Covers by Jeff Huang
I think a lot of the classic SF I read in the 70s and 80s would be characterized as YA today. Certainly the novels of Clifford D. Simak, Roger Zelazny and Anne McCaffrey still speak to a modern audience, and would probably do well in the YA section of the bookstore.
Or maybe not. Every new generation finds writers who speak its language, and sets aside the treasured writers of older generations. And that’s the way it should be. It’s good to pass along our love of Simak, Zelazny, McCaffrey and others to young readers… but it’s a good idea to take the time to see what the heck they’re reading as well.
What are they reading? Lots of stuff. The YA section of my local Barnes & Noble is crammed full of new releases every week, and a great many of them are science fiction. And more than a few look pretty interesting, too. The Honors trilogy by Rachel Caine and Ann Aguirre piqued my interest recently… probably because I saw the one-sentence summary for Honor Lost (“Quick-thinking Leviathan pilot Zara Cole must stop a planet-eating monster or lose everyone she loves in the finale of this acclaimed trilogy”), and let’s face it, planet-eating monsters are my weakness.
My respect for series protocol demands I read Volume One first, however. So let’s have a look at Honor Among Thieves, published by Katherine Tegen Books in February of 2018. Here’s the publisher’s description.
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 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.
Sequel Honor Bound arrived in February of last year.
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.
And finally Honor Lost, which hit bookstores just last month.
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.
Zara’s street smarts may not be enough when their enemy could be anywhere, destroying civilizations and picking his teeth with the bones.
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.
Space renegades, Leviathan ships, alien criminals, and planet-eating monsters? This is a series that presses all of my buttons. I can’t seriously be expected to resist something as perfectly suited to my psyche as this.
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