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Tuesday, April 15, 2008:
"Grimspace" by Ann Aguirre (2008) - review

Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Ace (February 26, 2008)
ISBN-10: 0441015999
ISBN-13: 978-0441015993


As the carrier of a rare gene, Jax has the ability to jump ships through grimspace - a talent that 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 not memory of the crash.

Imprisoned and subjected to 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 intersteller 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...

I rarely read science fiction, but I have heard many great things about this book by Ann Aguirre from fellow romance readers, so I picked up a copy about a month ago. I chose this book to read on my flight, and I'm ever so glad I did.

Jax is under surveillance at the Corp, blamed for the deaths of everyone onboard the Sargasso, only she can't remember a thing about the devastating crash she managed to survive. The dream therapy she undergoes is not helping her, but instead makes her feel like she's going crazy. Tired, hurting, she feels ready to give up when a man she's never seen before steps inside her cell and gives her a choice, stay and die, or follow him and take her chances. Still having some fight left in her after all, knowing she might not make it out alive, she nevertheless takes a gamble on the unknown.

March came to bring Jax to Lachion, a place where him and many others wish to create an alternative to the Corp, and they need Jax if this is going to work. He might not like her, probably even blames her for the death of someone he cared about, but the purpose that drives him is bigger than his pain, and Jax's wishes.

March and his motley companions are not the only ones who want Jax, dead or alive, and soon they are engaged in battle and fighting to survive dangers much stronger than they are. Lives are lost, and things are just beginning to get ugly. But amongst all the fighting and the death and the frustration, there is always a speck of hope for something better, something worth fighting for, and even dying for....

I read this book on my flight to D.C., and it made me forget my nervousness at take-off. I re-read parts of it again after I finished it because in a book with all the different worlds and cultures, I tend to get it a bit mixed up so going back, knowing how it ends, helped tremendously, and I liked it even better then 2nd time around.

Probably one of the most interesting things about Jax is that she's a warrior who's lost much, but she's not the perfect, beautiful, intelligent, sacrificial heroine you'd imagine in a story like this. Instead, she could be quite selfish, and rather ignorant of the world around her. She truly was only good at grimspace, and not much else. Sometimes I really disliked her, but then she would do something that made me like her albeit reluctantly. She wasn't always heroic, or clever, but that worked for me. I think I can be so tough on the heroines in my book, expecting them to be a certain way, so it took longer for Jax to worm her way past my defenses and earn my respect. She was slightly crazy, and broken, and...human. She did things I hate to admit that I would probably end up doing but don't want to acknowledge that part of myself.

March was a solid leader, but at the same time he fought his own personal demons. He kept his promises, but he also had a strong primitive side that he couldn't quite conceal. He's been hurt, but he's not afraid to put himself out there. It's who he is, no pretense. Jax hurts him, but he keeps his promise to always come back for her. The two have an unusual connection, not only as jumper and pilot, but in a way that at first freaks out Jax, but soon becomes a way to taunt him, and eventually it's as necessary as breathing to her.

If there were any complaints I had about the book, it's that sometimes good people die, too many, imo. And the other thing is that it ended rather too abruptly for my tastes, quite possibly because there is going to be a series ("Wanderlust" coming out in August). But these opinions do not take away from the story, and in the first point actually do drive the story. It just broke my heart, that's all. Still, I've got this writer on my tbb list.

Rating: ****1/3 out of *****

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  1. I really enjoyed this book. The characters are great and interesting to read about. I do have to agree about the abrupt ending. I liked the overall ending, I just wish it had been just a little bit longer.

  2. Grimspace is one of my favorite reads for 2008. Can't wait too see what happens next. :D

  3. I loved this book. What I love about it is that Ann successfully combined lots of action with a really emotional book. Sometimes one suffers for the other. I appreciated her ability to combine both.

    I'm glad you gave it a try, despite some misgivings.

  4. Stacy , good review. I was sad when you-know-who died too. Jax was really not the usual heroine is she? Not even pretty she was. I like that.

  5. Never read it. I'm so bad. I usually only read romance or Harry Potter, lol.

  6. Awesome review Stacy!! I'm thinking I'm going to have to reader it sooner than I planned. :P

  7. I have really only heard good things about this book and I had it in my hands yesterday when I was at the bookstore. I am obviously going to have to go out and get it...hopefully, my local bookstore carries it...I guess I can always order it.

    I am glad that you enjoyed it.

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