Review: Honor’s Knight by Rachel Bach

Honor’s Knight by Rachel Back | Orbit, 2014

Fortune’s Pawn was a an exciting and entertaining read featuring a strong and capable heroine in the form of Paradoxian mercenary Devi Morris. Devi returns in Honor’s Knight and Bach amps things up somewhere close to 11 for this sci-fi action outing. In the process Bach somehow manages to improve upon the already excellent Fortune’s Pawn in almost every conceivable way. If you’ve yet to read Fortune’s Pawn and you like action-packed science fiction with a strong female you should go do that now…there are definitely spoilers ahead.

Honor’s Knight opens up almost right where Fortune’s Pawn ended. Devi, can’t remember much of anything from the last few month and every time she sees the ship’s cook, Rupert, she feels a deep and physical revulsion. Of course, business must go on and Devi is forced to work the security on the Glorious Fool all by herself; at least for a little while. Meanwhile, she continues to see strange creatures that only Ren, the captain’s daughter, can also see. Where Fortune’s Pawn hinted at the major over-arching plot of the series Honor’s Knight delves right into it…headfirst and with plasma shotgun blazing.

Bach, lays just about all the cards out on the table over the course of Honor’s Knight putting Devi through the proverbial ringer in the process. Just about every question raised and every mystery hinted at in the previous novel is addressed in some way during Honor’s Knight. The novel is packed to the gills with action; almost to a Michael Bay-sian extent. There are shattered planets, explosions, gladiatorial fights, underwater escapes, and giant invisible monsters. Honor’s Knight definitely amps up the action and Bach proves herself as adept as her protagonist at handling the nigh fervent pace.

Bach fleshes out her world in Honor’s Knight and I was particularly entranced by the Caldswell’s daughter Ren. I love that Bach isn’t afraid to inject a little bit of horror into her story and while she does lean on the creepy little girl trope (whenever I imagine Ren I see Alma) she also manages to interject a bit of the human horror and tragedy into the proceedings. Bach fleshes out the Aeon, the race of the Glorious Fool’s XO Basil, as the ship visits one of their worlds and it was good to finally get a glimpse of a non-human world and learn more about one of the series’ alien races. There is also more detail about the Xith-Cal and a further exploration of the events on the ghost ship encountered in the first book.

“More” seems about par for the course in Honor’s Knight as Bach expands just about every aspect of the series. That also includes Devi’s relationship with Rupert. This was, as in the last volume, my least favorite part of the story. That being said it’s a fairly unobtrusive part of the story and its presence does little harm the pacing or the plot. If the only complaint I can really level at Honor’s Knight was that the romance was unobtrusively present than I’m willing to call that a win. Bottom line if you like, fun, action heavy stories set in an interesting universe that you should be reading Rachel Bach’s Paradox series. As much I enjoyed my time with Eli Monpress I have consistently found Devi to me a more engaging and purely entertaining read. Honor’s Knight is a tight, thrilling, page-turner that highly recommend all fans of action-packed science fiction read.

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