You are as you should be. It was the kindest thing anyone had ever said to me, and it felt…pure.”Zara Cole, Honor Bound Chapter 10, Page 202
Author: Rachel Caine and Ann Aguirre
If you have yet to read my review on Honor Among Thieves you really should go read it before you read this review. Honor Bound is the second book in the Honors Trilogy and to really understand some of the things I am going to talk about you are going to probably want at least a little knowledge on the first book and my feelings about it.
Now with that out of the way let’s talk about Honor Bound. This might be a bit shorter than the last review because for me to give a long summer about this book would mean giving away much of what happened in the last book. There will be some spoilers but I will try to keep them vague. My feelings about this book are all over the place right now, so I guess lets start with the summary as we did the last time.
Honor Bound picks up right where the last book left off. They have just been in a fight and now Zara is getting treated for alien blood that is now all over her. That blood is also poisonous. Zara, Nadim, Beatriz, and the crew of others they have picked up along the way know that they will not be able to survive long if their ships do not get the starlight they need to heal and repair themselves. They set off on a journey to find a place called the Sliver where they will be able to purchase starlight baths and some weapons for their next battle.
Sliver is even more of an outlaw alien hideout than any of them could imagine. They quickly learned from their alien honor friend Starcurrent that music is a universal currency and that they would likely be able to trade much of the music that they had on board Nadim to get them whatever currency was used on this planet. They were rich, but that wasn’t going to buy them everything they needed. This meant that they were going to have to find another way to get the second type of currency they needed. They were going to fight for it.
Overall they spend the majority of the book on the planet until the head honcho of the place calls them up and tells them she wants them gone because they are going to bring the phage to them. Zara makes a deal with them and they go off to find something that they want. The problems start to arise at this point when Zara and her crew realize that this alien queen of sorts has sent them on a suicide mission. The crew recovers what they want and in the process of transporting it back they awaken it and that is when things get real. From that point forward not only are Zara and the crew fighting their original battle, but now they have been forced into fighting a battle they never intended to.
I did not like this book as much as I liked the first one. It wasn’t bad but there were so many things going on that I had a hard time remember what character was what and who was doing what when. I think this story definitely could have been pared down a little bit to only include some of the information it did. There was a lot of interesting things happening, that did serve to push the story forward, but just way too many idea. I also found myself really annoyed because the relationship that I was hoping was not trying to hint at being romantic turned out to be a romantic relationship. Then they added more people to it, it was weird. I still don’t know how I feel about it.
My other problem with this book is that it isn’t very well written for what you find out the characters look like. Almost the entirety of the first book I thought all of the characters were white. They were not. I found out at some point that Zara and Beatriz are actually black, which I think is a great thing. Except that the descriptions of the characters never lead me to believe that until it was flat out said. I was hoping that would change in book two which is why I didn’t touch on this in the original review. I focused more on the story there. It actually somehow got worse in the second book. They referenced it more often which was nice, but they just didn’t do those characters justice. One incident I am thinking of is when they talk about Zara washing her hair. It is one of the few things they actually use to explain that she is black, and they just gloss over it. Both of the ladies who wrote this book are white, and as a white woman myself I find it very annoying that they wrote these characters to be black and then kind of white washed them in my eyes.
The final problem I had with this book specifically had to do with making characters non-binary. Now, I do not have an issue with them doing this, it is the way they did it that makes me mad. Once again they just kind of threw the pronouns around and made a few people non-binary and didn’t really touch on it any more. I honestly forgot half the time that these characters were non-binary. That was not something I loved. I did sort of foresee that issue in the first book but it was only touched on briefly at the end of the book so I had held out hope that it would be explained better in the second book. It was not.
Unlike the first book I am not overly impressed with this book. Maybe it is because I don’t love the story so all the other things that are not great about it are making me upset, but I honestly don’t know that I recommend this to anyone. If I felt like the characters were portrayed better and actually had characteristics of the ethnicities they were trying to say they were I think I might have liked it a little more. If you read the first book and you like the story then you may be able to see through the issues I had with it, but overall I just don’t love it. Now I am left trying to decide if I want to read the 3rd book just to finish the trilogy, or if I want to just skip the last book all together because at this point I don’t have hope that the things that are bugging me are going to get any better. Let me know in the comments what you would do.