Megan O’Keefe returns to the universe of the Protectorate with Chaos Vector, follow up 2019’s ripping space opera Velocity Weapon. The plot of Chaos Vector follows directly on from the end of the first book, there is very little hand holding or recap so unless readers have just finished Velocity Weapon it may take a while for them to get back up to speed. It also means that this review necessarily contains spoilers for that first book.
When Chaos Vector opens, Sanda Greeve is on the run having been accused of killing a Keeper as a result of a doctored video. While her powerful brother Biran tries to clear her name, Sanda and her father go searching for people who can help them solve the riddle of the chip that has been implanted in her head. They hook up with some of her father’s old crew but on condition that she helps them track down their friends Jules and Lolla. Only Jules is working for the big bad who is also the target of spy Tomas, who still has a thing for Sanda. This all sets up the action that drives the first half of the book. After which there is… more action and plenty of revelations.
This is a classic second novel. While the action of much of Velocity Weapon was fairly contained, Chaos Vector expands the universe and the mythology that it is built on. Much like the first novel, though, O’Keefe knows when to deploy game changing twists that redefine what has come before and provide a boost for the story to come.
Chaos Vector once again shows O’Keefe’s ability to write intricate, action-filled space opera peopled by flawed by fun characters. While there is occasional pause to consider the rapacious nature of humanity, it is all driven by the almost non-stop action with arse-kicking, wise cracking, heroine Sanda Greeve firmly at its centre. This is space opera in the style of James SA Corey or John Scalzi – some classic tropes with a modern sensibility. And it will leave readers hanging for volume three.