Marshall Ryan Maresca
published: 9th February 2021
From the author of the Maradaine saga comes a new dieselpunk fantasy novel that explores a chaotic city on the verge of revolution.
Ziaparr: a city being rebuilt after years of mechanized and magical warfare, the capital of a ravaged nation on the verge of renewal and self-rule. But unrest foments as undercaste cycle gangs raid supply trucks, agitate the populace and vandalize the city. A revolution is brewing in the slums and shantytowns against the occupying government, led by a voice on the radio, connected through forbidden magic.
Wenthi Tungét, a talented cycle rider and a loyal officer in the city patrol, is assigned to infiltrate the cycle gangs. For his mission against the insurgents, Wenthi must use their magic, connecting his mind to Nália, a recently captured rebel, using her knowledge to find his way into the heart of the rebellion.
Wenthi’s skill on a cycle makes him valuable to the resistance cell he joins, but he discovers that the magic enhances with speed. Every ride intensifies his connection, drawing him closer to the gang he must betray, and strengthens Nália’s presence as she haunts his mind.
Wenthi is torn between justice and duty, and the wrong choice will light a spark in a city on the verge of combustion.
Galley provided by publisher
CWs: police brutality, violence
The Velocity of Revolution is one of those books that fully absorbs you. You pick it up, thinking you’ll only read a bit before bed, and an hour later, you finally pull yourself out of it reluctantly because it’s sucked you in that much. Reading this feels like I imagine being on myco — the drug in the book that links people together and enhances the world around them — would.
I will admit that this book and I got off to something of a rocky start. Not in the sense that I wasn’t sure I’d like it — I knew from the start that I would — but there was a lot of terminology and worldbuilding thrown at you. Yes, it was explained, but for whatever reason, my brain just refused to keep it straight. Even now, I’m not entirely sure I could tell you it all. There’s a ruling elite, and a caste system based on how much blood you share with that ruling elite (i.e. whether you have relatives belonging to there). I remain somewhat lost on all the names and just how the ruling elite came to be, with the wars and empires and everything.
But fortunately, it’s not a book where being unable to keep track of all the nitty-gritty is a huge problem. And once I stopped trying to, I sped through it. Really, my problem was not understanding it while reading the book, but remembering it.
In the book, Wenthi, a policeman of sorts and son of one of the ruling families, is sent undercover to infiltrate a rebel movement because, somehow, he is the only person who they cannot sense coming (for reasons that are explained in the book but require more exposition than this review is going for). Using myco, the drug I mentioned before, he is linked to a captured rebel so that he can use her knowledge in finding his way in.
This is a book that you expect to be fast-moving and full of action, and it really does deliver on that front. And this is where its intensity really works too — you feel as though you’re there on the back of the cycles with the characters. The stakes are high, the plot is rapid and full of twists and turns, and this is the primary reason why, once I got into it, I didn’t want to put it down. This, to me, is the best of fantasy.
But it wouldn’t be much use to have such a great plot if you didn’t also have great characters, which this book does in spades. It’s a book that switches back and forth between POVs. Primarily, you have Wenthi, who is infiltrating the revolution, but there’s also Nália, the rebel he is linked with, and a third POV belonging to one of the rebels he is infiltrating (and here my inability to remember names strikes again, but I did love her). You can’t help but love them all, even though you know Wenthi is there to betray them and bring them down.
So this is a book I would highly recommend you pick up when it releases because, trust me, you won’t want to miss out.