My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is the third book in the Honors trilogy, which is a young adult space opera with...space whales! This is the Leviathan, a species that can not only survive and travel in vacuum, but carve out hollows within themselves where human technology can be installed--including docking bays, hatches, and airlocks--and provide oxygen to their passengers. And apparently generate artificial gravity as well. And they can also break the lightspeed barrier, and gain the power to do all this by "recharging" via the wavelengths of specific stars' light. Your tolerance for this story depends on your being able to accept this nonsense from the start. I could, because the story and characters are worth it, but be aware.
You really need to have read the first two books to make sense of this final chapter, as there is no recap or list of dramatis personae. I would encourage you to do so, however, as those are fine books in their own right. All the plot and character threads come home in this book, where Zara Cole, Pilot of her Leviathan Nadim, together with their Navigator Beatriz, face off for the last time against the newly awakened Lovecraftian-style alien god Lifekiller, who they inadvertently released in the previous book, Honor Bound.
As was hinted previously, the romance between the three main characters becomes a full-blown polyamorous triad. Zara and Beatriz are together physically, and Zara, Beatriz and Nadim are together mentally, in some well-written sex scenes. The romance is not the main thrust of the book, however--saving the galaxy, and the Sol system itself in the gargantuan final battle, is. The setup for this takes most of the middle section of the book, and while I'm sure some may feel this dragged, the revelations of plot and characters kept my interest. The secondary characters are dealt with well--particularly Zhang Chao-Zing, who undergoes a horrifying transformation that enables her to play a pivotal role in the end. And may I say the way Lifekiller goes out? Delicious.
Everything is wrapped up well, most of the characters survive, and everything is righted in the end. This is one of the outstanding YA trilogies of recent years, and well worth your time.