RogerBW's Blog

Honour's Knight, Rachel Bach 27 December 2014

2014 SF; sequel to Fortune's Pawn. Devi is now security chief on the tramp space-freighter she signed on with, but clearly something very strange is going on.

We open in some confusion, not really surprising after what happened at the end of the last book. For much of this volume, Devi is missing a chunk of her memories, though she knows she can't stand to look at the ship's cook (or even remember his name). Just not why.

But this isn't just a matter of recovering her memories and finding her True Love. It's much more complicated than that. By the time Devi's got her memories back, she has plenty of more serious reasons not to trust her True Love, nor he her. (Indeed, if you like exploring the idea of loving someone who's done Bad Things, there's a doozy here.) There's clearly an existential threat to the universe, but none of the two, or possibly three, factions with plans to do anything about it seems to be more than mid-grey on an ethical scale (there are most definitely Omelas moments here) and they certainly don't have her best interests at heart; they're more prone to regard Devi's weird powers as a prize to be won, and Devi herself as an unfortunate piece of extra baggage.

The world-building still isn't terrifically solid, but it gets the job done, and the action continues to be well-drawn and exciting. There are multiple twists in the plot, too, with various people changing status between enemy, ally, and ally-of-convenience as more information becomes available and their own behaviour under stress becomes more obvious. Devi's a bit unfortunately slow in realising what it is that controls her powers, but it doesn't have a devastating effect on the story. As before, the book ends on something of a pause rather than a break, and I plan to go on to the final volume soon.

Not at all highbrow or demanding reading, but good enough not to be guilty pleasure either; rather to my surprise, one of my favourite books of the year. Definitely not a good place to start the series. Followed by Heaven's Queen.

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See also:
Fortune's Pawn, Rachel Bach
Heaven's Queen, Rachel Bach

Previous in series: Fortune's Pawn | Series: Paradox | Next in series: Heaven's Queen

  1. Posted by Dr Bob at 11:57am on 01 January 2015

    Thanks for this. I'd read the first one and enjoyed the action and characters. But I'm not a romance fan and was rather wary of reading the sequel because of the whole "re-set to factory settings" that was done at the end of the last book. I wasn't keen to have to read through the whole set of romance tropes AGAIN just to get back to where they'd left off. Nor, worse still, to have that hateful trope of "hate and love are two sides of the same coin" inflicted on me.

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