mardi 25 mars 2014

Honour's Knight by Rachel Bach

"You said no?" the girl shrieked, crushing the letter in her fist. "You didn't even think you should ask me first?"
Following the events of Fortune’s Pawn, we find Devi Morris, the kick-ass mercenary who is the hero of the Paradox trilogy, recovering from a mysterious attack that has left her a fellow merc dead and some major holes in her own memory. As she struggles with her own issues (which include seeing things no one else can such as a black stain spreading across her hands whenever she gets angry), Devi tries to make sense of the people she is serving with and to close the gap in her memories.

Rachel Bach had been on my radar for a while through her alter-ego, Rachel Aaron and The Spirit Thief series. Although I have yet to actually read that fantasy series, I did read Ms. Aaron’s book on her writing process 2,000 to 10,000 and loved her voice as well as her great advice. So when I read on her blog that she had a new series coming out, that it was a self-contained trilogy to be released over a six-month period and that it was a space opera starring a mercenary... I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it!

I thoroughly enjoyed Fortune’s Pawn, which reads like a space opera revisited by an urban fantasy author. The collision of tropes worked a treat and when the story broke off on a HUGE cliffhanger, I couldn’t wait to get back to Devi’s weird, wonderful, complicated universe.

Honour’s Knight does not lose any of the momentum that Ms. Bach ended Fortune’s Pawn with. Instead, she picks up all of the story threads and launches them into orbit. I was a little worried that the entire book was going to be Devi trying to get her memories back, but thankfully that specific storythread was nicely wrapped up relatively quickly, allowing the book to explore a lot of interesting territory. We learn a lot about what is actually going on with Devi’s mysterious employer, the huge galaxy-wide threat he is facing and the lengths he is willing to go to fight off that threat, while putting Devi into a complicated moral conundrum – just how far is too far when it comes to sacrifying the few for the many?

Devi herself is put through the wringer in this one, from her complicated relationship with cook Rupert (a romance that is handled extremely well and very believably considering what each of them are willing and able to do the other as the story progresses without a pat solution at the end), to the shattering of her belief system as we get a glimpse at the deified royalty of Paradox mentioned in the last books. As all of this is going on, though, Devi continues to kick some serious ass, which is one of the great successes of this trilogy and a wonderful ‘steal’ from the urban fantasy genre: the depiction of a strong, powerful female character. Devi is not someone anyone should ever piss-off.

Alliances shift, surprises are sprung and things end with Devi and Rupert alone in the unknown, the book ending on another cliffhanger nicely setting up the third book, Heaven’s Queen, which is due in April. Honour’s Knight took everything that worked in the first book and shifted it into warp speed, continuing a fantastic space opera trilogy. I gave this 4 strange blue invisible bugs out of 5.
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