RogerBW's Blog

Heaven's Queen, Rachel Bach 08 January 2015

2014 SF; sequel to Honour's Knight. With most of the powers in the known universe arrayed against her, Devi is still infected with the virus that could solve everything (or bring it all crashing down).

This couldn't be anything but a final volume. All those dangling plot threads that the two earlier books set up are tied off neatly here. The good guys get their rewards; the bad guys get what's coming to them.

Well, sort of. One of the things I've enjoyed about this series is the lack of unambiguous bad guys. There are some people who do horrible things, yes, but they have reasons for what they do: it's not just the boring old "to make me rich" or "to get me power", it's "because I think this is the only way to save humanity". The conflict here may not be quite between a right and a right, but it is at least between people who think they're right. And some of the worst punishments handed out here, once all the shooting has stopped, are that the people who made that call and were wrong about it have to go on living with the knowledge of what they did.

That said, the romance that was a moderate part of the first book and a significant part of the second is very much in the foreground here. If you are the sort of SF reader who hates romance, you won't like this book or this series, but it's really not a story that could have been told without the kissing. I will admit that there's a bit of a misstep when a minor character from the beginning of the first book reappears; not only does he immediately butt heads with the new love for no obvious reason, but either his behaviour here is wildly out of character or Devi's previous taste in partners wasn't all that hot, and her reaction isn't particularly great either.

The other difficulty is that sometimes the resolution feels a bit too cathartic: yes, it's good when problems solve each other, but perhaps there are slightly too many upsides and not enough downsides in the eventual state of affairs? Still, I don't think this is a book written to stand up to deep analysis: it's written to push the reader's buttons, and my buttons were convincingly pushed.

This series is pulp with a heart. It's not great literature, and it's not pretending to be, but for a piece of escapism it's surprisingly thoughtful. Recommended, with caveats as noted.

[Buy this at Amazon] and help support the blog. ["As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases."]

See also:
Fortune's Pawn, Rachel Bach
Honour's Knight, Rachel Bach

Previous in series: Honour's Knight | Series: Paradox

  1. Posted by Ashley R Pollard at 10:34am on 09 January 2015

    Saves me from having to read them. Though saying that we might get them and read them, it just depends.

  2. Posted by RogerBW at 10:39am on 09 January 2015

    I liked 'em, but nobody is going to tell you your life is incomplete for not having read them.

Comments on this post are now closed. If you have particular grounds for adding a late comment, comment on a more recent post quoting the URL of this one.

Tags 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s 3d printing action advent of code aeronautics aikakirja anecdote animation anime army astronomy audio audio tech aviation base commerce battletech beer boardgaming book of the week bookmonth chain of command children chris chronicle church of no redeeming virtues cold war comedy computing contemporary cornish smuggler cosmic encounter coup covid-19 crime crystal cthulhu eternal cycling dead of winter doctor who documentary drama driving drone ecchi economics en garde espionage essen 2015 essen 2016 essen 2017 essen 2018 essen 2019 essen 2022 essen 2023 existential risk falklands war fandom fanfic fantasy feminism film firefly first world war flash point flight simulation food garmin drive gazebo genesys geocaching geodata gin gkp gurps gurps 101 gus harpoon historical history horror hugo 2014 hugo 2015 hugo 2016 hugo 2017 hugo 2018 hugo 2019 hugo 2020 hugo 2021 hugo 2022 hugo 2023 hugo 2024 hugo-nebula reread in brief avoid instrumented life javascript julian simpson julie enfield kickstarter kotlin learn to play leaving earth linux liquor lovecraftiana lua mecha men with beards mpd museum music mystery naval noir non-fiction one for the brow opera parody paul temple perl perl weekly challenge photography podcast politics postscript powers prediction privacy project woolsack pyracantha python quantum rail raku ranting raspberry pi reading reading boardgames social real life restaurant reviews romance rpg a day rpgs ruby rust scala science fiction scythe second world war security shipwreck simutrans smartphone south atlantic war squaddies stationery steampunk stuarts suburbia superheroes suspense television the resistance the weekly challenge thirsty meeples thriller tin soldier torg toys trailers travel type 26 type 31 type 45 vietnam war war wargaming weather wives and sweethearts writing about writing x-wing young adult
Special All book reviews, All film reviews
Produced by aikakirja v0.1