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Megan E. O'Keefe

Autor/a de Velocity Weapon

17+ obres 1,081 Membres 49 Ressenyes

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Inclou el nom: Megan O'Keefe


Obres de Megan E. O'Keefe

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Up and Coming: Stories by the 2016 Campbell-Eligible Authors (2016) — Col·laborador, algunes edicions23 exemplars
Shimmer 2015: The Collected Stories (2016) — Col·laborador — 4 exemplars


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Megan E. O'Keefe was raised amongst journalists, and as soon as she was able joined them by crafting a newsletter which chronicled the daily adventures of the local cat population. She has worked in both arts management and graphic design, and spends her free time tinkering with anything she can get her hands on.

Megan lives in the Bay Area of California. She's won the Gemmell Morningstar Award for her fantasy debut, Steal the Sky, and is represented by Sam Morgan.



It was just a handful of months ago that I had the opportunity to read and review the first book in this new, amazing series by Megan O’Keefe, The Blighted Stars, so I was beyond excited in discovering that Book 2, The Fractured Dark, was going to follow closely on the heels of its predecessor.

A brief recap of the first book: humanity has reached toward the stars and spread on colony worlds and space stations, ruled by a conglomerate of five families, Mercator being the most powerful thanks to the mining of relkatite, a substance used both in power sources and in the physical enhancement pathways humans have become dependent on. The intensive mining, however, seems to directly connect to the expansion of the shroud, a fungal infestation that kills all life on those planets and the Conservationist movement is attempting to put a stop to such intensive mining, but with little success. Naira Sharp, formerly the bodyguard of family ruler Aecelus Mercator, and now a fervent Conservationist, finds herself on one such blighted world together with Tarquin, Aecelus’ son, and the two of them discover that a far worse danger looms over humanity and forge an alliance to face the threat.

As The Fractured Dark opens, Naira, Tarquin and their allies have been living on Earth (the first world to fall victim to the shroud) planning their next moves against the encroaching danger represented by canus, the agent employed in relkatite mining whose spread seems to continue unopposed. The relationship between them is somewhat strained, since Naira’s last reprinting (the transfer of consciousness into a new body) erased the last few weeks of her memories and she does not remember their budding romance, although she has constant flashes of… something she cannot put her finger on. But more pressing matters require the group’s attention and they embark on dangerous missions that will test their mettle and their determination to put a stop to canus’ encroaching advance - no matter the cost.

This second book in the series raises the already high stakes inherited from book 1, while expanding our knowledge of this universe and building on the characterization: where the first installment mostly kept the readers on the newly discovered world named Cradle Six, here we move from planetary settings to space stations to ships, following the different narrative threads at the core of this story and adding a few strokes of political intrigue to the mix. Where this varying focus helps readers to better understand the background in which the series is set, it also affects the pacing that here feels less smooth than the tightly managed sequences in The Blighted Stars. Still, the looming danger represented by the canus infection, and its repercussions on the future of humanity, acted as the foundation for this segment of the story just as the mystery at its root was for the first installment, so that the keen sense of impending doom that colors the characters’ actions serves the story well in keeping the narrative flow moving forward, though at a somewhat less hair-raising pace than before.

As far as characters are concerned, we learn more about Naira’s past and the events that shaped her into the person she presently is, and here we indeed see her as that person: where before her consciousness was inhabiting someone else’s “print”, therefore forcing her to adapt her interactions with other people to the individual she pretended to be, here she is herself - body and mind - and while some of her vulnerabilities are still present, she is totally free to fully show her true nature, that of a strong woman gifted with a steely determination tempered by a deep capacity for affection. And of course that means Tarquin - whose journey from a sheltered, bookish scion of the universe’s most powerful family to a warrior ready to do whatever is necessary to safeguard humanity’s future is not an easy one: he might not be as callous as the rest of his family, but he still needs to question many of the privileges he unthinkingly enjoyed until now, and this road is littered with pitfalls and false steps.

I appreciated the slow-burn romance between Naira and Tarquin in The Blighted Stars and I was curious to se how the setback from Naira’s loss of the memories from the events on Cradle Six would affect the relationship: it was fascinating to see, here, how they managed to connect again and re-build what they had lost, overcoming the obstacles that the events set on their path, but at some point it seemed as if every potential problem in their pairing (he a high-ranking member of the establishment, she a wanted terrorist, not to mention their different social extractions) was swept under the rug, with little of no raising of eyebrows once their attachment was made public. It might be just me, but it rang contrived to my ears, and those sections of the story slightly spoiled my enjoyment of it.

And since I just mentioned one of my main “troubles” with The Fractured Dark, I need to list the other one: Fletcher Demarco. This character was briefly introduced in the first book: he’s the Mercators’ finalizer, a sort of highly skilled torturer/assassin who in the past was Naira’s lover. Here he’s further fleshed out and turns out to be a prominent player in the chain of events, and as such he represents one of the forces of evil in the overall story, but unfortunately he’s depicted more like a ludicrously gloating, mustache-twirling villain rather than a nasty opponent to be reckoned with, which in my opinion defeats the purpose of his presence.

These are however minor annoyances in the course of a very enjoyable, compelling read that more than once kept me on the edge of the seat thanks to the high-stakes battle waged against the parasitic canus, to the personal and moral dilemmas facing the characters and the thrilling uncertainty offered by the many elements in motion in this story. At the end of The Fractured Dark one battle might be won, but the war is far from over, and my hope is that the final installment in this trilogy will arrive as swiftly as this one, because waiting for the resolution will not be so easy….
… (més)
SpaceandSorcery | Hi ha 1 ressenya més | Nov 2, 2023 |
I received the eARC from NetGalley in exchange for a review. It is book 2 in a series where I have not read book 1. The story is space opera, where people that can afford it can have a new body after their old one is killed, using an uploaded psyche, but they have to be careful that they don't exist simultaneously - that way lies madness. There is also an (alien?) infection that causes degradation of bodies and minds, and another (alien?) infection that may counteract it...

Did I enjoy this book? Not really, as it took me a while to get into it and I found the mosaic nature of the writing rather confusing. The story is told from different points in time based on the viewpoint of not quite the same person - which makes the protagonist come across as an unreliable narrator. The two infections also caused confusion as one has a cordyceps-like effect.

Was it well written? Yes, there was nothing to complain about, although I find mosaic/braided narratives a bit hard to follow.

Would I read more? Probably not, I'm not that wild about space opera these days, and this was enough of a chore to read without wanting more of the same.

Would I recommend it? Tricky... I think this may not be to everyone's taste, so I would have to know people's likes and dislikes first.
… (més)
Maddz | Hi ha 1 ressenya més | Oct 30, 2023 |
I put this up for a 5-star because I think everybody should read this series and honestly the ups and down to the turns was fantastic
jdesjardins | Hi ha 5 ressenyes més | Oct 9, 2023 |
This book was a "mystery date" book I got as a present and honestly, I wouldn't have read it because of the banner on the top of the book. High expectation is an understatement with stating Steampunk and Firefly, and I will lived up to this statement wholeheartedly. It started off a little slow while story building but it picked up steam to the point you felt like you were on a rollercoaster going downward while sprialing out of control. The characters are well thought out, the environment is breathtaking and the storytelling is spot on.

I look forward to the next book in the series, esp after the ending of this one.
… (més)
jdesjardins | Hi ha 6 ressenyes més | Oct 9, 2023 |



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