Book Review: Honor’s Knight by Rachel Bach

I spent my day reading Honor’s Knight (Science Fiction 358 pages) by Rachel Bach on the porch. This is the second book in the Paradox series and I’ve enjoyed the story greatly so far.

“Devi Morris has a lot of problems. And not the fun easy-to-shoot kind either. After a mysterious attack left her short several memories and one partner, she’s determined to keep her head down, do her job, and get on with her life. But even though Devi’s not actually looking for it – trouble keeps finding her. She sees things no one else can, the black stain on her hands is growing, and she’s entangled with the cook she thought she hated. Now the mysteries she’s been avoiding are starting to find her, and as the stakes get higher, missing memories might be the least of Devi’s problems.”

I like the technological aspects of this story and how Devi names all of her weapons, including her suit. I have a tendency to name everything, so this is perfectly understandable to me. I especially liked the parts where Devi discusses how she came up with the names for her guns. I also like the space travel aspect, where they visit different worlds and there are a variety of space-faring aliens out in the universe. The series is very imaginative, both through the aliens and alien cultures and through the technology.

These books appear to be relatively short, but they aren’t brain candy books. As much as they aren’t brain candy books, I’ve been deeply engrossed in the characters and in the story. Though, I seem to alternate between relating to Devi and relating to Rupert.

Devi is stubborn and does everything the really hard way. And I relate to that more than I can ever express. She also is a person of extreme honor. While she has the ability to kill just about anything, Devi believes in the value of life. That’s a really difficult concept to explain sometimes, but I really feel as though Devi clearly demonstrates what real honor looks like.

There was a lot about this story and the characters involved that hit really close to where I’m at in my own life right now. How Rupert and Devi spent so much time trying to do what was best for the other person because of how strong their love is, but how it just seemed to put them against each other. How they each followed their hearts and it only made things worse between them.

“Losing my memories was bad enough, but at least that was explainable as the result of a head wound. Now, between my weird reactions to the cook, the dream, and the bugs, it was getting harder to convince myself that I wasn’t going batty. I didn’t feel insane, though. Confused, sure, and sick of things I couldn’t explain, but not crazy. But then, didn’t all crazy people think they were sane? …. It was really insane to be afraid of someone for a thing they’d done in a dream, but I just couldn’t seem to get over it.” (Honor’s Knight page 67).

I’ve gone through a lot in the last year, and there have been quite a few times when I have thought that my brain was entirely too scrambled and I have wondered if this is what not being quite right feels like. It’s certainly disconcerting to have memory gaps and there have been several times when I’ve had dreams so powerful and profound that they’ve unbalanced me for days and still have the power to unbalance me if I think too much about them. So these sections where Devi starts to actually realize that everything isn’t quite okay actually hit me pretty solidly.

Another section on page 258 also hit me pretty hard. “Now there was nothing. No glory, no hope. I’d thought I could make things better, but I’d failed. I hadn’t changed anything.” And this is exactly how I’ve felt for the last six or seven months. I’ve tried to hard to fix things and make them better, but not only have I failed miserably at making things better, but I also made them genuinely worse. So reading this book was very interesting for me because of how many similarities it feels like there are between what I’ve been going through in my own life and all the crap that Devi goes through as she struggles to figure out what happened to her memories and how to get her life back on track. She spends a lot of time moving so quickly from crisis to crisis that she doesn’t have time to breathe and then when she does have time to breathe, that down time takes even more from her.

When Devi and Rupert finally do attempt to talk things through, Devi doesn’t trust Rupert at all and I really empathized with Rupert during this whole exchange, as I have been the one who has done all the hurting in the past six or seven months. I’m the one who gets everything wrong. I’m the one who did a lot of bad, stupid things. I’m the one who tried too hard to fix things and only made them a thousand times worse. And I’m pretty sure my apologizes went even worse than Rupert’s did. And that really dug in again on page 271. “‘I told myself I should hate you,” he said. “I tried to, actually, but I never could manage it. Even when I was furious at you, you delighted me. I knew I was being unforgivably reckless, that it would be better for everyone if I could just leave you alone, but I kept finding excuses to stay. I wanted to spend more time with you, not less. …. You made me want a future,” he said at last. “For the first time since I’d lost my family, I started looking forward instead of back. Even after I took your memories and made you hate me, just knowing you were still there, still safe, it made me hopeful.”‘

And that’s pretty much exactly it. Wanting a future and having hope makes things a lot harder to deal with, especially once you realize that you can never have those things. The best you can do is to be successful in your chosen career. Things start getting so much more complicated and difficult to deal with once you start pretending you have a future.

Overall, I’m enjoying this series greatly and I’m sad that I only have one more book left in the series. I think I’d rate this book as a high three or a low four on my rating scale, as I’m fairly certain I’ll wind up reading them again at some point.

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About C.A. Jacobs

Just another crazy person, masquerading as a writer.
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