Review: Honor’s Knight by Rachel Bach
Space opera / #2 of 3, Paradox Trilogy
“The truth is that there are no heroes. We’re all villains excusing our actions by hiding behind a greater good.”
I have, through some miracle of vagueness, avoided any spoilers in this review for either book in the Paradox series, so feel free to read on. That said, to get a better idea of the premise, you may wish to start with a review of book number one Fortune’s Pawn.
Honor’s Knight is FANTASTIC. It took everything I liked about the first book and made it BETTER. So much better that I’m having to resort to caps lock to express myself. The same great characters I came to care about from the first book, but the stakes are higher now, the plot is more challenging, and the romance was comparatively deemphasized. I couldn’t have been more thrilled with this book.
I compared Fortune’s Pawn to popcorn, but Honor’s Knight is something more substantial than popcorn. It adds more dimensions to some of the existing characters. It presents ethical dilemmas and situations without where every course of action seems wrong. Basically, it takes the all fun, action-packed plot and distinctive, memorable cast of the first book, and makes them both smarter and more complex. It develops both the world and the characters more deeply. And as I mentioned before, the stakes are so much higher. Though we certainly realize that some sort of larger conspiracy is afoot in the first book, Devi is still a hired gun mostly concerned with getting by and keeping her crew out of trouble. By the end of the book 2, however, the stakes are practically apocalyptic.
Devi is a merc through and through, and she doesn’t waste time feeling remorseful about the violence that she has to mete out. One of the greatest things about her is that she has no qualms about the fact she takes enormous pleasure in her job. But she has a moral code (or a code of honour, as referenced in the book’s title) and even as she struggles with which side to support in this book, she has strong, consistent core values that remain steadfast. I like heroes like this, who stay confident in their beliefs and in themselves when they’re up against the ropes.
As for the romance… in spite of my anti-romance leanings, I was actually happy with how things played out. Rupert did crappy things in Fortune’s Pawn, and wasn’t let off the hook by Devi for having done them. I’m still not his biggest fan, but I appreciate the way that their romance was handled in this book.
I love Devi to bits and pieces, and the whole crew of the Glorious Fool. Learning about the history of Maat and the daughters was fantastically rich and interesting stuff, and—in my opinion—adds a feminist dimension to the books. The world is becoming larger (and consequently more imaginative) in scope. It isn’t adding anything particularly new or inventive to the space opera genre… but part of what makes it such a joy to read is recognizing some of your favourite tropes or ideas, and seeing them so well-written. The only bad thing about Honor’s Knight is knowing there is just one more book in the series to read. Can there be more books? Please?
If you like ________, you should pick up Honor’s Knight:
- Quality space opera awesomeness
- Powered armour suits
- Badass unapologetically aggressive ladies with guns
Also, interesting fact: I’m glad I proofread this one because every single time I referred to Fortune’s Pawn in this review, I wrote “Fortune’s Prawn” instead. Maybe it’s because I’m vacationing in Atlantic Canada and we’ve been eating a lot of shellfish??