Sunday, February 9, 2014

REVIEW: Honor's Knight by Rachel Bach

Honor's Knight (Paradox, #2) Honor's Knight by Rachel Bach
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Every bit as good as book 1, and more; book 2 dazzled me. Every time I thought I knew a character or the situation, the book blasted me with new details and showed me how wrong I was and how little I knew. I know the saying “there are two sides to every story.” I knew it was the message the book was sending. Nevertheless, I still got my ass handed to me.

+ the plot

The book started off slow for me because I didn’t like following memory-wiped Devi. I hate to see beloved main characters in a helpless position. The inexplicable emotions, the strange floating creatures only she could see, the “dreams” she was having. Devi began to doubt her sanity. Who wouldn’t? Thankfully, the torment didn’t last long, and that was when the book really began for me.

Once she quickly regained her memory, she gained some answers from Caldswell. Hurray for answers! I LOVE IT when a series doesn’t make me wait for them. Those answers were the phantoms, those strange floating creatures only plasmex users could see. And somehow she could too, because she was not a plasmex user. The phantoms were invulnerable aliens who traveled around outer space, and occasionally a big one would effortlessly destroy a planet for no discernible reason. The human governments kept it a secret because imagine the panic. The fact that only plasmex users, less than a hundred in existence and very short-lived, could kill these phantoms? Panic.

Devi immediately realized it was the virus she contracted on the alien ghost ship back in book 1 that gave her the special sight. The virus also made her The Most Wanted Person In The Universe. It’s no exaggeration to say she could save the world or bring it to its end. It’s a fucking virus. Book 2 is about what Devi going to do with it as the only carrier. Cue moral choices. Lots of them.

The action was nonstop and BREATHTAKING. My pulse rate and mind was never at rest. I was constantly wondering how the fuck was Devi going to escape her predicament and what was she was going to do next. Every path seemed to be a death trap. One wrong move and BOOM, everyone dies. No do-over.

+ the characters

I loved Devi. Loved her. She was fucking tough as nails. The only time I thought she made a stupid was when she went to a Paradoxian noble for help after everything she had learned about the conspiracy with the phantoms. I swear, her Paradoxian loyalty will be the death of her. Thankfully, things quickly worked out. It was amazing to watch Devi make like a contortionist and pull a Houdini. Go, Devi!

I still don’t really care for Rupert, but I admit he’s growing on me. It helped that Devi immediately stopped being a lovestruck fool when her memory was restored and gave the bastard some deserved asskicking in more than one way.

Mabel being a warrior was a surprise because I should have seen it coming. I knew there was more to that overly cheery, super-competent mechanic. Nevertheless, she still remained an enigma like her cat. In book 1, I learned about Nova and Hyrek. In book 2, I learned about Basil, Ren, Caldswell, and Brenton. Now I understand why Basil is so perpetually cranky. Everything about Ren was tragic all around, and I was grateful the action-packed plot saved me from dwelling on the matter, along with all the other sad matters.

With Caldswell and Brenton, I couldn’t keep from thinking one was the bad guy and one was the good guy. It took me a while to learn that no matter how much I learned about these characters, I wasn’t going to ever get the “full story.” That for all my attempts to judge them and play god, I couldn’t. It didn’t feel right. Matters were so gray. Even loony Maat was sympathetic, and I trust her as far I could throw an elephant.

The only characters that didn’t have my sympathy were the war-loving, man-eating, slave-owning xith’cal race. I cannot imagine in any way they would be misunderstood.

Finally, Anthony. He wasn’t in the book, not even as a passing reference. In book 1, Anthony wanted to help Devi, and she cut him off. During her escape, I would have thought she contact him for help. But no, she went to a Paradoxian noble stranger. Ergh. Kind of a plot hole where Anthony is concerned.

+ the moral choices

Some examples: Is biological warfare ever acceptable? At what point is the cost of saving the world too high and inhumane? Could the cost ever include sacrificing your children? Sacrificing the few for the many, where does the line stop?

That last question was the one I thought about the most. I couldn’t help but feel the characters’ thought process, including lawful Caldswell’s, were distinctly American. To be specific, culturally individualistic. Sacrificing the few for the many, no matter how inhumane, is a no-brainer for some collectivistic cultures. I don’t know how to feel about the lack of representation of that ideology in the book and how the closest thing to such a representation are through the aliens. At any rate, I don’t envy the characters for the responsibilities they’re forced to bear.


I rate Honor’s Knight 4-stars for I really liked it. Book 2 was a thriller science fiction, and I was definitely thrilled. The series got EPIC. Please let the series ends well.

Review of book 1: Fortune's Pawn

Book Description

The rollicking sequel to Fortune's Pawn an action packed science fiction novel.

Devi Morris has a lot of problems. And not the fun, easy-to-shoot kind either. 

After a mysterious attack left her short several memories and one partner, she's determined to keep her head down, do her job, and get on with her life. But even though Devi's not actually looking for it trouble keeps finding her. She sees things no one else can, the black stain on her hands is growing, and she is entangled with the cook she's supposed to hate.

But when a deadly crisis exposes far more of the truth than she bargained for, Devi discovers there's worse fates than being shot, and sometimes the only people you can trust are the ones who want you dead.

Goodreads | Amazon

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