Delivering on a Promise: A Review of Heaven’s Queen

Heaven’s Queen (2014)
Written By: Rachel Bach
Genre: Science Fiction
Pages: 388 (Trade Paperback)
Series: Paradox Book 3
Publisher: Orbit

Why I Chose It: I Needed to finish this series. Needed with a capital Need.

Premise:

From the moment she took a job on Captain Caldswell’s doomed ship, Devi Morris’s life has been one disaster after another: government conspiracies, two alien races out for her blood, an incurable virus that’s eating her alive.

Now, with the captain missing and everyone — even her own government — determined to hunt her down, things are going from bad to impossible. The sensible plan would be to hide and wait for things to blow over, but Devi’s never been one to shy from a fight, and she’s getting mighty sick of running.

It’s time to put this crisis on her terms and do what she knows is right. But with all human life hanging on her actions, the price of taking a stand might be more than she can pay.

Spoiler Free

Discussion: Well, it did it. The third book lived up to my expectations and more. The more I like a book, the more worried I am for its sequels, and after reading the second one I was really worried. But Heaven’s Queen delivered. Always nice when the end of a trilogy does that.

Devi was just as badass as she’s always been but now she’s starting to think about what exactly she’s shooting, and I loved that about her. She’s still going to do things her way, but she ends up in a position where she’s not just the gun. She actually understands more about the situation than anyone around her, and she fights tooth and nail to change the way other people think. Rupert gains a little more nuance in this installment as well, but I think the best part of this series (and this book in particular) were its villains.

I love a bad guy who is so unreasonable that I can just hate him without any guilt (I’m thinking of you, Umbridge). But I also love a bad guy I respect, and understand, and sympathize with. One I want to win almost as much as the protagonist. Devi had a chance to fight both in this book, and it was brilliant. I got to cheer for unadulterated violence against someone I really hated and agonize over maybe almost killing someone who was just as right as Devi was but in the wrong ways.

And boy did I agonize. It’s a rare book nowadays that can really make me fear for the characters I love. I know too much about the process so I’m sure I know how things are going to turn out. But I was biting my nails through the last hundred pages of Heaven’s Queen because, forget the fate of the universe, my favorite characters might die. And one of those favorites was the villain so really I was screwed either way. And Bach managed to induce terror just before pulling off a very satisfying ending. It gave me a bit of a hangover. The kind where I realize I have a free moment in the day, and I reach for my book only to realized there’s nothing left to read, and I go through everything I felt in those last few pages again…. Book hangovers are the best.

I feel a lot different about the romance in the first book now that I’ve read the second and the third. I still think the way Devi fell in love was kind of abrupt but I’m realizing that was the point. It was sudden and ungrounded and maybe a little bit shallow. Definitely not based in truth or genuine care for the other person. But that gave it a chance to grow into something more mature. Their conflict in the second book was heartbreaking and harrowing. But by the third one I loved the trust and partnership they’d settled into. They made a fantastic team as they each realized love wasn’t a weakness. I felt like Bach’s sex scenes were maybe a little idealistic, but in a lot of ways, that matched her style throughout the trilogy.

The series wasn’t perfect by any means. There were times I felt like a character’s actions didn’t line up with my understanding of their motivations, and I couldn’t tell if I’d missed something or if that was just the way it was written. And I would have loved to have seen more of Paradox, Devi’s homeworld. The series was named for it but despite it being one of the more interesting societies in their universe, it was off screen for the entire trilogy except for a couple pages at the beginning. A missed opportunity there.

In Conclusion: That being said, I ended up loving these books. They were fun and easy to read and surprisingly deep in places. If you’re interested, I would recommend taking the time to read all three, as the ending of the last one more than made up for the non-ending of the first one. I think I’m going to give some of Bach’s other series a try as well. She writes fantasy under the name Rachel Aaron. I’m not sure whether I’m hoping for another hangover or not.

2 Comments

  • Shara White August 22, 2017 at 1:16 pm

    YAS! So glad you finished, and so glad this was a successful trilogy for you, despite the first book ending in such a maddening cliffhanger! I adored this trilogy, so I’m glad to see it pick up another fan!

    Reply
  • Weasel of Doom August 22, 2017 at 4:31 pm

    I liked it, but I felt that Devi should have been A LOT more pissed off at Caldwell and Co. She seems to have forgiven them awfully quickly for my taste 🙂

    Reply

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: