Honor's Knight cover image

Joint Review – Honor’s Knight (Paradox #2) by Rachel Bach

Honor's Knight cover image

Publisher: Orbit
Publish Date: Out now
How we got this book: ARC from the publisher via Netgalley and purchased

(Warning! Blurb contains spoilers!)

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’d 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 this time, trouble keeps finding her. She sees ghostly creatures no one else can, the inexplicable black stain on her hands keeps getting bigger, and she can’t seem to stop getting into compromising situations with a man 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.
This blurb came from the author’s website.

E: About 3 or so months ago Has and I discovered Rachel Bach’s first installment of her Paradox Trilogy, Fortune’s Pawn and really enjoyed it. It reminded me of why I fell in love with SF/F as a young reader so I was super excited to take a look at the second installment. Not to mention Bach left things in a very interesting situation for Devi and her shipmates. I am very glad to say that I thought Bach stepped up the action, uncertainty, plots within plots, crossing and double crossing, not to mention ill-fated love and space travel in Honor’s Knight. I absolutely loved watching Devi work her way though things, put various pieces together, and generally wreck havoc to the plans of anyone around her.

Has: This was a fantastic follow-up to Fortune’s Pawn! I loved how Bach delved more deeply with the ongoing mystery which answered major questions and I was taken by surprise by some of the revelations as well. It was unexpected and full of twists and I enjoyed every moment. Bach succeeded in building up the tension and pacey action along with the intrigue and mystery. The tone and atmosphere of this series has a wonderful frenetic energy and that never really lets up, and this installment in the trilogy never suffered the middle book syndrome, which I loved!

I also enjoyed how Devi, who was questioning her sanity after her memory wipe in the previous book, was determined to carry on in questioning the events around her.

E: Like Has, I enjoyed Devi’s determination to plug the holes in her brain and try to make sense of what she saw versus what her mind was telling her. I also liked how she had certain standards which included protection of the innocent and the extent to which she would go as she tried to follow her standards. I thought this particular installment really had Devi growing up mentally and starting to view things beyond her dream of becoming a member of the elite mercenary guard. She was starting to learn how the universe fit together and that sometimes in the name of “humanity” deals were struck with the devil.

Has: Devi really has grown and developed from the cocky and self assured merc from the first book. The things she goes through and experience has cemented her morals and seeing the people she has looked up to and respected questioning their motives and reasons. I really liked that she started to become independent and critically think about the orders she was given and it showed how much she has evolved as a character. I loved that she still retained her confidence but she also used her wits to outwit the people around her, who wanted to use her for their own gains.

Another aspect of the book, that I really loved and kicked up a notch with the stakes and the tension was the romance with Rupert, the cook/right hand man of Captain Caldswell. After the memory wipe, Devi is left repulsed by the sight of him even though she is deeply drawn to Rupert. But Bach manages to heighten the tension between them despite the fact Devi’s stomach churns with nausea instead of butterflies whenever she is near him. but I really loved how Bach develops the love story between in the midst of a secret raging war. The romance was multidimensional, and I was glad to see Devi remaining true to herself with the way she handles the twists associated with Rupert which brought out some interesting surprises.

E: Oh yes, the twists involving Rupert were very impressive. The sheer amount of mental angst from both Devi and Rupert as they tried to do what was right, deal with outside interference, their mutual feelings, and SECRETS was very touching. I also thought the way Bach wove in the seemingly random introduction to this particular installment in the story very impressive. She answered some questions from Fortune’s Pawn but also raised several more that I am looking forward to seeing her answer in the last installment.

One of the things I love about SF/F/SFR is exploring new worlds and learning about aliens and their culture. I thought Honor’s Knight took that to a new level as Devi learned some things about her shipmates, their various cultures, different worlds, and some of the other creatures that inhabited the galaxy. Learning about some of their goals was also very fascinating because they play a major roll in the particular situations Devi has found herself encountering.

Has: I loved the world-building, this is a series that is full to the brim with pure imagination, of alien creatures that are otherworldly, beautiful as well scarily chilling. I did wish that Bach would explain more of the background details especially the psychic energy called plexmax which is unseen force in the universe, because there were still vague details explained about it. I also wished there was more expansion with the different worlds and societies such as the Terrans and the Parodoxians. I was intrigued on their differences and the conflict they had with each other, and it would have added a layer into the world-building.

However, Honor’s Knight definitely shined as a fabulous sequel that did not fall into the pitfalls of the middle book syndrome. The action, which never let up, was on the edge of seat and heightened the tension with style and pizzazz! The romance was a another wonderful element that deepened and expanded the characterisations of Rupert and Devi. But overall, this is fantastic space opera romp which has depth, fast pace action and a fantastic romance. I am on tenterhooks on how Devi will handle the predicament she is in and to save the galaxy – I can’t wait!

I give Honor’s Knight a B+

E: Like Has, I loved Bach’s world-building and combined with her memorable characters and action sequences I remained captivated. Like Devi I had no idea what was going to happen next even though I retained the memories of the closing events in the first installment. I ended up viewing this piece of the story as a tangled web with Devi gradually getting closer to the center as she circled around the different radii each containing their own piece of the truth. I can’t wait to see what happens next with Devi, Rupert, and the others she has encountered during her current contract. I did wish Devi contacted her informant from the first installment so hopefully he will reappear in the final book because I think he might have a few key pieces of information.

I was really glad to see Bach didn’t fall prey to the middle book slump but was able to keep the plot developing, the intrigue building, the internal and external conflict with Devi and Rupert strong, and therefore my attention. The last installment Heaven’s Queen is so on my auto-buy list.

I give Honor’s Knight an A

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