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In the fading light of a dying star, a soldier for hire searches for a missing refugee ship and uncovers a universe-shattering secret.

Asala Sikou is used to looking after number one while crisis reigns in her dying planetary system. But when she’s hired to find a missing refugee ship, she discovers that this is no ordinary rescue mission, and she must play a role in deciding the fate of the whole universe.”

The Vela

I got an ARC of this book.

It physically pains me to say that this is not what I wanted it to be. Some of my favorite authors and authors I have been told will be favorite authors got together and wrote this book, each taking a few chapters. What could be better than getting all of my favorites together to tell a sci-fi story about refugees and finding family? It sounded great in theory, but the execution was slightly off.

One of my biggest issues is the ending. Spoilers coming, but nothing too hardcore. There is a huge battle scene (this is the spoiler) and that is where the book ends, just in the middle of that huge battle. What happens? Does the twist that I saw coming from like the very first chapter actually play out to matter? What about the character I loved and then was disappointed by? What about the one character that is probably a good person in the whole book? What about the grandson that likes to dance? The ending left me feeling like I was cheated. It left on such a cliffhanger that the term cliffhanger just isn’t sufficient. It was clear that a second book was planned and so the ending had to create the hype for that. The issue is the second book (or season as they are called) is by authors I don’t know. Why would I trust authors I don’t know when authors I loved had issues?

Positives are everywhere in this book. There is casual queer rep. There is good queer rep. There are characters that are fascinating like a certain leader of a planet that I can’t imagine at a dance recital. There are characters that aren’t good and there are characters that are very bad. There is some nuance with the alignment, but honestly not a lot. So many of the characters were very flat and one sided. It didn’t measure up to what I know these authors are capable of. This I think comes down to the format. How can they do this great character development that I am used to from Chambers when the author switches every chapter? How can there be this incredibly deep emotional well that Solomon is so amazing at if that is not something that another author cultivates? It was so hard to love this book, because all of the things I love about the authors was cut off at the knee by the format of switching authors every chapter. So even the good was not as good as I wanted or expected.

The plot itself was kind of a buddy cop plot. Two characters are forced together, a veteran and a rookie. They go on wild adventures and uncover bigger plots. There are spies. There is possibly chemistry, possibly a bromance. In the end I felt the same about this book as I do those movies, it was boring and I found myself wondering why people loved it. I wanted to love it. It just felt like the authors were hindered by the very idea that drew me in. There was also the issue of the ton and words being so different that by the time I adjusted to one author, that it was time to switch again. I had to devote enough time to get through a whole chapter otherwise I would be lost. Each author had such a different voice that it felt like multiple books instead of one.

Overall, the format sounded cool and I was ready to buy season two when I was barely half a chapter in. The format in the end is what made this book not one I am overjoyed over. Give the whole book to one of these authors and I have no doubt it would have easily been four or five stars, instead of barely squeaking into three.

3 out of 5 stars. I would maybe recommend this book.

You can buy the book here.

~Isaiah