Release Day Review | Honor Among Thieves by Rachel Caine & Ann Aguirre

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“Nadim…I could feel a lot of what went on with him, but how could I really know what he thought or felt? He was an alien. It might feel like I knew him, but I didn’t. I couldn’t.”

Honor Among Thieves is probably one of the most interesting books I’ve read in a while. When Earth finally is on the verge of killing itself, Leviathan, a race of living spaceships, steps in with tech and brings us back to a more stable society. For the past 100 years, Earth is still grateful for what they’ve done, and works in tandem with the Leviathan to continue to grow knowledge of the galaxy, and other civilizations that weren’t able to survive. So once a year, 100 human Honors are selected by Elder Leviathans to travel aboard their ship/bodies for a year to study past civilizations for both the Leviathan and Earth.

There’s no application process if you want to become an Honor, literally, anyone in the world can. However, it’s usually the rich, the well educated, or the musically inclined who get selected. So when Zara Cole is plucked right out of Camp Kuna, a rehabilitation center for the young and unruly, she’s left wondering what she has to offer to these sentient ships.

What unfolds between Zara, her ship Nadim, and her co-Honor Beatriz, is nothing short of beautiful. Caine and Aguirre create a relationship, especially through Zara and Nadim, that I would have never thought could exist without some sort of weird, ship/human romantic bond. But as they grew closer, lines blurred between how humans and Leviathan interpret one another, blending to become one.

“I felt his laugh, saw it shimmer in silver and copper around me. Felt the joy of it flare in every nerve. I could see the stars burning hard around us, hear the sweet chorus of their songs that twined and twirled into a vast symphony, intricate as precision clockwork I could only dimly comprehend. Each galaxy, singing. The universe, shouting its life, its power, its fierce beauty.”

One of my favorite parts of this book was how defined each character became, even as they began to grow together as one. Zara was sharp around the edges, Beatriz was shaky but brave, and Nadim was cautious but trusting. As the story progressed, Zara was able to keep her hard edges while softening to Beatriz and Nadim like it was second nature to her. And Beatriz and Nadim were able to pick up Zara’s fierce determination. Honestly, these characters just melded together and I absolutely loved it.

There were, however, a few things I didn’t enjoy, although not many and are probably just on me.

First, it took me a bit to get into the story because instead of some way for me to download the info about the Leviathans and their past and the world as it currently was, I had to build up my knowledge in order to figure it out. Which is fine, but it took longer than I liked. You get thrust into a world of new tech and slang, and then the authors would provide bits on interviews and messages to kind of give you the idea of what was going on, but it took a while to click with me.

The book also starts with a brief look from Nadim’s perspective and it makes absolutely no sense until you figure Nadim out, so it started off super confusing for me. But I got it cleared up eventually.

Remember how I mentioned that I thought it was fascinating that the authors created a mutually loving relationship without it becoming some weird human/ship relationship? Every once in a rare while I was really hoping they weren’t going to have this ship and girl hook up because it got confusing…

“The thought drifted through Nadim, and he purred a low vibrato that I felt through the soles of my feet, even past the skinsuit, and deep at the base of my spine. To this, I had no coherent response, only visceral emotion that streamed to him and back again in a feedback loop so exquisite it left me dizzy. Not the best state when working in zero gravity on a ship’s hull. I squatted to the ground myself and tried to be stern. ‘Remember when you asked Bea, What is seduce? It’s exactly what you’re doing right now.'”

Am I crazy? Or did that make you uncomfortable?

Anyway, the rest is more technical stuff. Mostly, words that were repeated a lot when there are synonyms that could have been used. Like occlusions, occluding, and occluded. It’s like the authors found this word very clever so they used it over and over, but it’s too noticeable of a word to do that. They also used the analogy of New Year’s Eve like three separate times in three different scenarios. But those are things that I notice and get annoyed by, so maybe that’s just me.

Overall, I really did enjoy this book. It was a super interesting concept that I am beyond invested in now. Now I just have to wait for book two!

What did you think of this review? Will you be picking up Honor Among Thieves today?

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