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Grimspace by Anne AguirreLoonigrrl’s guest review of Grimspace (The Jax Series, Book 1) by Ann Aguirre
Sci-Fi romance released by Ace 26 Feb 08

This book was a very pleasant surprise. Ok, it was more than that. It was awesome. Sure, I enjoy sci-fi just as much as the next Star Trek-Star Wars-Firefly/Serenity-Battlestar Galactica fan.  But when it comes to books, I usually choose to read fantasy or romance. In fact, Grimspace is one of the very few science fiction books that I have absolutely loved.

Sirantha Jax is an extremely compelling heroine. A J-gene carrier and the only survivor of a shipwreck that killed 82 people, Jax is a nearly broken woman when the story begins. Facing charges that may have her thrown in prison, a psych ward, or killed, she barely hesitates when an unlikely hero comes to her rescue.

March, a powerful Psi, is equally damaged, although that’s not immediately apparent. He’s strong, dominant, a little mean, and a little uncivilized. Despite having done some mysteriously monstrous things in his past, he’s completely loyal to those in his care, and would risk his life to save one of his own. Breaking Jax out of jail is just the beginning. March’s and the crew’s ultimate goal is to break the Farwan Corporation’s monopoly on Jumpers and Faster than Light Travel.

Some of the sci-fi details in Aguirre’s world were somewhat challenging concepts about travel, and I just let it go. I accepted that I wasn’t going to totally understand “jumping” and “Grimspace.” And I was ok with that because as integral as jumping is to the story, it’s supposed to be a little complicated. Jumpers can’t even describe the mysteries and the wonder of Grimspace despite devoting their lives, and often losing them, to jumping.

I’m not really sure how to describe Sirantha and March’s relationship, and I can’t do it justice. It’s complicated and it’s not easy. March was all too willing to hate Jax upon first meeting her. Jax, upon realizing March could read her thoughts, was all too quick to bait him. It doesn’t take long for each to realize the other was more than they seemed. Their relationship is simply… fascinating, and actually, quite sweet.

As much as I liked both Sirantha and March, and their complicated love story, I was equally as intrigued by the secondary characters.  All were varied and unique, and entirely real. In fact, one character – an insect-like bounty hunter named Velith, who doesn’t even make an appearance until the very end of the story –  quickly became one of my favorites after just a few pages.

The only aspect of Grimspace that I wasn’t absolutely thrilled about is the ending. It is intense.  Seriously intense, which isn’t a bad thing. However, I just felt like too much was rushed in the last few pages. I also felt like the resolution was a little too tidy. I liked the ending, but after everything that had happened, it felt a little easy.

Regardless, I can definitely recommend Grimspace. Just a warning – it’s told in first-person, which may be jarring for some readers. Please don’t let that dissuade you from checking this out. It’s not just a great sci fi/romance book, it’s a great book. Period.

loonigrrls-icon.jpgGrade: A-

From the back cover:

     By all accounts, Sirantha Jax should have burned out years ago…

As the carrier of a rare gene, Jax has the ability to jump ships through grimspace-a talent which cuts into her life expectancy, but makes her a highly prized navigator for the Corp. But then the ship she’s navigating crash-lands, and she’s accused of killing everyone on board. It’s hard for Jax to defend herself: she has no memory of the crash.

Now imprisoned and the subject of a ruthless interrogation, Jax is on the verge of madness. Then a mysterious man breaks into her cell, offering her freedom-for a price. March needs Jax to help his small band of rogue fighters break the Corp monopoly on interstellar travel-and establish a new breed of jumper.

Jax is only good at one thing-grimspace-and it will eventually kill her. So she may as well have some fun in the meantime…

Read an excerpt.