I was surprised and pleased to see that Elizabeth Moon has continued her VATTA’S WAR quintet with a sequel series called VATTA’S PEACE. I read all of VATTA’S WAR (Trading in Danger, Marque and Reprisal, Engaging the Enemy, Command Decision, Victory Conditions) and even though I rated each book with only 3 or 3.5 stars, due to them being fairly basic space opera, I truly enjoyed the characters and story. To use a quote from my review of Victory Conditions, I’ll say that VATTA’S WAR “has been a solidly entertaining story with appealing characters and an unpredictable plot but it never quite pulls itself past its classification of ‘space opera.’”
This new series, VATTA’S PEACE, also stars Grand Admiral Kylara Vatta. Based on the cover art of the two books that are so far out and/or forthcoming for VATTA’S PEACE, Cold Welcome (2017) and Into the Fire (2018), you’d think maybe she’s had a makeover (or at least some collagen injections into her lips), but she seems just like the old Ky to me and, in fact, little time as passed since we saw her last in Victory Conditions.
As the story opens, Ky is in a shuttle and reluctantly on her way to visit her Aunt Grace (of the famous fruit cakes) on her home planet of Slotter Key. Ky needs to sign some legal papers having to do with Vatta Enterprises, the family business. But before they land, there’s an explosion and the shuttle crash-lands into an icy sea. With her family and friends thinking she may be dead but determined to know for sure, Ky takes charge of the small group of survivors. As they battle harsh elements, deadly sea creatures, and starvation, they uncover evidence of sabotage, covert operations, and a traitor among them.
Almost the entire plot of Cold Welcome occurs on sea, on land, and even underground, a big change for the VATTA books. I wouldn’t call this “space opera” anymore. The story is entertaining and often exciting, though there are some parts that are slow (especially the ending) and some of the many new characters are hard to distinguish from each other. Most of the excitement occurs not as space battles, but as struggle for survival, interpersonal drama, and small and large mysteries to solve. A few of the events are a little hard to believe in, such as the inability of Ky’s family and friends to mount an effective rescue mission.
While reading I wished that I had remembered more details from VATTA’S WAR because the past history is important. It’s been over 4 years since I read those books and some of it didn’t stick. I’d say, therefore, that Cold Welcome isn’t the best place to start with Ky’s story — you’ll want to read VATTA’S WAR first.
The discoveries that Ky and her colleagues make during Cold Welcome are intriguing and I look forward to finding out what they mean in the next book, Into the Fire. I’m listening to the audio versions of VATTA’s PEACE. Brittany Pressley does a very nice job with the narration of Cold Welcome which is 14.25 hours long. She give an energetic and lively performance and handles all of the characters well. I will definitely choose this format for Into the Fire, which will be available in February 2018.
Vatta’s Peace — (2017- ) Nebula Award–winning author Elizabeth Moon makes a triumphant return to science fiction with a thrilling series featuring Kylara Vatta, the daring hero of her acclaimed Vatta’s War sequence. After nearly a decade away, Nebula Award–winning author Elizabeth Moon makes a triumphant return to science fiction with this installment in a thrilling new series featuring the daring hero of her acclaimed Vatta’s War sequence. Summoned to the home planet of her family’s business empire, space-fleet commander Kylara Vatta is told to expect a hero’s welcome. But instead she is thrown into danger unlike any other she has faced and finds herself isolated, unable to communicate with the outside world, commanding a motley group of unfamiliar troops, and struggling day by day to survive in a deadly environment with sabotaged gear. Only her undeniable talent for command can give her ragtag band a fighting chance. Yet even as Ky leads her team from one crisis to another, her family and friends refuse to give up hope, endeavoring to mount a rescue from halfway around the planet—a task that is complicated as Ky and her supporters find secrets others will kill to protect: a conspiracy infecting both government and military that threatens not only her own group’s survival but her entire home planet.