Honor Among Thieves, by Rachel Caine & Ann Aguirre, Katherine Tegen Books, Book Review

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Description:

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.

468 Pages

Expected Publication Date: February 13, 2018

Published by: Katherine Tegen Books

MY THOUGHTS:

I was provided with this arc in exchanged for an honest review.

I’ve read a LOT of science fiction book over the years, I’m even writing one, and when I saw that this book was about a ‘chosen one,’ I was a bit hesitant to read Honor Among Thieves.  I even started it, and then put it away because I just couldn’t get into it for some reason.

After getting through all my other ARCs, I picked up this book and tried again.  Well, I’m an idiot! Once I was able to sit and read a few chapters in a row, I was hooked. I have no idea what my problem was.  Moving on…

This is such a well-written book.  The plot is extraordinary, flowing from one transition to the next, smoothly building the tension and developing conflict.  The setting was intricately developed, drawing the reader into the environment surrounding the Protagonist both on earth and in space. Everything the Protagonist experienced was perfectly and clearly written and her responses, amazing, enticing and critical to the story development.  As the reader, you’re drawn into her personal conflicts, witness her flaws getting in her way and how her past is affecting her present. You learn how she became the way she is at the beginning of the book and watch her develop from there.

The Protagonist’s character development was bang on. I watched this damaged, uncontrollable, antagonistic young adult start off as someone who was desperate, broken and in need of something that seemed to remain just beyond her reach.  She transverses through the book as an unwanted ‘throwaway,’ ends up doing something that affects her life drastically and seeks out the only place she thought she’d feel safe.  It wasn’t. For some reason, a little unclear until the end, she is selected for a program that really shouldn’t have been for her. She has no choice but to accept or face another possibility that could be far worse.

At this point, I was getting a Hunger Game vibes.  This didn’t last long as the Protagonist is whisked off into space and into a place completely out of her comfort zone, if she really had one to start off with.  More characters are brought into play, the one most important is Nadim. Wow! He felt so real to me and the bond that develops between the Protagonist and Nadim is unbelievably fantastic. So much detail (which you need for science fiction), the experiences between Zara and Nadim were beautifully written.  I was right there with them, seeing and feeling all of what they felt. I love their bond and how it plays into the story.

Creating aliens that the reader can visualize is incredibly difficult but exclusively important when writing science fiction books. The Leviathan are such an extraordinary concept. Just how they are described is done well. The style of writing was reminiscent of H.G. Wells. Every last detail completely fleshed out and developed. Even the relationship between the Leviathan themselves, was superbly done.

The relationship between Protagonist and Nadim begins fragmented, flawed and moves quickly towards becoming whole and realistic, the author moving the story along smoothly showcasing the relationship’s development–its pros and cons; and, careful not to venture into the realm of ridiculous (this is sci fi after all). Nadim and those like him are fantastical creatures that you wish were real.

There is a ‘savior’ element of aliens coming to the aid of humans when they were about to destroy themselves, but there are also costs, consequences, and reasons that you learn about as the book progresses.  The connection between humans and aliens who are so physically different coming together spiritually/mentally to face challenges not experienced by humans until now… wow, that’s all I can say… wow!

There’s another ‘savior’ element where the Protagonist “saves the day.” But this is done not without the help of others and this factor is also written well. I’ve read many aliens save humans but for a devious reason books. This book is not that.

It’s a good chunky book, and I highly recommend that you read four or five chapters at a time to keep the story unfolding fairly and comprehensively, and not to let it sit for lengthy periods of time because this book is meant to be read in one sitting. You’ll disappear into an imagined possibility that will leave you wanting more.

The one common element YA readers want is a ‘quick read.’ This book is not meant to be that. If you love involved and creative science fiction, then this one is a good choice. The YA Protagonist has been fleshed out completely.  She is a fantastic, strong female character, a bit badass, a bit damaged, and truly one that science fiction readers will love.

The secondary characters are perfect for the Protagonist.  They are critical to the story, not just thrown in ‘cuz.’  They complete their roles of driving the Protagonist toward her goals, and help her achieve successful resolutions.  They too are well-developed, flawed and realistic, and I really enjoyed their own quirks and issues, and, learning more about them.

As a science fiction, this is relatively an easy read.

The only thing I didn’t like, was the ending.  It left too many questions unanswered and I wasn’t ready to give up this adventure yet.  I was that hooked. I will be reading the next book and I hope it does as good a job with these characters as what the first did.  This is going to be a high standard to match.

After a lengthy debate, I give this book:

5-Star-Logo-2

 

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