Book Reviews

Book Review: Fault Tolerance by Valerie Valdes

Captain Eva Innocente, her motley crew, and her psychic space cats are back for a third adventure!

Book: Fault Tolerance by Valerie Valdes

Publication date: 2nd August 2022

Ownership: Review copy sent free of charge by Harper360/Harper Voyager. All opinions my own.

Content warnings: violence, injury, and death; some medical scenes (nothing particularly graphic).

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?

I was absolutely certain I’d reviewed books one and two of this series, Chilling Effect and Prime Deceptions, but I can’t find them anywhere, so I suppose you’ll have to take my word for it that they’re some of the funniest, silliest, most-action packed sci-fi adventures to come out of the last few years. These are light-hearted books full of chaos, bad decisions and space cats, and I think most people will either love or hate them because of that – think a glossy, sarcastic blockbuster of a space movie, rather than something intense and intricate like Velocity Weapon. Fault Tolerance, as the third and final book of the series, continues the joyfully chaotic adventures of Captain Eva Innocente and crew, and offers bigger stakes, more explosions, and more psychic cats than ever before.

I didn’t re-read the previous books before leaping into this one, and while I do recommend starting at the beginning of the series, it wasn’t hard to pick up who everyone was again, and the plots themselves stand alone fairly well. In this one, we’re not talking a cargo mission gone wrong but a threat against the whole universe, and Eva, rather than getting herself into trouble, has been specifically requested. It’s a fun way to change things up after two books of the crew sort of blundering into issues unintentionally, and it leads to a story that’s completely action-packed – it really never lets up after the first few chapters!

While this isn’t the world’s most character-development-y series, and this book perhaps least of all, every member of the crew aisre great fun to spend time with, from the exhausted, sweary captain to the psychic cats, who are very realistically cattish – and who finally get a real chance to shine in this adventure! Without giving too much away, this is a very satisfying ending to the trilogy that suits the tone of the series perfectly – it’s sweet and funny in equal measure, with plenty of promise of further adventures whether written or unwritten.

So if you’re looking for some sci-fi that feels more like an action movie than a thought experiment, with so much action your adrenaline will be as high as Eva’s, this is definitely worth your time. It’s great to see the sillier side of the genre sometimes! Four out of five cats.

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