks is right – not even a prosthetic leg that never seems to act like it should – which I think is a completely underrated part of this book. Sanda’s story continues in earnest, searching for the reason behind the chip installed in her head. She takes a friends along the ride for the adventure, some old and some new, but Sanda continues to lead on the main stage. Kicking ass, no name-taking required.
Biran resumes his role in this story as Sanda’s ground-support, as well. As in Velocity Weapon, Biran is just as stubborn and headstrong as his sister, fighting the good fight as a Keeper. I really love watching his character uncover secrets and trying to keep corruption out of the Protectorate. I have often praised series that contain two main protagonists for a yin-yang dynamic, but that is not the case, here: both Sanda and Biran represent the Yang side of the philosophy – both going hard after what they want and never stopping. Biran is a supplement to Sanda, rather than a compliment, and that contributes to the constant action the reader gets from this series. Instead of adding cream to our coffee to balance it out, O’Keefe gave us an espresso double-shot and turned up the volume. And I am so here for it.
Let’s not forget Bero, who continues a role as a different-but-still-big-and-important character. One of the biggest draws of Velocity Weapon was the growth of Sanda and Bero’s relationship throughout the book; and, while you can never recreate that, O’Keefe does the next best thing: separates the two for a while. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, and not only is that relevant to Sanda’s story, but I found as a reader that applied to me, as well.
Speaking of O’Keefe’s writing, I was really impressed at the tone of Chaos Vector. The author explains nothing. There is no information dump. Every piece of information about this world and its people and processes is gained through the context of experience and dialogue of the characters. Also, there is no summary of the events in Book 1. You have to read it before reading Book 2. And there were also a lot of little things that showed up in the writing: dialects and slang and other nuances of language for which an explanation is never really provided. All of this to say that, in my opinion, the author is telling you she has high expectations for you as a reader. Trying to make sense of the complicated world that O’Keefe has built? Focus on the details. Confused by events that continue into Book 2? Read the first book! Not sure what that abbreviated slang term means? Pay attention to the context surrounding it. O’Keefe offers no easy outs in this series, makes no apologies, and I applaud her for it.
With Velocity Weapon and now Chaos Vector, the Protectorate Series continues to blow my mind. Megan O’Keefe has written 2 parts of a fabulous space adventure that I cannot wait to continue. Very highly recommended for fans of fantasy and sci-fi, and in particular those who love Space Operas. The only downside is now the wait for Book 3 begins…