Book Review: Heaven’s Queen by Rachel Bach

Heaven’s Queen by Rachel Bach

Genre: Science Fiction

Series: Book 3 of Paradox

Publisher: Orbit (April 22, 2014)

Author Information: Website | Twitter

Mogsy’s Rating: 4 of 5 stars

Finding a series where the momentum of the first book carries through to next and beyond is pretty special, and when you find one, you know it’s a keeper. The tone of Heaven’s Queen is in keeping with the fast-paced, and action-filled rollicking good fun of the previous two books in the trilogy, and ends things in an explosively spectacular manner. You really don’t want to mess with protagonist Deviana “Devi” Morris; that’s just like an invitation for bodily harm and extensive property damage.

Hot-headed and not one to hide the fact, Devi is an even bigger force to be reckoned with when she’s angry — especially with a deadly alien virus in her system. Through no fault of her own, she has gotten herself tangled up in multiple government conspiracies, had her private memories screwed with, and on top of that she’s on the run with what feels like practically everyone in the universe on her heels. In other words, just another average day in the life of our main character. Thing is, stubborn and reckless as she may be, Devi just wants to do the right thing. And that’s just a little tough to do when everyone is standing in the way and you have no idea who to trust.

But actually, there is one person Devi can count on, and that is Rupert Charkov, the man she once thought of as only the Glorious Fool’s cook, but now knows is a lot more than he appears. Those who have been interested in following the progression of the Devi-Rupert relationship (and I include myself in this group) will be happy to see their romance resolved in here, after a fashion. In any case, there’s no more ambiguity when it comes to where they stand, not like there was in the last book. In fact, I would say this one lays on the romance more thickly than either of the two novels that came before. That in itself isn’t a surprise; the romantic side-plot has been growing steadily in importance over the course of the series, so it’s only natural to see it come to fruition. What I hadn’t expected to see though was so much romantic drama in the first half of the novel.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing. If there’s one thing to take away from these books it is that Rachel Bach/Rachel Aaron never does things by halves. That’s the beauty of the trilogy. Everything about it is larger than life, from the in-your-face main character and her sexy and suave love interest to the amazing planets and exotic aliens, the twisty plot and the danger and thrills. It’s pure candy for the mind, and perhaps it’s fitting for the romance to be a little over-the-top as well, though definitely not overbearing.

A positive side effect of this is that Devi’s feelings for Rupert has added a layer of complexity to her character (it wouldn’t be love if it didn’t at least alter her perspective of herself of the world a little bit!) and to me that makes her more than just a trigger-happy merc. There are many ways for a woman to be strong and Devi prides herself on her independence, physical strength and military expertise, and while she is aware of her own faults she is also not ashamed of them. It’s true she’s not always agreeable or makes the best choices, but that’s Devi for you. She knows what she wants and won’t let anyone get in the way…not even herself. I love the fact that the foundation of who she doesn’t actually change all that much throughout the course of the story, and instead she adapts to changes in order to make the best out of a situation.

But what I guess readers really want to know is if this was a satisfying conclusion to the trilogy, and I would say absolutely. If you’ve enjoyed the spirit and high-energy pacing of the previous books, you’ll likely enjoy Heaven’s Queen as well. The author pulls out all the stops for this one, with action scenes worthy of a summer Hollywood blockbuster as the line between friend and foe continues to be blurred and the last few chapters of this book are absolutely insane.

Not only are these books entertaining, they’re also super accessible and you definitely do not need to be a card-carrying reader of the sci-fi genre to appreciate the story. If you’re looking for an invigorating and adventurous read with plenty of excitement and some humor thrown in, I highly recommend these Paradox books. Checkmate! Don’t ask me why I said that, it just seemed appropriate.

A review copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. My thanks to Orbit Books!

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