Honor Among Thieves (The Honors #1), by Rachel Caine & Ann Aguirre
Publish Date: February 13, 2018
Published by: Katherine Tegen Books
Narrated by: Adam Lazarre-White, Adenrele Ojo
Length: approx. 12 1/2 hours
Genre: YA Sci-Fi
My Rating: ★★★★☆ (4 out of 5 stars)
Petty criminal Zara Cole has a painful past that’s made her stronger than most, which is why she chose life in New Detroit instead of moving with her family to Mars. In her eyes, living inside a dome isn’t much better than a prison cell.
Still, when Zara commits a crime that has her running scared, jail might be exactly where she’s headed. Instead Zara is recruited into the Honors, an elite team of humans selected by the Leviathan—a race of sentient alien ships—to explore the outer reaches of the universe as their passengers.
Zara seizes the chance to flee Earth’s dangers, but when she meets Nadim, the alien ship she’s assigned, 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
I originally had this as an egalley but did not find myself in the mood to read it before it’s publication date. Discovering it as an audiobook on Hoopla, though, I decided to give it a second try, especially since I was in the mood for a good sci-fi. While this satisfied my craving and more, the slow start to the beginning almost had me DNFing it before things got really interesting, but I’m definitely glad I didn’t.
At first I didn’t really care much about Zara Cole- I’ve read her type before, the lone wolf, oh woe-is-me-my-life-is-hard, thief and con artist who acts all tough but is actually a huge softie inside. In fact, I was a little annoyed at how easily she went from being so cold and hard and distancing herself from loved ones to bonding with Nadim and sharing thoughts and emotions with him. It seemed almost too sharp a contrast compared to how she acted before getting to know him and Beatriz. But at the same time I loved her interactions with Nadim so much and how strong and connected they were throughout their time together. It made for such an organic sci-fi novel, blending the coldness of space with the warmth of interaction and emotional bonding that I loved their easy connection immensely.
The thing I loved about Zara most, though, was that she didn’t let things slide. It was actually such a relief to have a character who recognized immediately when things didn’t seem right, or when someone was avoiding answers. She confronted things straight away and did not let it go until they admitted the truth, or what truth they could give. There was no dismissing of strange occurrences, or ignorance of how strange it was – Zara just assumes the worst and refuses to budge until she is satisfied that it isn’t. And I loved it.
I thought the plot was really interesting and from the moment Zara was on board Nadim and onwards I was hooked. Before that, though, I was having trouble finding interest in the story. A good chunk of the beginning is just set-up. It gives character background and world-building all right there, and provides the reason for Zara accepting the Honor position, and after that all of the focus is on the universe-exploring and mystery-solving and action-taking, which is the stuff I was mostly here for to be honest. I get that the set-up information is necessary, especially to understand Zara as a character and how being with Nadim and Beatriz changes her, but I can’t help but wonder if some of that could have been given and shown in flashbacks or something, because it was just not as interesting to get through in order to get to the actual space stuff.
Aside from the beginning of the novel, I really enjoyed listening to this story. It moved quickly and gracefully, had such beautiful descriptions and emotional moments that took my breath away. I loved the intrigue and the action, the character development and diversity, and how quick Zara was to question everything and anything. I wouldn’t have minded if there had been some more hints throughout the story about what was going to come at the end, because that felt a little sudden and strange and without any foreshadowing, but other than that and the slow beginning, I was thoroughly pleased with this book and look forward to the next one.