REVIEWS #43 and #44 | “Honor Among Thieves” & “Honor Bound” by Rachel Caine & Ann Aguirre

Title: “Honor Among Thieves”

Author: Rachel Caine and Ann Aguirre

Pages (hardcover): 467 pages

Original Publishing Date: 13 February 2018

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

“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 of 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.

Trigger/Content warnings for the novel:

  • drug use and abuse
  • gore
  • violence
  • blood

Representation in the novel:

  • black girl MC
  • Brazilian girl MC
  • Chinese girl side character

⭐⭐⭐⭐ .5
4.5/5 stars

I know going into this book that sentient alien ships were a “thing” in science fiction, so I was not sure I was going to like them. But, y’all, I am a full-on Nadim supporter now: I love him with all my heart. And honestly? I love all these characters, too.

Honor Among Thieves is a young adult science fiction novel following Zara Cole, a teenaged girl living in the slums of New Detroiet. After being picked as an Honor, a person who teams up with giant sentient alien ships called Leviathan to travel space, Zara finds herself being whisked away from all she has ever known. She teams up with Beatriz, a Brazilian girl, and Nadim, the young Leviathan they are in charge of navigating. However, as more time goes by, the three realize that the Tour (their journey through space) is actually hiding things from Leviathans and human alike.

Let me just say that I love the characters. Zara is unlikable and does not trust easily. She is irritable and wants to be left alone most of the time. Nadim is the naive Leviathan on his first tour, and he wants to learn everything about humans. Bea is shy and not as confident in her abilities, but she does the best she can. They all grow throughout the novel — Zara learns to trust, Nadim learns not to be so naive, and Bea learns to be more confident in herself — and I loved being witness to it.

Tied to that, the plot kept itself moving. While the beginning was a tad slow for my taste, it did not take long to pick up. Since it has been a month or two since I read this, I cannot remember exactly what has happened, but it had me hooked. A lot of it was character-focused, I believe, which I absolutely love. But it was also fast-paced? Not quire sure how that works, but I will not question it.

And, oof, the narration. I know not everyone likes the perspective of the unlikeable “edgy” protagonists, so I would not suggest this book if you are not a fan of 1st person POV from an unlikable character’s perspective. But if you do? I think you would love it. The reader is inside Zara’s head the whole time, and it is a wonderful experience. On top of that, there are these little “intermission” chapters that are interview transcripts or journal articles/book chapters about certain things within the world. They allow the reader to have greater insight on whatever is going on, which I think is cool.

Overall? I loved Honor Among Thieves, and that is coming from someone who usually does not read science fiction.

Title: “Honor Bound”

Author: Rachel Caine and Ann Aguirre

Pages (hardcover): 467 pages

Original Publishing Date: 19 February 2019

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

“Savvy criminal turned skilled Leviathan pilot Zara Cole finds new friends and clashes with bitter enemies in the second book of this action-packed series from New York Times bestselling authors Rachel Caine and Ann Aguirre that’s perfect for fans of The 100 and The Fifth Wave.

“Zara Cole was a thief back on Earth, but she’s been recently upgraded to intergalactic fugitive. On the run after a bloody battle in a covert war that she never expected to be fighting, Zara, her co-pilot Beatriz, and their Leviathan ship Nadim barely escaped the carnage with their lives.

“Now Zara and her crew of Honors need a safe haven, far from the creatures who want to annihilate them. But they’ll have to settle for the Sliver: a wild, dangerous warren of alien criminals. The secrets of the Sliver may have the power to turn the tide of the war they left behind—but in the wrong direction.

“Soon Zara will have to make a choice: run from the ultimate evil—or stand and fight.”

Trigger/Content warnings for the novel:

  • gore
  • violence
  • character death

Representation in the novel:

  • black girl MC
  • Brazilian girl MC
  • Chinese girl side character
  • (the beginnings of a) polyamorous relationship
  • side character uses neopronouns

⭐⭐⭐⭐ .5
4.5/5 stars

Note: This mini-review may contain small spoilers for Honor Among Thieves. Do not read past this point if you do not want to be spoiled whatsoever.

Here I was thinking, “Honor Bound won’t be better than Honor Among Thieves. Second books in a series usually pale in comparison to the first.” For once, I am so glad that I was wrong.

Honor Bound picks up right after Honor Among Thieves, with Nadim and Typhon, another Leviathan, both injured, along with four other HOnors Zara and Bea met along the way. With the two Leviathan severely injured, the Honors have few options. In the ned, they decide to go to the Sliver (and not the Silver, which I kept reading it as), a distant planet full of rogues, criminals, and thieves. There, they find something even bigger and quickly become sucked into something unexpected.

Again, characters? Absolutely love them. Of course, Zara, Beatriz, and Nadim are still around, but there are also Typhon and his Honors, as well as the two other Honors that lost their Leviathan. It was nice to see everyone’s interactions and, again, to see them develop throughout the novel. They all learn to trust one another (or at least try to), and I especially love seeing the developing trust and relationship between the Leviathans and their Honors. They trust one another explicitly, and I love seeing them all together. There also seems to be the beginnings of a polyamorous relationship between three of the characters near the end of the novel. I will not spoil it and say who, but I totally support it and hope it actually happens.

I still love the narration. Zara is just such a good character to be in the head of, and it was enjoyable to read. The reader sees her debate with herself and others because, at the end of the day, she is trying to do what she thinks is best for Nadim. And for everyone else, too, I suppose. To see that conflict was interesting, thinking about what she was like in the beginning of the first book and how she progressed to where she is now.

The plot itself was…interesting. It does not seem like a lot happens through a good 75% of the novel, but I did not mind. It was still fun to read through. However, it is kinda weird: not a lot happens, it seems like, but a lot did at the same time. I think that this was mostly due to how I read it: I had a 19-hour drive down to Florida last month, and I read it all during the ride back. I felt that this book sets up the next one nicely. However, there was a side plot including characters from Honor Among Thieves that… I am not so sure about. It was mentioned in the first book, but it did not pop back up until the last portion of Honor Bound. I can see where it would lead, and I do not think I would like it. I hope my mind is changed with the third book, though.

I loved this one, and I cannot wait for the next book. Next year cannot come fast enough!

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9 thoughts on “REVIEWS #43 and #44 | “Honor Among Thieves” & “Honor Bound” by Rachel Caine & Ann Aguirre

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