Honor Bound by Rachel Caine
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is the sequel to last year's Honor Among Thieves, and suffers somewhat from being the second book of a trilogy. The author dives right into the story with little or no infodumping and recapping, and if you aren't already familiar with the worldbuilding and characters, you're going to be pretty confused. That said, I really liked how the authors expand both their characterizations and world, and how they raise the stakes.
And wow, are they ever raised. An ancient Lovecraftian evil returns to life in this book, and our sentient living spaceship Nadim and his crew, including our protagonist Zara Cole, are thrown into a battle to determine the fate of the galaxy. Along the way, Zara grows as a character, coming into her own as a leader and working out some of the kinks in her relationship with Nadim. (As far as "kinks" go, the authors hint at a possible polyamorous triad with the three main characters, which is pretty far out there for a young adult book. One wonders how far the final volume in the trilogy will take this.)
One knock a reader might have with this book is the massive cliffhanger ending, breaking off on the verge of a huge battle. This final scene is very well written, and definitely whets the reader's appetite for the concluding book. If you don't like that kind of thing, though, this ending will drive you nuts.
For me, this book's many pluses outweigh the few minuses, and I can't wait for the next book.
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