I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
science fiction in a hardcover edition that was published by Katherine Tegen Books on February 11, 2020 and has 448 pages.
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Other books by this author which I have reviewed include Corsets & Clockwork, Hell Fire, Shady Lady, Devil's Punch, Enclave, Agave Kiss, Honor Among Thieves, Honor Bound, Undone, Unknown, Ghost Town, Rachel Caine, Bite Club, Dark and Stormy Knights, Devil's Bargain, Devil's Due, Last Breath, Unseen, Hex Appeal, Unbroken, Black Dawn, Working Stiff, Two Weeks' Notice, Bitter Blood, Kiss of Death, Fall of Night, Daylighters, Kicking It, Prince of Shadows, Ink and Bone, Paper and Fire, Ash and Quill, Killman Creek, Smoke and Iron
Third in The Honors science fiction series for Young Adult readers and revolving around Zara Cole and Nadim, a living spaceship.
For some reason, Honor Lost feels more Young Adult than the previous two stories. It’s too conspicuous in its fervor, aided by Caine/Aguirre’s use of first person protagonist point-of-view from Zara’s perspective. Zara is so over-the-top in her determination to “save the universe” that it’s a bit jarring.
The characters have mellowed quite a bit since Honor Among Thieves, 1, and Honor Bound, 2, which takes some of the tension out of it. Although, the events that involve Chao-Xing are definitely tense! It does make for an interesting way to solve that scary conflict.
Typhon is amazingly graceful in his acknowledgements of Zara’s actions. Meanwhile that Derry is such a little jerk. True, he is consistent with himself. And, like all bad guys, it’s always someone else’s fault.
I’ve liked the Bruqvisz from the start. They’re honest in their dealings and filled with gusto for life and battle. It seems they’re great jokesters as well! Too bad, really, that we find out so late.
“Physically soft … but you have a ruthless streak … and the capacity to regulate it.”
Caine/Aguirre make up for their mellowed characters with some scary action that requires creative thinking, and they’ve “ended” this series very nicely while leaving a back door open for the future — that “interesting” and terrifying back history on Bacia! Egods!!
From heroes to fugitives, Zara and Bea are being hunted, even as they and Typhon and his crew hunt for Lifekiller.
It will be a glorious last stand.
Honor Zara Akinyi Cole, a.k.a., Zeerakull, deep-bonded with the young Leviathan Nadim as his pilot, their bonded name is Zadim. Her mother and sister, Kiz, qualified for Mars and live in the Roma Colony.
Honor Beatriz Teixeira is Nadim’s starsinger with a brilliant voice and has become Zara’s lover. Honor Starcurrent, a tentacled Abyin Dommas, has joined their crew after the disaster in Honor Among Thieves. EMITU is an autodoc, which Beatriz has reprogrammed for snark, lol. Who knew EMITU could get so uppity, lol. I do like him! Xyllarva “Xyll” is a captive Phage, a sentient individual who came awake when he bathed in Honor Bound. When Beatriz and Starcurrent join Zara and Nadim, they become Starocean. They will evolve yet again and become Bezardim.
Typhon is an Elder Leviathan who has been badly wounded and holds himself aloof from his crew: Marko Dunajski and Zhang Chao-Xing, a.k.a., JongShowJing. Typhon’s deep bond name becomes Lightstorm. Honor Yusuf is another of the survivors of the attack in Honor Among Thieves.
Then Lightstorm and Zadim deep bond and become Men Shen.
…big lizards, mercenaries and bards of the universe who believe in the glory of battle, who have become allies of “Zeerakull”, joining them in their battle with their mech ships, which require ruthenium as fuel. Suncross commands their force with Followshome, Ghostwalk, and Fairweather part of his crew.
…Starcurrent’s home planet populated by the Abyin Dommas, tentacled beings, who prize singing…and whose world is protected by a warshield. The Planetary Defense Coalition is only momentarily grateful. The leaders include Searoam.
The Abyin Dommas prefer gender-free pronouns such as zis and ze. Haelara is another planet of Abyin Dommas.
The Phage are…
…a deadly enemy swarm that can strip a planet or ship of life within hours. They had been co-opted by the god-kings. Flaff is an adequate nutrition source.
Lifekiller is the god-king, one of the lesser of the Elder Gods, the enemy who has been entombed for centuries.
The Sliver is…
…a base for raiders, pirates, traders, and illegal and legal salvage operators. Its ruler, Bacia Annont, is a formidable entity. Businesses and inhabitants include Pinky’s bar.
Other alien races include the Elaszi, blob-like beings with a hive memory who scavenge the universe. The Felkin? Fellkin? are another race. Oborub, a.k.a., Jellies, are more allies of Bacia’s.
Back on Earth
The Honors program is meant to be a high honor for chosen humans who become the Pilot-and-Navigator crew on a Leviathan on a journey of exploration. A lie. The Honors Council consists of twelve international representatives. The Honorable Aben Rance Trent is the high judge advocate for North America and the chair of the Honors program. Lieutenant Colonel Atticus Boyd commands First Space Division Bravo and Fort Copernicus on the Luna Colony. Camp Kuna is a prison for juveniles. Dr Yu was Zara’s therapist.
Honor Jon Anderson seems to be Quell‘s pilot with Derry part of the crew. A rather useless one. Jury is a mechanical judge, jury, and executor. The Leviathan Ophelia has been paid off.
Torian Deluca is a criminal billionaire with fingers in too many pots. He’s furious with Zara after events in Honor Among Thieves. The weak, addicted, betraying Derry McKinnon had been Zara’s companion and lover back in New Detroit.
Leviathan, a.k.a., Singers, are…
…whale-like beings who sail the universe, refueling from the light of stars. They are able to reshape the insides of their bodies to suit their crew, which is always a pilot and a starsinger with whom they eventually bond, becoming one. There are two stages for their crew: Honor and then Journey. The outsides of their bodies can be mechanically rebuilt, installing armor and weaponry.
The Journey is something of a lie the Leviathan tell Earth, for it is part of their secret war. Part of the Leviathan bargain with Earth is their tech and medical knowledge.
The Cover and Title
The cover has a black background with faint white pinpricks of stars overshadowed with a ragged-edged circle of red-to-magenta that itself forms a background for a star array of white lines overlaid with three upside-down triangles of white light descending in size, the largest meeting in flares of blue at the tips. On top of that is a triangular silhouette of a spaceship. The bottom fifth is an active sea of agitated waves in a lighter magenta and black.
The text is all in white, starting with an info blurb at the very top with the authors’ names below that. The title is centered over the central image with deep blue planets forming two of the “O”s. At the very bottom is an epigraph.
The title is a toss-up as to who is Honor Lost.