Paperback, 384 pages
Published February 25th 2014 by Orbit
Source: Net Galley
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.
Honor’s Knight, the sequel to an unexpected favourite from last year, more than lived up to the success of its predecessor. When we left Devi in the first novel, her memory had been wiped clean and her love for Rupert has been replaced by an inexplicable revulsion for him. She has even forgotten his name so complete was the memory removal.
The novel opens, after an interesting prologue, with a funeral because Devi is damned if she will leave her dead colleague any way other than with respect and honor for his sacrifice. She does not remember anything and while that does concern her, she is busy interviewing replacements for her partner and trying to earn her keep on the ship.
However, several questions arise and no one seems inclined to answer them. Like why does she feel so conflicted whenever she sees Rupert, the Cook, or why are there strange glowy things in the air that no one, other than her, seems able to see. Things fall apart, rather literally, when Devi witnesses the destruction of an entire planet by the mega-sized version of the glowy thing and her captain decides that her life will be better served in a lab somewhere. But before they can move her to the lab, her memory is given back to her and with the return of her memory, the narrative takes off at a run and refuses to stop.
The best thing about the novel is Devi. While she is somewhat caustic and rather abrasive, she is a wonderfully interesting character. Her flaws make her intriguing and her way of looking at the world invites the reader’s empathy. I also loved that her relationship with Rupert is chockfull of problems and they are not resolved in a neat pat manner that leaves important questions hanging. How many times have you wanted a protagonist to shoot the love interest because he is annoying you with his inability to see the world from your perspective? And how many times has she obliged? The relationships in the novel are all complex and layered and a bit of analysis could probably peel back layers to reveal how these relationships shape the characters.
And the action is nonstop. I know this is somewhat cliché but it really does not stop. You run with Devi, you hide with Devi, you make friends, enemies, kill, survive and just keep on going. I love how the doctrine and fundamental beliefs of both Rupert and Devi are presented and the reader is not pushed to throw their lot in with just one of them. There is an important question: do the means justify the ends? This question can be applied to many contemporary real life situations so seeing it deconstructed in a fictional setting is vastly interesting.
As before, the diversity of the cast, and I don’t just mean different races and cultures, but different species and planets took my breath away. The snark is also always fun and the plot is tightly controlled but not so much that it feels contrived. The ending made me excited and left me on tenterhooks waiting for the next book which, thank goodness, will be released in April of this year.
If you haven’t yet started this series, I really don’t know what you’re waiting for.