Title: Heaven's Queen (Paradox, #3)
Author: Rachel Bach
Rating: 4 Stars
*This review is spoiler free for the Paradox Trilogy*
Honor's Queen is, oddly enough, a much more introspective piece than its predecessor. While it has no shortage of action, wit, or humor, it also forces us to face--head-on--the atrocities in this world and the gray nature of its secondary characters. Fortune's Pawn certainly hinted at an unquiet nature present in space while Honor's Knight exposed the dark underbelly of the intergalactic world, but those facts and figures were left to float about in our minds...until now. In this final installment, Devi has to do something, trust someone, and deal. In a world where the secondary characters are not black or white, but gray, grayer, and grayest, this task becomes incredibly difficult.
Thus, I wound up loving the direction the romance took in this installment with Devi cautiously learning to trust Rupert once again after their formerly rocky emotional relationship. What's more, I loved the evolution of her relationship with the secondary characters we came to love back in Fortune's Pawn. In Heaven's Queen Devi takes chances and often winds right back at square one, but she is making those decisions--which, really, makes a world of a difference. It's a fascinating story simply because we, as the reader, still don't know who to trust or to what degree to trust them and, as such, neither does Devi. Moreover, the difficult moral decisions that have been made in this world are not easily brushed aside and handled. For me, so much of the sheer energy and kudos from this debut trilogy comes from creating such a difficult, complex scenario to begin with and continuing to probe it, poke at it, and find a solution, no matter how simplistic.
Having read every book in this series back-to-back, I didn't stop in-between the formulate theories or evaluate what I wanted--nay, needed--from a conclusion. Perhaps that made the difference. I went into Heaven's Queen wanting Devi to grow, to find her happily-ever-after, and to become a better person. I got that. It may not have been nearly as tension-filled as I'd have wanted (or bittersweet as I'd have liked) and there were certainly moments where this finale lost me, whether it be in Devi's reactions to meeting old friends or simply in the bow-tie conclusion, but seeing as this trilogy was spectacular from start to finish, I don't have a bone to pick with Heaven's Queen after all. Needless to say, I need Rachel Bach to polish off another sci-fi trilogy--fast!--preferably with a cameo appearance by Devi. I'm going to miss this kick-butt, no-nonsense, act-first-think-later, brave girl. I really am.