reileen: (reading - books)
[personal profile] reileen
Sirantha Jax possesses a gene that allows her to jump through a dimension known as "grimspace". This abiliy allows her to transport ships through space at FTL speeds. She was the Corp's most successful jumper until a failed jump killed her pilot/lover, as well as everyone else on board except herself. Quarantined in a de facto jail afterwards, Jax manages to break out with the help of a man named March, who brings her into a larger conspiracy involving a renegade group with designs on engineering a new kind of jumper...and the real reason why Jax's disastrous jump happened in the first place.

I was really impressed with this book. The present tense 1st-person POV took some getting used to, but Jax is a strong character, both kickass and vulnerable. The two main plot threads - the renegade group's plans for creating more jumpers and the reasons behind Jax's failed jump - are deftly intertwined. The worldbuilding of Grimspace is evocative, from the marshy world of Marakeq to the domed city of Gehenna, set on a planet where, thanks to atmospheric conditions, things always seem to be shrouded in a red sunset glow.

Then there's the romance between Jax and March, which I thought was pretty well-handled, considering that it's only two weeks after the crash that killed Jax's first lover Kai that Jax does another jump with the telepathic March as her new pilot. This sounds innocuous at first, but because of the nature of navigating grimspace, the shared connection between a pilot and a jumper is so intense that it frequently paves the way for a romantic or sexual relationship between the two, as an outlet for those intense sensations. I'm left wondering whether jumpers and pilots are always opposite sex, but maybe I'll find that out in the next two books. At any rate, neither Jax nor March are ready for a romantic relationship. Jax is, as I said, still in the thick of getting over the loss of Kai, while March is rusty on his skills as a pilot and hiding a dark secret in his past (as many romantic heroes do). Jax's struggles with her feelings for March and Kai are sympathetic and believable.

The other characters that populate the novel have their own charm as well. My favorites seem to be Jax's handheld information device (I can't remember the name of it right now) and a mantis-like alien mercenary named Velith, who doesn't appear until near the end of Grimspace but whom I'm given to understand plays a more prominent role in the third novel. Dina the butch lesbian is fun, too, especially in conjunction with the snarky natures of both March and Jax. I hope we get to see more of her background in the next two novels.

Overally, highly recommended. I'd love to pick up my own copy of this book and the next two books. Love the cover art, too.

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Reileen van Kaile

April 2010

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