Petty criminal Zara Cole has a painful past that’s made her stronger than most, which is why she chose life in New Detroit instead of moving with her family to Mars. In her eyes, living inside a dome isn’t much better than a prison cell.Still, when Zara commits a crime that has her running scared, jail might be exactly where she’s headed. Instead Zara is recruited into the Honors, an elite team of humans selected by the Leviathan—a race of sentient alien ships—to explore the outer reaches of the universe as their passengers.

Zara seizes the chance to flee Earth’s dangers, but when she meets Nadim, the alien ship she’s assigned, Zara starts to feel at home for the first time. But nothing could have prepared her for the dark, ominous truths that lurk behind the alluring glitter of starlight.


“In the end, this was Nadim’s decision. His people, calling for help. In the Zone, the “honor among thieves” code might be bullsh@t, but out here, maybe we needed some code to live by.”


5 stellar writing stars!

And long review incoming…. sorry folks! I have too much glee just to make it short. Now you’ve been warned!

Science fiction is usually not my “thing” (dystopian aside) but after reading all very convincing posts and review written by fellow blogger friends I gave it a first try months ago with Lifel1k3 by Jay Kristoff and I loved it! By the way I ordered the first book from the Illuminae series!

I could not leave it at that of course, overachiever that I am, and ordered on Black Friday “Honor Among Thieves” by Rachel Caine and Ann Aguirre.

Now I already want the second book of this amazing series.


This series is pure Adventure with a big “A”!

It should be prescribed when you suffer from boredom and routine because you will embark on a living spaceship and explore space.


Of course you will have thrill, suspense, angst secrets, battles …

“The engines engaged and started to spin up, and the strangest thing happened: a wave surged inside of me, almost new to me. Anticipation. This felt like running, all right, running away from my past and everything in it. Racing full speed towards the unknown.

I was good at running.”


To summarize the plot really quickly: we are in a not too far future when humanity nearly destroyed earth but was saved thanks to aliens, the Leviathans. From the moment they rescued some astronauts and initiated contact with humans they shared their bio science and helped humans to save the earth and stop their destructive path.

In exchange the Leviathans ask for 100 people each year accompanying them for one year on a “space tour” to discover space, exchange knowledge etc.

Being chosen to go with them you are made an Honor.

Zara Cole our heroine is a misfit when we get to know her at the beginning of the story. She attracted problems with a big “P”. The kind of problem that could get you killed. Lucky for her she’s been chosen as Honor and will leave earth for one year aboard Nadim, her Leviathan “ship” in the company of Beatriz.

On their trip dangers and secrets await. Not what was promised or explained to Honors!

This is the plot in a tiny pod.


Let’s get to what made the book so unique and wonderful to me!


What I loved above all else was the originality *at least to the science fiction newbie that I am* of having a living space ship! It took me some time getting used to it as I always imagine a ship made of metal and glass but Nadim, our space ship/Leviathan is a living being welcoming humans inside of him to sail through space!

How he could “breathe” and navigate or rather “swim” through space was mind jumbling and asked me for some time to fully grasp the concept.

But it is brilliant!!!

The humans boarding Nadim must seem like bacteria to us humans if we have to use an analogy.


I’ve established that I think the concept is pretty inventive but there is more!

I absolutely adored the connection, the deep emotional bond between Leviathan Nadim and human Honor Zara Cole!

It was something absolutely beautiful that brought me to the brink of tears many times as it was so …inspiring? Emotional? Gorgeous? Touching? I don’t know how to explain what I felt when these two connected. It was like a big emotional wave washing upon me and I was …elated!

Maybe that’s me. Maybe I am over emotional. I don’t know but it affected me deeply.

“It was like a shadow had brushed over me, but a shadow on my soul, not on my skin. Took me a second to identify what it was, but I recognized the feeling instinctively: Nadim. And Nadim was sad.

It felt weird. And at the same time, it felt like something I’d always, unconsciously, needed-sound, where there’d only been silence. Presence, where there’d been loneliness.”


There is no love story or rather romance story in this book yet it is overflowing with love.

Friendship born from facing adversity together.

Deep bonding when you fit like two pieces of one being and become a “us”.

Gentleness because Nadim is a sweet gentle soul. I would say he is pure at heart.


Another huge asset to this book: its characters!

Honor Among Thieves has a badass heroine: Zara Cole!

Well who am I kidding? Even Bea went from scaredy cat to kickass by the end of the book.

Zara Cole is human with a piece of Leviathan DNA. She’s been slightly altered as a kid to help her eradicate atrocious.

Zara is essentially a rule breaker. In this new world where humanity escaped destruction thanks to the Leviathans she is like a spot on a stainless shirt: unwanted.

“It’s what I hated about the whole world, back on Earth. All the rules you had to follow without knowing why, and if you asked, you got branded difficult and damaged. Well, I am difficult. I am damaged.”

She went to “rehab” countless time just to escape and enter “The Zone” that place outside of Paradise where misfits and rejects survive in stealing and scamming. She had to fight her way. That will be a huge unexpected asset on her trip with Nadim and Beatriz.

Never to be fooled because life gave it harsh and she’s learned not to take everything at face value. She is the one unearthing secrets!

Wizz kid messing with mechanics and assembling home-made weapons she is street smart and is used to fight to survive, to flee and outsmart her opponents.

Even big bad Leviathan elders don’t deter her from helping and protecting her friends.

Smart, courageous she also is deeply compassionate and extremely loyal.


Zara is not the only exceptional character! I could not leave out Nadim. Sweet, courageous, gentle and lonely Nadim. I would love to “adopt” him even if he *or she because Leviathan don’t have a specific gender* would never fit inside my home! But what a great friend he would do!

Let’s not forget Bea, Zara’s accompanying honor because I loved her character’s growth! She went from fragile and afraid flower to badass space traveler. Think about it she altered the medic bot to give it a sarcastic and caustic sense of humor! I loved it!!!!

“Honor Cole. You are injured. Processing severity.” 3looks like we need to amputate. You will enjoy your new robot hands, manufactured by Jitachi, the industrial leader in medical robotics.”

“No way!”

“Only a little bedside levity. Are you not crazy entertained?”


Last but not least the plot was perfect. With secrets to unearth, new species and worlds to meet, tension, fight, escapes, pursuits, twists and turns.




Have you read it? Do you love science fiction books?

Thanks for reading!



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  1. I’ve got to read this! I love a flawed, tough female character and Zara sounds awesome. And I used to live near Detroit so New Detroit has me curious. Plus, I always perk up when I read the word Mars. I’m glad you are finally getting into this genre. My best experience with it is forgetting it’s not even set in my world and being so caught up int he characters. Of course, I also love visiting new worlds:)

  2. See, I told you SF could be fun! And now you know the truth, it’s just a genre, much like any other genre, but what happens, usually happens off world, or in the future, is all! There’s action, adventure, mystery, murder and mayhem, and yes, great characters to bond over.

    You obviously found the right book to get you started, and this one is perfect! I’m so glad you’ve joined the club. 😉