Goodreads: Honor Lost
Series: The Honors #3
Published: February 11, 2020
Space renegade Zara Cole may have finally met her match. Lifekiller—a creature that can devour entire planets is spreading terror throughout the universe, and it seems nothing can stand in the monstrous godking’s way.
Reeling from a series of battles, Zara and her wounded band of allies are going to need a strategy before they face Lifekiller again. Zara’s street smarts may not be enough when their enemy could be anywhere, destroying civilizations and picking his teeth with the bones.
And just when it feels like she’s reached a special place in her bond with Bea and Nadim, an ex from Earth with an ax to grind comes after her with nefarious intentions. With human enemies, alien creatures, and mechanical stalkers on her tail, it’s down to the wire for Zara to save the galaxy—and the people she calls home—before the godking consumes them all.
I’m a huge fan of the first two books in the Honors series, Honor Among Thieves and Honor Bound, and genuinely believe it’s a highly original story that hasn’t received nearly enough recognition in YA circles. It is with some disappointment, then, that I admit Honor Lost is the weakest installment of the series. While it continues with an exciting plot and a wonderfully diverse cast of characters, and it neatly ties up various plot lines, it feels rushed and choppy; there’s simply too much going on.
There are a couple different major plots that need to be resolved–one involving space adventures and one involving Zara’s past on Earth (I won’t be more specific because it would spoil books 1 and 2), and I spent much of the book wondering how everything was going to be wrapped up, particularly because the space-related plot is EPIC. The authors really had to ramp up the stakes to make book 3 more exciting than book 2, and I don’t think it really worked in the space allotted. I can almost see this being a four book series instead of a trilogy.
My other issue was that the book feels more episodic than the previous two. There are a bunch of mini battles as the characters track down their main prey for a final epic battle, and…I skimmed a lot of them. It seems as though every time the characters think they’re out of hot water, some new obstacle pops up, and it was a bit much. Some of this could probably have been edited out.
Lastly, I think I was finally weirded out by the human/alien relationship–something I actually praised in the first two books. In my review of book one, Honor Among Thieves, I wrote:
The alien-ship/human relationship is one of the more unique aspects of the book. I’m not 100% sure how I would classify it (But maybe that’s the point? There’s something new between humans and aliens that just isn’t in the human experience?). I’ve seen other reader’s call it “friendship,” which definitely fits, but it also seems pretty visceral and physical in ways I don’t think most friendships are
In my review of Honor Bound, I wrote:
I also still think the Leviathan/human relationship is one of the most unique parts of the book, but it does get a little weirder in book two for me. I noted in my review of the first book that other people were calling it a “friendship” and that term didn’t feel right to me; it’s too intimate and physical. Basically there are almost sexual undertones, and that comes out more strongly in Honor Bound, as Zara seems on the verge of contemplating a threesome with her Leviathan and their other crew member. It’s not phrased that way, probably because this is YA, but the suggestion is definitely there, and I’m not 100% certain how I feel about it. I guess readers are supposed to say something to themselves like “It’s space and a new alien race; anything is possible and correct” and move on.
Things ramp up over the series because it is very clear in Honor Lost that the relationship is a polyamorous sexual one, shared by the Leviathan and his/her two bonded crew members. It’s still a unique take for YA but not really my thing in terms of reading about romances.
I like the series. I enjoyed this installment well enough since it has a great cast of characters and wonderfully sweeping view of the universe. I wish it had been a stronger ending for what was otherwise a strong series, though.