cover image Where Peace Is Lost

Where Peace Is Lost

Valerie Valdes. Harper Voyager, $19.99 trade paper (400p) ISBN 978-0-06-308593-0

Grudging allies join forces to save a planet in this fun but familiar ecological space opera from Valdes (the Chilling Effect trilogy). Exiled knight Kelana “Kel” Gardavros, the former First Sword of a now obsolete Order, lives in hiding on swamp planet Loth, having given up her status as protector of her people in exchange for peace. When an errant war machine threatens Loth, Kel leaves her village to investigate with her naive teen friend, Lunna, in tow. Along the way, the pair encounter mysterious off-worlders Savvy and Dare, who claim to be able to deactivate the machine, and team up more out of suspicion than trust. When Kel discovers that the Pale empire, her erstwhile enemies, have broken the peace treaty that disbanded the Order, she must choose between staying hidden and risking those she cares about to fight back. The otherwise pacy narrative frequently pauses for bouts of exposition, and the thematic contemplations on justice and conservation remain frustratingly shallow. While this sci-fi adventure certainly entertains, readers looking for depth will be underwhelmed. Agent: Quressa Robinson, Folio Literary. (Aug.)