A brand-new space fantasy novel from master world-builder Valerie Valdes! A refugee with a secret, a dangerous foe, and a road trip that could either save a planet or start a war. 

Where peace is lost, may we find it.

Five years ago, Kelana Gardavros lost everything in the war against the Pale empire. Now Kel Garda is just another refugee living on the edge of an isolated star system. No one knows she was once a member of an Order whose military arm was disbanded and scattered across the galaxy. And no one knows that if her enemies found her, they might destroy the entire world to get rid of her.

Where peace is broken, may we mend it.

Kel’s past intrudes in the form of a long-dormant Pale war machine, suddenly reactivated. If the massive automaton isn’t stopped, at best it will carve a swath of devastation that displaces thousands of people. At worst, it will kill every sentient creature on the planet.

Where we go, may peace follow.

When two strangers offer to deactivate the machine for a price, Kel and a young friend agree to serve as their guides. The journey through swamps infested with predators and bandits is bad enough, but can they survive more nefarious dangers along the way? And will Kel’s fear of revealing her secrets doom the very people she’s trying to protect?

Where we fall, may peace rise.

About the author(s)

Valerie Valdes’s work has been published in Nightmare Magazine, Uncanny Magazine, and the anthologies She Walks in Shadows, and Time Travel Short Stories. She is a graduate of the Viable Paradise workshop and lives in Miami, Florida with her husband and children.



“There are big, exciting alien battles but also delightful psychic cats who prowl around La Sirena Negra. Valdes hits the perfect comedic tone, giving Eva equal parts snark and heart and filling the ship with fun supporting characters. The quest for the mechs provides lots of great action sequences with SF weaponry on strange planets. A comedic SF adventure that delivers on all three fronts.” — Kirkus Reviews on Fault Tolerance

“Valdes seamlessly incorporates backstory throughout, making this installment friendly to newcomers looking for an adventure reminiscent of Transformers and Voltron. Returning readers will be delighted to reunite with the crew as Eva, her psychic cats, and her found family are pushed to confront ever-greater dangers in the lead-up to a thrilling climax. It’s as unconventional, tongue-in-cheek, and rip-roaring as fans expect.” — Publishers Weekly on Fault Tolerance

“Valdes sprinkles humor and sarcasm liberally, bringing levity to the storyline. The plot moves briskly, with enough momentum to keep readers entertained from start to finish. Valdes blends found family, adventure, and humor to end a fun trilogy on a high note.” — New York Journal of Books on Fault Tolerance

“Jam-packed with weird aliens, mysterious artifacts, and lovable characters... Eva and her family are Latinx and often include un-italicized Spanish in their dialogue, a rare find in a genre that usually uses whiteness as the default. A tremendous good time and an impressive debut.” — Kirkus Reviews (starred review) on Chilling Effect

“Featuring memorable Cuban-descended characters, this engaging space opera debut delivers a story that dances between hilarity and seriousness, with all the joy and frustration psychic cats can bring to the mix.” — Library Journal (starred review) on Chilling Effect