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.

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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.

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