ARC Review: Honor Among Thieves by Rachel Caine & Ann Aguirre

Honor Among Thieves (The Honors, #1)Honor Among Thieves by Rachel Caine
My rating: 5 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.

Warnings: child abuse, medical emergency, gun violence

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.

Is it diverse? Black girl as protagonist; non-binary alien character; PoC secondary characters

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

View all my reviews

Buy links

The Book Depository | Wordery

2 thoughts on “ARC Review: Honor Among Thieves by Rachel Caine & Ann Aguirre

  1. Pingback: Diversity Spotlight Thursday #68 | YA on my Mind

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