HONOR AMONG THIEVES
Written by Rachel Caine and Ann Aguirre
Published by Katherine Tegan Books, February 13, 2018
My star rating: 3.75 stars
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. Find it on Goodreads
After finishing this book I’m not entirely sure what or how to feel. On one hand, this book has so much going for it. It’s one of the most unique YA science fiction premises I’ve ever read! Then on the other hand, I had a hard time making connections with the story. Let me try to explain.
I’ll start off with the positives. Like I just said, this is one of the most unique and refreshing books I’ve read in the YA science fiction genre. From the synopsis we know that our main character Zara is left on a struggling earth when her family chooses to live on Mars. She is then recruited to be an Honor and board an alien ship. But this book goes so much deeper into science fiction and alien life forms than I EVER expected! It felt so fresh and rare, and forced me to crave more information as to what was really happening. I also enjoyed the fact that it made the world of this book feel so vastly huge. We are in this dystopian earth where humans were careless and ruined the planet (hello, reality?) and we are now forced to reach out for help to save our civilization. But as we delve further into the Leviathan beings, we learn that there’s a whole lot more going on than what’s at face value. They know things, and we as the reader are brought along on the ride.
Another glowing positive – the theme of connections and friendships! Oh, and there was no romance! This was my favourite part of this book. Zara chose to stay in New Detroit where she knew life would be difficult. Scrounging for food, living in unclean/unsafe conditions, and fighting (literally) for her life. But she would rather her freedom than living in the confining bubble of Mars. When she is recruited to the Honors, she is forced to spend a year travelling on a ship that is actually a living alien, with another Honor named Beatrix. Being stuck with these two she is forced to form friendships. At first it wasn’t easy. Living in New Detroit she couldn’t trust anyone, and how she’s with Nadim and Beatrix who are nice and actually care. I absolutely related to her reaction to finally allowing herself to trust and care for someone else. It was comforting while at the same time unnerving. Never sure that their feelings were genuine. But the connections between the three of them was just amazing, especially Zara’s connection with Nadim. I also liked that anger was an emotion used as being scared, which made it all feel so real. Everyone in this book had their own fears, that they kept bottled up inside. At time, they got angry and defensive. But it was realized that if you let others in and accepted help, things could be easier.
But here’s where the negative comes in. This book was SO hard to get into. I don’t think that this book really picked up for me until around 110 pages. It started off with Zara living in New Detroit with her boyfriend Derry. They were NOT likeable AT ALL. In fact, because they were such horrible people, I attempted to read this book 3 times before I finally pushed through. I understand why this book began the way it did. It was all character development for Zara. But it was boring and annoying because I found absolutely no redeemable qualities to them.
Along the same lines, the beginning of this book felt so disconnected with the rest of it. (The following is not a spoiler as it happens right at the beginning!) The book opens with her stealing a purse that ended up belonging to the daughter of a “mob boss” type. She’s fighting for her life after the theft and ends up putting herself in jail so he can’t touch her. Then she’s drafted and this plot suddenly goes away………. It was such a sudden 180 degree turn in the plot. The writing felt different even (there are two authors who wrote this book so maybe that’s why??) The drastic change in climate and plot made the book a little confusing. I continued reading wondering what in the hell the mob boss had to do with anything. Was it just to set up her life and why she would run away? I kept expecting him to come back in some way and connect these two seemingly different plot lines. It made my thoughts fight with each other and it ended up playing mind games with me the whole time. If the differences between the beginning and the rest of the book wasn’t so harsh, I feel like I would have enjoyed it so much more.
And I also feel like this book could have been condensed just a little bit. It felt like it took so long to get any details and information sometimes. It wasn’t boring necessarily but, when it finally got to the answers, I felt a little strung on too long. Also, the action scenes and the world building was so good that I wished that there was more of it!!
All in all, the positives and originality of this book made up for its slow start. The strong themes of friendship, the unique science fiction elements, and the well written action and world building, made this book stand out. I really enjoyed it! If you like science fiction, I highly recommend this one! Don’t let the slow start fool you 🙂
Until next time, happy reading!