Analysis, Reading

Book Review: Velocity Weapon

Velocity Weapon is solid spaceship-style scifi, but it’s not nearly as action-packed or bombastic as the title might suggest.

I want all of my reviews to enhance your enjoyment of reading. I want to share with you a book that you’ve not heard of before, or wouldn’t have considered trying. I want to share good books and good reading with folks. So in that vein, there will never be any spoilers and if I decide to change that for any reason you will have ample warning.

There will be no spoilers in this review of Velocity Weapon by Megan O’Keefe.

Sunrise found Jules beaten down and sweating, the peachy simulated light glaring at her reproachfully through the trees of the Grotta’s only park. She couldn’t have gone home during the night. The thought of walking into their converted loft and finding Harlan up, and waiting, twisted her stomach to hell and back. So she’d spent the night walking. Stalking, more accurately. Casing known runner tracks, slinking from show to shadow, watching the dealers of the black markets ply their trades in the alleys.

Velocity Weapon by Megan O’Keefe.

I want you to enjoy this book more than I did and my enjoyment was undercut by my expectations going in. I believe that those expectations are due to the title. Velocity Weapon. This title conjures the idea of a particular sort of book and I did not find this book to be that. Velocity Weapon makes me think of Terminal Velocity. Did you ever see that movie? It opens with Charlie Sheen illegally skydiving into a Suburban neighborhood for a birthday party wearing jeans with plastic fake butt cheeks sticking out of them.

This book is not like that. Velocity Weapon is what Nophek Gloss—I’m still complaining about that book—should have been titled, something that was action-packed and all about spectacle and not about substance.

Velocity Weapon is patient. It reminded me of The Expanse or A Memory Called Empire, both of which I very much enjoy and highly recommend. So that’s high praise, but Velocity Weapon is a sort of less violent, less graphic version of The Expanse and that’s the expectation that I think you should have going into it.

So what is Velocity Weapon? Well, it’s outer space science fiction. We’re flying around on spaceships, there’s artificial intelligences, the physics are grounded in what we know with some little minor caveats to explain how we’re out amongst the stars. It doesn’t use the science as much as The Expanse does. The Expanse really puts the science at the forefront and this does not do that.

Velocity Weapon is a multiple perspective story. We look through the perspectives of different characters in different timelines and the events in those timeline, I mean timelines, sort of interact with each other. One storyline starts as a very methodical survival story. Another is pretty much all political machinations and dealings, and a third is kind of a crime thriller, but even those evolve and mix with other genres, for example romance being mixed in as well. It’s kind of a diverse story. It’s well written and the author does a good job getting into her character’s heads. I found the story to start off slow, but once it started twisting and turning I was hooked.

I actually think that many folks should not read this last part. This is going to be me complaining about Velocity Weapon and the things that I did not like about it so if you already are set on the idea of a book series—and it is a series by the way, this is just the first of a few—that is very similar to The Expanse but mixes in some fun ‘tropeyness’ it’s a little bit more playful and light-hearted, it’s less graphic, it’s less violent, not that it’s not a little bit violent and graphic in parts. If that sounds amazing to you then please, read this book. It is heckin solid.

But if instead you’d like to hear me complain about it then you can read on.

Any story that has multiple perspectives always has a perspective that you are way less interested in reading than the other perspectives. For velocity Weapon it’s Biran. He’s the political machinations stuff and I just found his character to be boring, to be obnoxiously morally upright. He makes these sort of dramatic gestures that I thought were dumbly heroic, not heroic in an interesting way. Partly it was contrived, partly it really needed to happen to set up things in the other story lines, and I always wanted to skip his sections, but it’s about a third of the book!

Another thing that annoyed me is the fact that it’s a series. I really wish there were more stand-alones. I love stand-alones. And the ending to this one, while it did resolve and wrap up many plot lines, also set up a bunch of new plot lines, presumably for the next book, but I’m not going to read the next book. This was just a one-off for me. I like The Expanse better, I just do. I was a little surprised by that fact. I love playfulness. I wish books were less serious. In fact the cynicism in The Expanse is probably my least favorite thing about it.

So velocity Weapon, it’s good. It’s real solid. It’s real good. It didn’t resonate with me, but maybe it will with you. Let me know uh in the comments if you disagree and let me know if you know of any really fun sci-fi books that sort of have uh maybe the promise of the title “Velocity Weapon”. I would love to see that action-packed thing that actually does the heart well, that does the character emotion well, and I think The Expanse has some of that, and it’s one of the reasons I really like it, but I’ve not found exactly what I’m looking for quite yet.


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