While I enjoyed the first book in the series, I wasn’t completely enthralled with it. However, this sequel blew it out of the water completely. Honor Bound (The Honors, #2) by Rachel Caine and Ann Aguirre is the perfect action-filled sequel in this science fiction series.
Zara Cole was a thief back on Earth, but she’s been recently upgraded to intergalactic fugitive. On the run after a bloody battle in a covert war that she never expected to be fighting, Zara, her co-pilot Beatriz, and their Leviathan ship Nadim barely escaped the carnage with their lives.
Now Zara and her crew of Honors need a safe haven, far from the creatures who want to annihilate them. But they’ll have to settle for the Sliver: a wild, dangerous warren of alien criminals. The secrets of the Sliver may have the power to turn the tide of the war they left behind—but in the wrong direction.
Soon Zara will have to make a choice: run from the ultimate evil—or stand and fight.
The world that Caine and Aguirre have created is expanded even more in this second book. I loved that we got to explore more of it, especially such an awesome location as the Sliver. It was also really nice to see a lot more action in this book. I found the pacing to be much better than the first book, as you didn’t have to spend any time building up the background information and instead are immediately tossed into the plot. I never found myself waiting for something to happen since the action felt constant from start to finish. It’s such a wonderful thing when you get a book that you can’t put down because you have to find out what’s going to happen next.
Zara is an interesting character. I’ve always appreciated her sassiness, but she can become a bit overbearing sometimes. It seems that continued some in this sequel and now, even with such talented side characters, she continues to be the only one who can solve the puzzles or get the group out of the situations. I would like to see her struggle more in the following book and actually make wrong decisions. In fact, her character really just needs to get nerfed some (kind of like Captain Marvel, but I digress…). I also really just want to explore the secondary characters more. It would be nice if the next book included multiple POVs to really round out the story. However, I do love seeing her relationship with Nadim (and Bea *wink wink*) develop more. Also, I have to mention how awesome the new side characters introduced in this book are. They are so interesting and diverse.. and bonus points for all of them being aliens!!!
Speaking of diversity, it was really interesting to see how gender and sexuality norms are challenged in this book. As it makes sense for aliens to not conform to human anatomy, it was so refreshing to see those differences play such a large role in how they are addressed and interact with one another. It was a very unique way to deliver social commentary without feeling preachy in any way. This was also explored through the development of Zara and Nadim’s relationship, as their bond seems to be expanding into something more intimate than what was shown in the first book. There’s also a new element added as well that examines it from a very different viewpoint that isn’t explored often, or at all, in YA novels. It kind of took me by surprise but the more it was hinted at, the more it grew on me.
All in all, I thought this sequel was a fantastic follow-up to the first book. I appreciated that the pacing was better and there was more action well-spaced throughout the entire story. The ending also set up the finale really well and I cannot wait to see what will happen next. The only criticism I would have, is that I wish there were multiple POVs and that they will make their appearance in the last book to really help round the story.
Final Verdict: 5/5 Stars
Have your read this series yet? What are your thoughts on Zara as the main character? Do you wish we would get POVs from the other characters as well?