RogerBW's Blog

Wanderlust, Ann Aguirre 11 February 2015

2008 SF/romance, second in the Grimspace series. In the previous book, Sirantha Jax was instrumental in bringing down the evil corporation that ran everything. But nature abhors a power vacuum.

The main story is simple enough: Jax is persuaded to act as ambassador to the alien world Ithiss-Tor, but the criminal syndicates want to make sure she fails, and are holding her mother hostage. On the way to that world, there's a run-in with the humanivorous Morguts, another visit to the benighted world of Lachion, and goings-on with said criminal syndicates.

And of course there's her relationship with Marsh, because this is only book two of six, so the protagonists can't be allowed to be happy. She pushes him away because she seems to be getting ill and doesn't want to worry him; then he pushes her away because he's busy fighting and killing (for good reasons, naturally) and doesn't want to share that with her. It all feels a bit manufactured given how much in love with each other they are at the start of the book and how much they've been through already, but then I'm not a fan of the Big Misunderstanding trope in romances either.

Jax is inconsistent with the character as presented in Grimspace in a variety of ways: then she looked after children, now she's freaked out by them; then she spent time in a small cave, now she's afraid of the dark. She's whinier than in the first book, which I thought unfortunate as she was already pretty inclined to take the world's troubles on her shoulders and then sit around going "poor me" until something happened. She's much more interesting when she's in kick-arse mode, which fortunately takes up most of the latter half of the book.

Pacing is a problem. Grimspace seemed to work on its own, and may well have been intended originally as a stand-alone book. This certainly wasn't: it gives you some help picking up who's who, but the story most certainly isn't complete, being clearly just the first chunk of a longer narrative, and I should choose neither to start nor to end the series at this point. It doesn't help that there's yet another interlude on the extremely tedious planet of Lachion.

Followed by Doubleblind, but I don't feel great enthusiasm for it.

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See also:
Grimspace, Ann Aguirre

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