This is one of the strongest science fiction books I’ve read! Great characters; gripping plot and a sentient spaceship with a personality of his own! Keep reading to check out my review on Honor Among Thieves by Rachel Caine and Ann Aguirre.
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books | Date: 2018 | Genre: Science fiction/Young Adult
Plot: Petty criminal Zara Cole has a painful past that’s made her stronger than most, which is why she chose life in New Detroit instead moving with her family to Mars. In her eyes, living inside a dome isn’t much better than a prison cell.
Still, when Zara commits a crime that has her running scared, jail might be exactly where she’s headed. Instead Zara is recruited into the Honors, an elite team of humans selected by the Leviathan—a race of sentient alien ships—to explore the outer reaches of the universe as their passengers.
Zara seizes the chance to flee Earth’s dangers, but when she meets Nadim, the alien ship she’s assigned, Zara starts to feel at home for the first time. But nothing could have prepared her for the dark, ominous truths that lurk behind the alluring glitter of starlight.
I received Honor Among Thieves from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Honor Among Thieves Review
Both Rachel Caine and Ann Aguirre are new authors for me. Both the synopsis and strapline of Honor Among Thieves caught my eye though and I gave it a go.
I’ll say straight up that I’ll be continuing the series: I loved this book. It was unique compared to other science-fiction books I’ve read, had a gripping plot, great characters and developing platonic relationships showing a strong friendship can be as appealing as romance in a young adult book.
Zara was a fantastic protagonist. After a tumultuous upbringing due to an abusive father, she breaks away from normality and chooses to live in the rough area, stealing to get by. When she is chosen to be an Honored – one of the hundred people who venture out into space on a sentient ship known as the Leviathan – she’s certain this has all been a mistake. Zara is confrontational, passionate and doesn’t take anything lying down.
But out in the stars, she finds bonds of friendship that she’d never experienced before. She makes firm friends with her shipmate, Bea – initially a timid and shy who’s both homesick and space-sick but soon proves herself a bad-ass in her own right. But deeper than her friendship with Beatriz is her bond with their ship, Nadim.
I’ve always enjoyed the concept of soul-bonds, although it is normally a trait found in fantasy rather than science-fiction. But the connection between Zara and Nadim was carefully explored, allowing both the characters (ship and girl) and the readers to discover this bond together, with no one being certain how far it should go.
“Breathe,” I said, giving her a little shake. “I need you big, sexy brain. Come on, Bea. We need a Plan E.”
“You must have already used Plans F and U.” She got out with a touch of sass.Honor Among Thieves by Rachel Caine and Ann Aguirre
The first third of the book gets to know Zara’s character and sees her start to adapt to her new life. But don’t get lulled into a false sense of security: there is danger everywhere; from Nadim himself falling into a deep sleep and shutting off life-support, to a tyrannous older Leviathan who bullies Nadim in a violent and aggressive manner.
But just as the crew starts to deal with one threat, another emerges, this time from a different species altogether – one Zara doesn’t know how to fight, regardless of how many guns she straps on to look like a space pirate.
This is a fun, fast-paced book with escalating tension and vivid descriptions of the creatures both known and unknown. It explores humanity – kept in the dark about other species due to a violent nature – and how someone previously isolated could develop bonds so deep there is nothing she will not to do to protect those she cares about.
The characterisations of all the characters – even the bullies – are complex and deep and you’re rooting for the heroes from the beginning, empathising with Zara’s need to protect others even at cost to herself.
An enjoyable young adult novel that avoids predictable tropes of the genre. It provides a different premise than I’ve read before and you genuinely connect with these characters. If you’re looking for your next science-fiction read, I can’t recommend this enough.
Are you a science fiction fan? Does this sound like your kind of book?
Also in the series:
- Book Two: Honor Bound