Review: Fortuna by Kristyn Merbeth (Nova Vita Protocol #1)

Fortuna by Kristyn Merbeth // VBC Review

Fortuna (The Nova Vita Protocol #1)
Kristyn Merbeth
Published: Nov. 5, 2019 (Orbit)
Purchase at: Amazon
Review Source: Copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Reviewed by: Amy

Rating (out of 5): 3.5 stars

From a young age the five Kaiser siblings have been instilled with the idea that you can only count on your family. In a family of smugglers, it’s pretty sound advice. That is, until oldest brother Corvus abandons them to fight in the civil war on his home planet of Titan.

At least, that’s how Scorpia Kaiser felt the day her older brother left without so much as a goodbye. But in the three years of his absence, Scorpia has taken over the captain’s seat, and she’s gunning for running the whole smuggling operation once their controlling and manipulative mother deigns to hand it over to her.

Except their mother has taken up a new mysterious job that leads the family right back to Titan, and Corvus. When the job goes completely, and unexpectedly, off the rails, Scorpia, Corvus, along with their siblings Lyre, Andromeda, and Apollo will have to learn how to trust one another again, and work together as a family, if they want to avoid a war of intergalactic proportions.

From the onset it’s clear that family will be the most important aspect of this story and, I’m assuming, this series. The point of view shifts between Corvus and Scorpia and, for the most part, I understand why Kristyn Merbeth made this decision. I believe that Corvus’s leaving impacted Scorpia the most – even if she’d would never outright admit that—as they were closest in age to one another.

The thing is, I just didn’t feel like we delved as far into the family dynamic as we should have. Trust me, there’s plenty to unpack about the Kaisers, there’s no way we could have gotten through it all in just this one book, but to put Corvus and Scorpia front and center and not fully deal with their issues in a more head-on way left me feeling a bit unsatisfied.

It takes a good chunk of setting up the world and the family before Corvus and Scorpia are even in the same space together. The anticipation for these two to come face to face after three years with no contact drives much of the first part of the book. When they do meet up again, they basically avoid the much-needed clearing of the air required to happen so they can actually work together cohesively. Otherwise it’s basically them running circles around each other. The good news is that when they do make some headway, those are the best parts of the book hands down.

I would say potentially Fortuna is a good setup and more will come, but I really want siblings Lyre, Apollo, and Andromeda to get their own time in the spotlight. If that happens, I fear the potential for other issues to get swept under the rug. It’s just one of those things we’ll have to wait and see how it plays out.

As far as the rest of the world, Kristyn Merbeth gives an interesting future that has an even more tantalizing history as to how it came to be. Complete with alien creatures who are seemingly extinct, but whose presence is still deftly felt throughout the galaxy. I look forward to—in addition to the family stuff—exploring this more in the next book as well.

Despite feeling like the story could have gone a little further with the siblings, I’m holding out hope we’ll get a good continuation with the next book. Plus, mysterious alien lifeforms!

Sexual content: Kissing; references to sex

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