Formats available: ebook, paperback, audiobook
Genre: Space opera
Series: Paradox, #2
Length: 374 pages
Date Released: February 25, 2014
Purchasing Info: Author’s Website, Publisher’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Book Depository
Devi Morris has a lot of problems. And not the fun, easy-to-shoot kind either.
After a mysterious attack left her short several memories and one partner, she’s determined to keep her head down, do her job, and get on with her life. But even though Devi’s not actually looking for it — trouble keeps finding her. She sees things no one else can, the black stain on her hands is growing, and she is entangled with the cook she’s supposed to hate.
But when a deadly crisis exposes far more of the truth than she bargained for, Devi discovers there’s worse fates than being shot, and sometimes the only people you can trust are the ones who want you dead.
Marlene absolutely loved Honor’s Knight, calling it “Beauty and the Beast on steroids.” Once again I am forced to open my Paradox review by disagreeing with the pop culture comparisons previously tossed around. This is not a book about creepy stockholm-syndrome forced hook-ups. If we’re going to go the Disney route, Devi is more Elsa than Belle.
When we first see Devi in Honor’s Knight, she has no memory of anything important that happened in Fortune’s Pawn, from the big important things (like the ability to kill with an invisible black goo), to the little things (such as the name of that cook guy who is inexplicably repugnant).
On the bright side, this means no one is going to kill her anytime soon. Well….perhaps it would be better to say no one wants her dead for knowing too much. Devi’s still got a big target on her back, except now she’s even less sure why.
The great thing about Devi in this entry is that she starts asking questions. Our favorite ambitious merc has realized she’s stumbling about in the middle of a shit-storm, and she needs to decide how to navigate through it without getting splattered. No more ignoring the weird stuff, or blindly accepting facts as parsed out to her – Devi finally begins to really pay attention to the world around her.
In a way, Devi’s previous disinterest in anything other than shooting things up helps her look at the issues of the phantoms, the daughters, and Maat without any preconceived notions. Everyone else involved in this FUBAR’d “strategy” to “save the universe” is absolutely unwilling to accept that they have utterly lost control of the situation – if they ever even had it in the first place.
What kind of alleged intelligence organization thinks allowing aliens to create an insane immortal out of an angry teenage girl is a solution to anything? Much less to then sacrifice hundreds (thousands?) of other teenaged girls to become disposal insane copies of the original? The father of one such girl sums it up best:
Our children were taken to be fodder for a salvation that was a miracle for everyone except those it destroyed. But the true villainy of the Eyes isn’t that they made a hard choice, but that they never sought to find another. I have been a soldier all my life. I understand that sacrifices must be made. But we’ve known about the phantoms for seventy years now. In that time, the Eyes have become experts at keeping the secret, experts in hiding, in responding quickly to signs of a phantom attack. They even learned to manage the lelgis. But the one thing they have never improved, never sought to improve, were the lives of Maat and her daughters. They had their miracle, their weapon, and they have never sought to find another.
Devi ultimately shares this view, and as the story unfolds, quickly capitalizes on her unique status in the universe as Black Goo Carrier to force the Eyes to start looking for another way.
We spend less time with the inhabitants of the Glorious Fool this time around, which is really for the best. How much insanity can one crew really deal with while credibly maintaining their ignorance? Novascape must be doing an insane amount of space-weed to keep her head so firmly in the clouds.
We do, however, get a deeper look into Paradoxian society. Which, let’s just say, is not for me. Nothing like a theocratic aristocracy to put me off my food.
“Yes, but I need to tell it to the baron myself,” I explained. “Can I see him?”
The guard looked at me like I’d just asked the impossible, which, to be fair, I had. Now that I was back on the king’s land, I was a peasant again, and peasants did not demand to speak to barons. But I wasn’t about to start talking phantoms and plasmex plagues to a door guard.
“I just need five minutes of his time,” I pleaded. “If he doesn’t want to hear more after that, I’ll take the consequences.”
The punishment for wasting a noble’s time could be severe if you put them in a bad enough mood.
Though my face was now parallel with the floor, I saw the baron wave dismissively through my cameras. “Only idiots ignore unexpected urgent messages,” he said. “Now, sit down and tell me what’s so goddamn important. And it had betterbe important, soldier, or you’re going to learn what it means to waste the king’s time.”
I paled. Threats like that were normal, but I’d never heard a noble curse before. As blood relations of the Sainted King, they were above such vulgarity. But I wasn’t about to tell the baron that.
Is it possible for Devi to emigrate to a society that doesn’t pretend it’s ruling class are made up of gods? Where you can’t be publicly tortured for not bowing and scraping enough? PLEASE TELL ME THE SERIES ENDS WITH DEVI TELLING THE SAINTED KING TO SUCK IT!
Fingers crossed! Devi spends most of the book telling everyone making demands of her – Maat, The Eyes, The Defector Eyes, The Cook, The Captain – to, essentially, fuck off. It’s awesome. I have hopes for a destroyed monarchy in book 3.
Back to the romance, which Marlene seems to think is big part of this book. I think we can all sum it up as the fact that Rupert got some, would like to continue getting some, and apparently is willing to do whatever it takes to make that happen. He’s like a teenager blowing off curfew to hang out with his ONE TRUE LOVE FOR REALS MOM I’LL NEVER LOVE ANYONE LIKE HER EVER AGAIN. It’s alternately sweet and annoying. Thankfully, Devi keeps him in his place.
Escape Rating: B+ for not boring me with romantic ennui and allowing Devi to really cut loose this time around. When we leave off, Devi’s cut off from everything and has nothing left to lose. I can’t wait to see her go nuts in Heaven’s Queen.