Review: Heaven’s Queen by Rachel Bach

heaven's queen by rachel bachFormat read: ebook purchased from Amazon
Formats available: ebook, paperback
Genre: Science fiction; space opera
Series: Paradox, #3
Length: 388 pages
Publisher: Orbit
Date Released: April 22, 2014
Purchasing Info: Author’s Website, Publisher’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Book Depository

From the moment she took a job on Captain Caldswell’s doomed ship, Devi Morris’ life has been one disaster after another: government conspiracies, two alien races out for her blood, an incurable virus that’s eating her alive.

Now, with the captain missing and everyone — even her own government — determined to hunt her down, things are going from bad to impossible. The sensible plan would be to hide and wait for things to blow over, but Devi’s never been one to shy from a fight, and she’s getting mighty sick of running.

It’s time to put this crisis on her terms and do what she knows is right. But with all human life hanging on her actions, the price of taking a stand might be more than she can pay.

My Review:

Fortune's Pawn by Rachel BachThe chess theme of the titles of the books in the Paradox series is kind of a play on words. There are many times in the series when someone asks Devi if she plays chess. But in Fortune’s Pawn (reviewed here), Devi was a pawn of numerous forces. She, and the ship The Glorious Fool, seem to be dicing with Lady Luck and always losing. In Honor’s Knight (reviewed here), Devi is a knight errant searching for a way to save everyone, and in Heaven’s Queen, she meets the self-styled queens of heaven.

As the story progresses, the “gang” of The Glorious Fool gets scattered to the four corners of the galaxy, or so it seems. Every faction is on its own, doing its own thing to save the universe and save Devi.

Except that Devi and Rupert are the only ones who really want to save Devi, everyone else just wants to keep the secrets deep and secret, and save the universe. So many people are willing to die to keep the truth on the down low, instead of either fixing the real problem, or blowing things wide open.

There’s definitely a parallel to “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or of the one”. The issue is in who decides which are the many and which are the few. Also that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” only works if everyone agrees about who the enemy is.

In Heaven’s Queen, the humans discover that their biggest allies have a completely different agenda than everyone thought, and that their supposed mutual enemy is not really an enemy at all. Also that the ally is self-absorbed and narcissistic beyond human comprehension. Something that the allies don’t really care about, because they’ve been fooling us all along.

Devi’s search for a cure for her disease, and her search for truth, push the story in amazing directions. Not just the truth about her disease, but the truth about her entire life and the way she’s lived it.

The truth can set you free. In Heaven’s Queen, Devi’s truth sets everyone free.

honors knight by rachel bachEscape Rating A: I wish the hero’s name wasn’t Rupert. For some reason, that makes me think of bad historical romances, instead of kick-ass science fiction. Which is what Heaven’s Queen and the entire Paradox series is, fantastic science fiction with a touch of romance.

Lots of reviews proclaim that the Paradox series is SF for people who normally like urban fantasy. I’m not so sure about that. I love urban fantasy, but I’m not quite seeing the parallel. Maybe that’s just part of the paradox?

Devi is a heroine who sees a problem and does everything she can to solve it. Whether that means thinking her way around it or shooting through it, she gets the job done. But that’s what mercs do, get the job done. It’s either that or they don’t survive.

Part of the problem that Devi and Rupert have to solve is what they will be to each other. They are both living embodiments of deadly danger, and neither has any experience with relationships. Devi because she’s always thought that attachments were a distraction, and Rupert because his nature is sometimes uncontrollable. When they break down the barriers, they discover that they are perfect for each other. Also, they both believe it’s short-term, because they can’t possibly survive. Then they realize that they care for the other’s survival even more than their own.

Once they both have what they want, then they have to figure out how to keep it, and each other. The ending is a sweeping upstroke that is guaranteed to make you smile. And sigh.

***FTC Disclaimer: Most books reviewed on this site have been provided free of charge by the publisher, author or publicist. Some books we have purchased with our own money or borrowed from a public library and will be noted as such. Any links to places to purchase books are provided as a convenience, and do not serve as an endorsement by this blog. All reviews are the true and honest opinion of the blogger reviewing the book. The method of acquiring the book does not have a bearing on the content of the review.
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