Review: GRIMSPACE by Ann Aguirre

August 12, 2008 Books, Reviews 2 ★★★★★

Review: GRIMSPACE by Ann AguirreGrimspace by Ann Aguirre
five-stars
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…
Series: Sirantha Jax #1
Published by Penguin Group (USA) LLC on March 2008
Genres: Science Fiction, Speculative Fiction
Pages: 312
Format: Paperback
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Buy the Book at: Amazon

If you haven’t picked up this book yet, go get it. Right now. Shut down your computer, grab your keys, and RUN to the nearest bookstore. I’ll wait.

Got it? Okay, let’s get started.

Sirantha Jax is a jumper, a human who possesses the J-gene which gives her the ability to navigate grimspace, an alternate dimension that can be used to travel enormous distances in a short span of time. She was the Corp’s star jumper until her ship crashed mysteriously, killing her pilot/lover and a whole lot of diplomats. The Corp, a galaxy-wide organization with its fingers in all aspects of trade and commerce, is determined to break Jax’s mind, and she finds herself taking the only avenue of escape available to her: being kidnapped. March, a hard-ass with unusual mental powers, and his crew have a purpose in mind for Jax, but they find themselves sucked into a much bigger conspiracy, one that will affect their whole civilization.

I won an ARC of Wanderlust, the sequel to this book, on Smart Bitches and since I couldn’t review a sequel without reading the first, I ran out and bought Grimspace. And it’s one of the best books I’ve read in ages. It’s written in first-person, present-tense, which is usually the bane of my reading existence, but Aguirre’s writing style and the fluidity of Jax’s narration were so masterfully handled that after a while, I completely stopped noticing the tense and got sucked into the story.

The characters, particularly Jax and March, are fleshed out and refreshingly flawed. I love that, at one point, Jax cuts and runs instead of playing the hero. That made her more realistic to me than anything else; she’s selfish and scared and more than a little screwed up, and she’s incredibly likable because of that. The story itself is reminiscent of Joss Whedon’s Serenity, with the ragtag bunch of reluctant heroes fighting the huge, faceless establishment. The plot is very well-developed and interesting, and the world… well, galaxy, really, is intricately constructed. I love a well-built world, and this one, with its roots in Old Terra, definitely satisfies.

I seriously can’t recommend this book enough, whether you’re a fan of futuristic romance or straight science fiction. The romance isn’t played too heavily, and the book easily jumps between the two genres. The sequel, Wanderlust, is scheduled to be released August 26, 2008. If you still haven’t run out and bought this book yet, go now. Trust me, you won’t regret it.