Honor Among Thieves (The Honors #1)
Rachel Caine and Ann Aguirre
Published: Feb. 13, 2018 (Katherine Tegen Books)
Purchase: Book Depository or Amazon
Review source: copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review
Reviewed by: Amy
Rating (out of 5): 4 stars
One hundred years ago when Earth was on the path to total destruction, along came the Leviathans, large sentient ship-like aliens, to offer aid. Now, as part of the agreement, Earth sends one hundred “Honors” a year to board the creatures and explore the galaxy, reporting findings that benefit both species.
After a traumatic childhood, Zara Cole chose life on the streets instead of the caged in feeling of living under Mars’ dome with her family. She does what she has to do to survive, but after a theft-gone-wrong Zara finds herself running back into rehabilitation for safety. When Zara is miraculously chosen as one of the Honors this year, she sees it as a great way to escape her troubles. However, even as Zara and her Leviathan, Nadim, grow closer, she realizes even the vastness of space isn’t without secrets of its own.
With two powerhouse authors like Rachel Caine and Ann Aguirre I think it’s pretty safe to say that the writing in Honor Among Thieves is spot on. It’s easy to form images in your mind while reading of what these huge sentient beings look like and to imagine them sailing through space almost like whales in the ocean. The fact that both Zara and her ship companion Beatriz are likened to being in the “belly of the whale” is perfectly apt and successfully backs up this notion.
Where the story gets off kilter for me is trying to bring everything into a cohesive whole. I found issue with the means in which Zara makes her way to being part of the Honors group. I felt like the buildup of her thieving and running was almost a throwaway scenario as it’s quickly overlooked once she’s on board Nadim.
I also found fault with the fact that there are two people brought on board the Leviathans. I felt like Beatriz’s character development was pushed to the wayside. She does grow, but it felt almost disjointed from scene to scene. One page the speed of the ship unsettles her and the next, she’s fine. I think this boils down to the fact that the story is told almost exclusively from Zara’s point of view and the fact that it’s Zara’s connecting with Nadim—not Beatriz connecting with him—that gives the story its ultimate push.
I really enjoyed seeing the buildup of Zara and Nadim’s connection. It was almost like the connection itself was sentient and you could feel the way it grows from first contact to the end of this adventure. I liked the ambiguity of it. It’s at once almost a childlike curiosity, yet sometimes you could feel a hint of sensuality thrown in as well, as they test the varying layers of the push-and-pull between them. Definitely one of the more unique relationships I’ve read in awhile.
The fact that the Leviathan are keeping secrets from the humans is no surprise. It does drive the story forward slightly as readers wait for the ball to drop, so to speak. While the main draw of the book is establishing Zara and Nadim as a unit, I think we’ll feel the repercussions of the secrets in subsequent sequels.
Overall, Honor Among Thieves has an interesting premise and a doubly interesting relationship. Once we move past the few rocky areas I thoroughly enjoyed this story.
Sexual content: references to sex