Title: Prime Deceptions
Author: Valerie Valdes
Series: Chilling Effect #2
Release Date: 17/9/2020
E.S.C.A.P.E Score: 44
(see below for breakdown)
I received a free eARC copy from Orbit , via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
The lovably flawed crew of La Sirena Negra and their psychic cats return in this fast-paced and outrageously fun science-fiction novel, in which they confront past failures and face new threats in the far reaches of space from the author of the critically acclaimed Chilling Effect.
Captain Eva Innocente and the crew of La Sirena Negra find themselves once again on the fringe of populated space—and at the center of a raging covert war. When Eva’s sister asks for help locating a missing scientist, promises of a big paycheck and a noble cause convince Eva to take the job despite lingering trust issues.
With reluctant assistance from her estranged mother, Eva and her crew follow the missing scientist’s trail across the universe, from the costume-filled halls of a never-ending convention to a dangerous bot-fighting arena. They ultimately find themselves at the last place Eva wants to see again—Garilia—where she experienced her most shameful and haunting failure.
To complete her mission and get paid, Eva must navigate a paradise embroiled in a rebellion, where massive forests and pristine beaches hide psychic creatures and pervasive surveillance technology. Can she find her quarry while avoiding the oppressive local regime, or will she be doomed to repeat past mistakes when her dark deeds come to light?
You can find my thoughts on Book 1 of this series HERE
This is SO much fun. Right from this start this is jam packed with action, it doubles down on the silly, the sass and the the psychic cat content compared to the first book in the series. We still get the awesome characters, and the vast universe building. I think i enjoyed this one more as while we still got the taste of all the different worlds in this universe there was more of a focused plot. We got a lot more information into Eva’s past which had been heavily hinted at in the previous book.
I really liked the dynamics between the characters. We have the juxtaposition of Eva’s blood family and her found family and how they respond to the revelations of her past, all while trying to reunite another family. I think we got a lot more insight into Eva and Pink and there shared past, with subtle trans rep from Pink. I really adored their banter back and forth, but also the heavy influence on how past and current events effected the characters mental health. There is a really strong message of taking care of your mental health which I think is fantastic. There was always a pause, to check in, to debrief and to deal which didn’t effect the pace of the plot. I also liked Eva’s personal growth in this, it was clear she learnt from events of the first book and didn’t slip back into old ways in this one but continued to develop.
The world building in both books is just fantastic. While in the initial chapters, like the first book we jumped between a few worlds only getting glimpses and snippets of the worldbuilding while being left with the impression there was so much more we didnt get to see or experience. This book settles us on the main world of Garillia fairly quickly and does a vast amount of world building, from their various species, history, social structure and cultural practices and there place within the galactic commerce structure. It was just great to learn about. I loved that we got to play tourist for a bit.
To me this plot excelled where Chilling Effect was a little lacking and was a far better adventure. I was far more invested in all the characters and how they individually fared from the antics. Its still filled with all the playful loving jibes at Sci-fi. We get cosplay conventions on a moon of Pluto, Robot Wars, heists, hijinks and have I mentioned the rather stubborn psychic cat? So many aliens all with detailed descriptions, cultures and worlds, some very Pokemon-esq overtones and that Mass Effect like feeling that I loved from the first book. This is fast paced and most importantly fun read that i was really needing. I am really interested in where the series will go next.