Heaven’s Queen by Rachel Bach science fiction book reviewsHeaven’s Queen by Rachel Bach

Heaven’s Queen by Rachel Bach science fiction book reviewsHeaven’s Queen (2014) is the final book in Rachel Bach’s PARADOX trilogy. I read the first two novels, Fortune’s Pawn and Honor’s Knight nine years ago in audio format, but this final installment, though published in print in 2014, wasn’t available in audio format until November 2022 (I didn’t look into the reason for this). Not surprisingly, I had to go back and read the first two novels again to refresh my memory because I didn’t remember the story very well. This review may contain mild spoilers for the first two books.

Heaven’s Queen begins with a prologue, set several years earlier, that lets us see the story, for just a moment, from Commander Brian Caldswell’s perspective. Now we finally understand his history, motivations, and character in a way that we haven’t heretofore. We also understand how high the stakes are and, therefore, why some of Caldswell’s immoral actions might seem justified, at least to himself. Yes, he is responsible for enslaving a girl named Maat who uses her magic to enslave other girls, but these “daughters of Maat” are the only ones who can kill the phantoms who destroy planets full of people.

After the prologue, we jump back into the story, right where we left off in Honor’s Knight. Devi and Rupert have escaped the people and the aliens who are trying to capture Devi because they want to use the magic that’s been building in her body since she was infected with a virus earlier in the story. She’s been told that scientists might be able to figure out how to harness the virus to kill the phantoms, thus saving the universe and freeing Maat and her daughters. But Devi doesn’t know who can be trusted to perform this research. Will she end up as a victim of the virus, a lab rat, a weapon, or a savior?
In the past, Devi, one of the best mercs in the universe, would have gladly laid down her life for others, but now that she has finally found love, she isn’t so eager to be that kind of hero.

So, Devi’s on the run and she’s got Rupert, the super hot chef (who’s way more than a chef) by her side. She isn’t absolutely certain that she can trust him, either, and she’s got a few good reasons not to do so, but she’ll have plenty of opportunities to test his loyalty in Heaven’s Queen. Some of the things she learns about Rupert are unwelcome and explain his past reticence about a relationship with her.

Can Devi free the slaves, save the universe, stay alive, and be with Rupert? The chances are slim, but if anyone can do it, Devi can.

Heaven’s Queen by Rachel Bach science fiction book reviewsHeaven’s Queen is a dramatic and exciting finale to the PARADOX trilogy. Fans who’ve enjoyed the series so far will likely be happy with how it ends. The pace rarely lets up, there’s plenty of action, surprises occur, mysteries are solved, and some characters make unexpectedly noble sacrifices. There’s much to like.

On the other hand, I’m still struggling to like Devi (especially after the way she treats a former lover in this book), I’m not completely convinced of the love between Devi and Rupert, and the moral dilemma, which was simplistic to begin with, was also solved a little too simply (though not easily).

Emily Durante is the narrator of Tantor Audio’s edition of Heaven’s Queen. I’m not sure if she recorded this book years ago and Tantor finally released it in 2022, or if she only recently recorded it. Either way, the eight-year gap isn’t noticeable at all. She does a great job.

Published in 2014 (print) and 2022 (audio). From the moment she took a job on Captain Caldswell’s doomed ship, Devi Morris’ 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.


  • Kat Hooper

    KAT HOOPER, who started this site in June 2007, earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience and psychology at Indiana University (Bloomington) and now teaches and conducts brain research at the University of North Florida. When she reads fiction, she wants to encounter new ideas and lots of imagination. She wants to view the world in a different way. She wants to have her mind blown. She loves beautiful language and has no patience for dull prose, vapid romance, or cheesy dialogue. She prefers complex characterization, intriguing plots, and plenty of action. Favorite authors are Jack Vance, Robin Hobb, Kage Baker, William Gibson, Gene Wolfe, Richard Matheson, and C.S. Lewis.

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