Ruthsic's Reviews > Honor Among Thieves

Honor Among Thieves by Rachel Caine
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Warnings: child abuse, medical emergency

Rep: Black girl as protagonist; non-binary alien character; PoC secondary characters

This science fiction about an unlikely bond forming between a human girl and an alien, as they traverse the galaxies had a lot of heart and adventure. Zara Cole is an unusual pick for an Honor - she has been in and out of juvie, abhors authority and is the youngest recruit ever. She is being paired with another prodigy on the alien/spaceship Nadim, for the Tour, where they spend a year traveling and doing collaborative research across the galaxies. If successful, they and Nadim can all go on the Journey - a mysterious rite of passage for the Leviathans, shrouded in secrets and a lifelong commitment. For Zara, the Tour is a way to escape a mob boss back home, to become public enough that retaliating against her wouldn't be so easy, but she is also wary about the whole Honor program, especially when she learns that a previous Honor returned from a mission with psychological damage. She keeps herself aloof from her crew, but pretty soon she can't help but bond with Bea, the other Honor, and Nadim, who is an interesting entity to her.

Now, I should mention that sentient spaceships aren't a new thing for me to read, but an alien race that are also spaceships? Yeah, that part was new - sort of like the Transformers but also not. Nadim, for his part, has a soft spot for humans, and unlike the Elders, he treats both Zara and Bea as friends, with a more deeper bond forming with Zara because of how she herself treats him like another person, instead of an unknowable alien. Their relationship grows slowly over the course of the book, with Zara feeling for him being abused by the Elders and feeling protective about him as much as he feels protective about his two Honors. It is an interesting romance that forms between them - particularly because one is actually living inside the other - but the book makes it work. Zara ends up being a perfect match of an Honor for Nadim, particularly because like him, she questions things. The two of them also have a close friendship with Bea, who is the sweetest musician doctor you'll find this side of the universe!

Besides the well-built trio of relationships in the book, it also has a good pace and high stakes - the mystery of the Journey lurks in the background while their survival in the present, and the extent of the knowledge that the Leviathans have shared with the human race are at the forefront of the plot. There are tense scenes involving the Elders, some conspiracies, some alien fights, some near death catastrophes - and the crew has to fight through it all. It is a wonderful adventure to go through with these characters.

Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review from Katherine Tegen Books, via Edelweiss.
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Reading Progress

January 31, 2018 – Shelved
January 31, 2018 – Shelved as: to-read
September 17, 2019 – Started Reading
September 17, 2019 – Shelved as: 2019rc-btb
September 17, 2019 – Shelved as: 2019rc-ngew
September 17, 2019 – Shelved as: 2019rc-spacetime
September 17, 2019 – Shelved as: diverse
September 17, 2019 – Shelved as: dystopian
September 17, 2019 – Shelved as: futuristic
September 17, 2019 – Shelved as: galleys
September 17, 2019 – Shelved as: science-fiction
September 17, 2019 – Shelved as: young-adult
September 17, 2019 –
16.0% "Finally someone made a pun!"
September 17, 2019 –
47.0% "I'm crying 😢"
September 17, 2019 – Finished Reading
October 11, 2019 – Shelved as: 2019rc-dystopia

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