Book Review: Honor Among Thieves by Rachel Caine & Ann Aguirre

Posted May 21, 2018 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews / 2 Comments

Book Review: Honor Among Thieves by Rachel Caine & Ann Aguirre

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Honor Among Thieves by Rachel Caine, Ann Aguirre
Genres: Science Fiction, YA
Published by Katherine Tegen Books on February 13, 2018
Pages: 467
Format: Hardcover
Source: the library

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Also by this author: Daylighters, Kicking It: These Boots are Made for Stalking, Prince of Shadows, Ink and Bone, Paper and Fire, Ash and Quill, Killman Creek, Smoke and Iron, Honor Bound, Honor Lost

First in The Honors science fiction series for Young Adult readers and revolving around Zara Cole, a petty criminal escaping certain death.

My Take

The Leviathan are a fascinating new species with a twist on what makes them tick, although in the long run, it comes down to fear and lies. What is truly sad is that the Leviathan rescued earth from us. And they don’t have a high opinion of us as a whole.

I adore the relationship that develops between Zara and Nadim, and eventually with Bea. Caine/Aguirre use first person dual protagonist point-of-view with the majority perspective from Zara and Nadim having his own moments. It’s an easy exploration of their very different cultures, after all, Nadim is a space-going whale with Honors who will live inside him.

I don’t know why Zara blamed Derry for his last action in her life. Zara does, however, grow in this, questioning how she had interpreted events in her past. She keeps her central core, but she’s evolving along with Nadim.

There are some weird chapter starts and endings with some that make sense and a few that don’t; they’re little interruptions that give us some back story. I also wish Caine/Aguirre had done a better job of explaining the Journey. It doesn’t sound as if it’s any different from exile, so I didn’t grasp Nadim’s horror of it.

It’s an interesting blend of complex and simple with rescues, an inner surgery, terrifying evasions, alien encounters, force shields, and communication between different species. And yet, there is a gentleness to it all.

The Story

A missed diagnosis makes Zara’s childhood a nightmare. She’ll do anything to escape her “prison”. Even live inside a Leviathan for a year “exploring strange new worlds”.

It’s when she meets Nadim, the alien ship to which she’s assigned that 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.

The Characters

The suspicious and paranoid Zoe Cole survives by petty thievery (I think she’s under 18). Her partner will be Beatriz “Bea” Teixeira, an incredible singer from Brazil.

Zara’s mother, Sharon, and younger sister, Kiz, won the Mars Colony lottery. Her father was a misogynistic religious nutjob. Angela was a faith healer. Bea’s grandmother was at opera singer at the Teatro Real and very famous.

Nadim is a young Leviathan who hasn’t always followed the rules, and because of that, he’s on probation. EMITU is a medbot.

Marko Dunajski and the extremely prickly Zhang Chao-Xing finished their Tour with Nadim and have been claimed by Typhon, an Elder Leviathan just waiting to catch Nadim out. Yusuf served on Xolani for his tour and bonded with Artemisia, their bond name Temiyus, for the Journey. Another who was rescued is He Who Sings the Star Current who had sailed with Ship of Breakwater for the Tour and was bonded with Hail to You, My Goddess, their bond name was Star Current Goddess.

The Zone is…
…a really bad side of town, the Lower Eight in New Detroit. Derry McKinnon is special — and drugged-out; the rest of her crew includes Lo, Timo, and JJ. Conde is a fence; Gert is his closest competition. Moonshine Charlene makes liquor. St. Benedict’s Medical Facility, a.k.a., Benny’s, is a free clinic.

Parkview Rehabilitation Home is a reform facility run by Mrs. Witham. Camp Kuna is a step down with Kamryn Kotlitz its CEO. Clarice is a fellow inmate. Dr Yu will be Zara’s therapist with an insight that breaks through. Barraga is the bogeyman of institutions.

There are always two Honors aboard each Leviathan: a starsinger and a pilot. The Tour is a one-year mission inside a Leviathan who acts as host and living quarters for two Honors, two humans chosen to roam the universe. The Journey is longer, much longer, and the Leviathan must bond with someone and take on a new name, a bond name. I think an H2 is a combination tablet and communicator. The deep bond is a meshing of human and Leviathan. A Hopper is a shuttle. To dark run is to disappear. Dark sleep is almost like a coma, and Nadim is susceptible. A Gathering is a group of Leviathans who make judgments.

Tenty is Zara’s nickname for the tentacled alien who shows up, one of the Abyin Dommas, the singers in the deep. The Phage are another type of alien, a black swarm. The Biiyan had inhabited Firstworld, which will be their first stop.

Kephana Washington and Saladin Al-Masih are the hosts of Good Day, New Detroit. Ingmar Ström is with the Truthseekers. Hermann L. Schulz is a scientist. Torian Deluca is a legendary, ruthless billionaire. Enzo is one of his goons. Garry Moscowtiz is the director of a banned documentary. Obari is a famous Nigerian pop star.

Just-returned Honors include Sarah Simms and Ivor Johanssen. Gregory Valenzuela was on the 2140 Tour, and is now in treatment. In 2112, Dr. Elacio Camacho partnered with Leviathan Moira. A Moira Krull was another Honor. Gidra Valdez will be Zara’s press liaison.

The Cover and Title

The cover has a darkness to it with its deep, deep purple background, a lighter broken violet beneath the rainbow of a globe in its yellows, reddish purples, oranges, and blue. It looks like a giant and gorgeous glass marble but you’ll soon learn it’s a star, the source of power for the Leviathan, the black silhouette in the center that looks like a fancy compass with orange balls on the four major points. Within that silhouette is the earth. The text is all in white, starting at the top with an info blurb, the authors’ names, the title covers the globe in the center, and last is the tagline for the story.

The title is a dichotomy between the truth of an Honor Among Thieves in the Zone and the reality of Zara and Beatriz’s partnership with Nadim.

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