Review: Grimspace by Ann Aguirre

grimspaceReviewed by Jen

I loved this book! It’s a futuristic sci-fi story with an interesting and dysfunctional heroine, a unique and engaging world, and a romance that hits just the right notes.  The premise is really cool and Ann Aguirre delivered in every way.

As with any first book in a series –especially one as fast paced as this– it takes a little while to catch to what is going on.  We step in to a story that is already in progress. Jax is a jumper, a rare individual with the gene who can navigate space using her mind to allow for long distance travel.  Her last mission ended in disaster, and she doesn’t remember how or why, but the corp who serves her employer is bent on getting answers.

Jax is virtually a prisoner, subjected to mental trials and near the breaking point, but she can still only grasp bits and pieces of the horror she survived in the explosion. It’s only made worse by the fact that her pilot and lover, Kai, was killed. And it seems everyone thinks she is responsible.

She’s almost resigned to a terrible fate when a stranger appears, proposing a rescue. Jax is a survivor at her core, so despite her wrecked emotional state, she accepts and boards his ship, starting the next chapter of her life.

March is a hard man and is very enigmatic. Even though he saves her, it’s clear he doesn’t like her, but neither does the rest of the crew. They have their reasons, which unfold over the course of the story, as does their plan for Jax. I don’t want to spoil this fantastic, wild ride, but I will say that her relationship with all the people on the ship change over the course of the book. And those developments are part of what make this story so great.

Aguirre has crafted such great characters. I feel like I really know them, and yet still it seems like it’s just the tip of the iceberg. In short, they feel real. That’s very important because everything around them is about as sci-fi as you get. They’re in space, for one, traveling all over the galaxy. There are cool alien races, various governments, gene splicing, forced breeding… you name it. Even a giant praying mantis dude –who, by the way, was one of the most fascinating characters there.

Even with all this crazy stuff happening around her, Jax owns this book. She is so damaged, yet maintains her survival instinct, when many people would just roll over and die. She is far from perfect, sometimes making selfish choices and wallowing a little, but when push comes to shove, she doesn’t disappoint. I loved watching her dynamic with March.  This is first person POV, so he maintains so much mystery, but when he shows what is going on inside him, it’s great stuff.

The secondary characters are fabulous too. I mentioned the praying mantis dude. Really, I want more Velith. I’m also hoping against hope for more Loras. I feel like there is so much more I can love from both of these characters. There is such a rich landscape of people Aguirre has created. They build layers of complexity into the story and not only show different facets of Jax, but stand up well on their own merits as well.

I honestly can’t think of anything I did not enjoy here. The characters are well drawn. The worldbuilding is unique and open to further development. And the romance hit all my happy buttons. Not only would I recommend, but I am already dying to get my hands on the next installment.

Rating: A-

Click to purchase: Amazon

by Ann Aguirre
Release Date: February 26, 2008
Publisher: Ace

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