Title: Honor's Knight (Paradox, #2)
Author: Rachel Bach
Rating: 4.5 Stars
*This review is spoiler free for the Paradox Trilogy*
Without giving away spoilers for Fortune's Pawn, all I will remark about the plot of this novel is that it begins in an unusual situation. Devi, our kick-ass, no-nonsense protagonist finds herself a stranger on her own ship, due to circumstance, and watching her battle those around her--but especially herself--in a quest for the truth is enlightening. It reveals even more facets to Devi than we thought existed. Fortune's Pawn does such a terrific job of presenting us strong Devi, weak Devi, fierce Devi, romantic Devi, ass-kicking Devi, etc. that to see her as more than those images is seemingly impossible. Yet, I loved her growth arc throughout the novel.
Honor's Knight moves forward through a series of multiple plot twists. Of course, for readers of Fortune's Pawn, there is an obvious reveal that needs to occur that the reader knows of but not Devi. Yet, even beyond that, Bach unveils the extent of her world-building and the secrets--answers, really--we've been yearning for since Fortune's Pawn are displayed in their full glory. Witnessing Devi react, process, and act on these new sources of information is the main motivation of the storyline. It works. Not only is Bach's world richly layered and morally ambiguous, keeping readers questioning their own set of standards and blurring that line between right and wrong, but it also keeps readers on the edge of their seat anticipating both the next unknown to fly at Devi and her consequent change as a result.
As with Fortune's Pawn, the secondary characters support and enhance Honor's Knight beautifully. All strong characters in their individual right, Devi's relationship with even the most minute of secondary characters carries weight. What's more, Honor's Knight is set up in such a manner that the nature of the relationships Devi has sustained from Fortune's Pawn change. In Honor's Knight there are many more layers to the seemingly two-dimensional and simplistic relationships Devi held in Fortune's Pawn and that evolution is a treat in and of itself.
Of course, the romance in this trilogy is note-worthy since it truly is hard-won. Honor's Knight is the least romantic of the trilogy, strife with conflict and the never-ending battle of inner conflict. Both the romantic leads, Devi and Rupert, must overcome their insecurities and pasts to be with one another and, even then, the unspeakable acts they've done hang in the air between them. While they're both fighters, they're also betrayers, and the bitterness that adds to their complex equation is entertaining, to say the least. Honor's Knight truly made me care for their relationship in a way I hadn't in Fortune's Pawn and the outcome of it is one I eagerly anticipate in Heaven's Queen.
Honor's Knight is not an easy novel to have written, I am sure. It sets up a dark, tragic problem at hand--one whose solution remains shrouded. Although this is Bach's debut trilogy, she is already a master at creating tension and forcing readers to think beyond their typical capabilities. Heaven's Queen will, undoubtedly, be a treat; I am sure of it.