Review: Prime Deceptions

Prime Deceptions by Valerie Valdes

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Our favorite Cuban spaceship captain is back and I enjoyed it even more than the first book. Now that Eva is her new self and knows there isn’t any more lying to her crew, they can move on to more fun adventures. This book is essentially one long quest to find a specific person and Eva and crew’s attempts to figure out where that person is.

We learn more about Vakar (not sure about the spelling since I listened to it) and Pink. Even Sue gets some character growth. Really, the only person who still remains one-dimensional is Minh. It’s the only knock I have on this book. Usually in found family spaceship novels we get to know and love the whole crew, but really the only character trait Minh gets is that she’s a renown bot fighter. In the last book we met Eva’s scoundrel of a father. This book introduces us to her mother, who works in the government’s anti-corruption office.

Valdes continues to be playful with the reader. Each chapter title is a reference to something from SF culture. (My favorite was Cowboy Bebop reference – “3, 2, 1 let’s go!”. Minh’s arc seems to be a reference to the old TV show Battlebots. Also, a huge portion of the plot revolves around this universe’s version of Pokemon. (They even have the “Pokemon” battle each other) This lead to my second-favorite call-out when Eva’s mom screams out “We have to catch them all!” (and it makes perfect sense in context) There are also plot-relevant references to the Star Trek (and other shows’) policy of non-interference with first contact planets.

What Valdes does so well in this book is to write a love letter to SF without it becoming parody, too meta, or too self-referential. It’s a plot that stands well on its own and thrives on the character growth and interactions while also playing with the references and tropes we all love. If you enjoy SF and want something that is both different and familiar, this series seems to be a great place to dive in.

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