ARC Review: FAULT TOLERANCE by Valerie Valdes

I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. It has not affected my opinions.

Genre: Sci-Fi
Age Range: Adult
Star Rating: 4 stars
Series: yes - book 3

*SPOILER ALERT: contains SPOILERS for CHILLING EFFECT and PRIME DECEPTIONS*

Blurb:

Book cover for FAULT TOLERANCE: title in blue above woman in space suit falling from spaceship surrounded by cats towards metal hand

Nothing wrecks Captain Eva Innocente’s vacation plans quite like an anonymous threat to vaporize billions of people. Hundreds of monoliths have suddenly materialized in space, broadcasting the same looped message: surrender or be exterminated. Is the universe being epically spammed?

Surrender to whom? Exterminated when? And how is Eva, commander of a beat-up cargo ship, supposed to prevent it? As panic spreads, a mystery message sends Eva to find answers, in a system that hasn’t been explored in all of recorded history.

With the crew of La Sirena Negra, a score of psychic cats, a feline-phobic robot, and a superweapon she has no clue how to use, Eva prepares to battle the unknown. But first, she has to defeat the known: mercenary Tito Santiago, whose idea of a clean fight is a shower before kill time. His mission is to ensure Eva doesn’t succeed at hers.

If anything goes wrong, the universe is doomed. But if everything goes according to Eva’s plans–wait, when does that ever happen?

Blurb taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


Review:

FAULT TOLERANCE is another rip-roaring, irreverent, quippy space opera about a rag-tag smuggler crew who have the perennial bad luck to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and involved in galactic messes. Which is terrible for actually being able to deliver goods.

You cannot write a (decent) satire without loving the genre. And while this book is not a full satire, there’s definitely a feeling that fun is being poked at some staples. It just makes for a joyous time playing with tropes and expectations and not caring about “taking things too seriously,” but instead just being along for the ride. There are psychic space cats and giant crabs in asteroids and WWE-esque events.

There is heart to it too, a found family of a crew bundled together with their own pasts and tensions, but still in it together. Even if Eva is the worst at motivational speeches. (I loved that scene.)

It’s been a while (or at least it feels like a while!) since I read the previous book. I didn’t feel like I was missing out too much, and the book felt like it could be read as a standalone set after the crew’s previous (mis)adventures. There are definitely characters and call backs (and possibly a plot thread) harking back to previous book, but I had enough in-book to get through despite my memory being a sieve.

I don’t know if there’s going to be another entry – this one leaves them in a relatively restful place, but given the way the galaxy works in this series, there is easily space for more books.


Read my reviews of other books by Valerie Valdes:

Chilling Effect (this series):

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