Thanks to Edelweiss and Katherine Tegen Books for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: Available Now
Synopsis: 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 Leviathans—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.
As soon as I saw two of my favorite authors were teaming up to write a YA science fiction series my eyes lit up and with Honor Among Thieves, the first book The Honors series, I was not disappointed.
Zara is the type of savy, tough as nails heroine both authors are known for. She’s not perfect by any means. She tends to act first and ask questions later, which doesn’t always work out for her or anyone with her. A survivor of an abusive father, she’s mistrustful and has a chip on her shoulder a mile wide. But, she loves her mother and younger sister intensely and once she does make friends she’s insanely loyal and will instantly put herself in harm’s way to help them. I did find myself wishing that a little more had been shared about her childhood, the intense migraines she suffered, and the surgery using Leviathan biotech that cured her. Especially as that surgery seems to be a part of the bond she and Nadim almost instantly develop.
And speaking of Nadim, I never thought I’d love a sentient ship as a character, but I did. I had to keep reminding myself that he was an alien ship, not an actual human. He’s written so realistically that I had no problem buying into Zara’s and his developing relationship. Being the intelligent, headstrong seventeen-year-old that she is, Zara needs someone who can match her in spirit, yet help resolve some of her trust issues and while he’s initially a bit bemused by her, Nadim certainly winds up fitting the bill. I’m really excited to see where Caine and Aguirre take their relationship in subsequent books.
The other human accompanying Zara and Nadim is Beatrice, who I initially thought was going to be a weak character, but she pleasantly surprised me. I loved the way her friendship with both Zara and Nadim evolved, and she perfectly rounds out this team.
There’s also plenty of diversity in this story which I loved. Zara is black and Beatriz is from Brazil. There’s also another strong female, Chao-Xang, who is a side character here but I have a feeling that she might be playing a bigger role in the next book.
I have to admit that the first few chapters were the weakest part of the book. I felt like a lot was thrown at me in a relatively short amount of time, but once Zara and Bea are on their way with Nadim it’s just about sheer perfection. I was enchanted with the Leviathans and the way they communicate with each other and listen to the “singing” of stars. It’s beautifully described and in someways reminded me of humpback whales. No matter how much I tried I could not tell when one author’s writing stopped and the other’s began. The chapters flowed smoothly and seamlessly together and if I didn’t know any better I would have thought there was only one author. While there’s not a lot of action except for the first few chapters and the last third of the book, I didn’t mind this at all. I was so invested in the characters as they learned about each other, that their story and the mystery of what was really happening with the Leviathans and their Honors, kept me turning the pages and I read this in one sitting. The only other issue I had was with the ending which was exciting but a little abrupt. I still had some questions that hadn’t been addressed so when I reached the last page it left me hanging a bit. I have no doubt though that they’ll be answered in bk. 2.
Overall, Honor Among Thieves is an outstanding beginning to this new space epic and I cannot wait to read more. I do have one word of caution though. There’s a scene where Nadim is being physically assaulted by one of his “Elders”, and I actually had a hard time reading it. It’s graphic and I think it could be a trigger for certain readers who have been victims of abuse. That said, this is another book that will be going on my favorites of 2018 list and I highly recommend it to science fiction lovers.