Review a mid-series book? Am I mad? Often the first book gets the most reviews, but I think it’s worth commenting on later ones so people know whether they want to stay along for the ride.
The time and place
Most of the book takes place on planet Ithiss-Tor, the homeworld of the insectoid Ithtorians, who can disguise themselves as anyone. I assume the setting is far future or parallel universe.
The suspension of disbelief
There are all kinds of aliens, mostly bipedal. There’s AI and pretty high technology. Space navigation is done by a pilot and Jumper, a person who can access grimspace, the woobly hyperspace that ships go through to get to different stars and planets. I believe it’s what makes FTL possible. Jumpers tend to burn out and die with little or no warning.
The quick summary
This is book three in the Sirantha Jax series. Sirantha Jax, a Jumper, is sent to Ithiss-Tor to broker an alliance between the Ithtorians and a human Conglomerate. The people-eating Morgut are attacking human outposts, and the Conglomerate thinks the Ithtorians can intimidate the Morgut out of attacking. However, not all Ithtorian leadership is on board. Meanwhile, the criminal Syndicate and the disgraced megacorp Farwan are trying to take advantage of the political situation. Jax also needs to win back her lover, March, who has detached himself from feeling anything.
Character development! Jax, March, Constance, and especially Vel have come a long way since the first book. They have suffered and laughed together, and their trials have made their relationships deeper. Jax continues to process her grief regarding her lost love, Kai, and it’s good to see her less tangled up about it, even if she has to go through a lot of pain to do so. She also struggles to process her new responsibilities without going crazy or becoming someone she can’t bear to be around. She has to make some choices she feels awful about in which she would have decided differently one book ago or at the beginning of the saga.
There’s action with the politics, for those who would worry about a book about diplomacy dragging. We learn lots about the Ithtorian world, which feels richer than any other place we’ve been. The culture is sufficiently alien that I had to think about the customs, but civilized so I could keep track of secondary characters easily.
For such vivid characters in earlier books, Doc Saul and Hit are given small roles that left me wondering if there could be more involvement with them.
I wasn’t super stoked by the interludes from the press. Since we’re cooped up on the planet, it’s nice to know what’s going on out there, but the articles felt a bit scattered to me. There’s a theme going through them, but I admit I breezed through them. The end felt a bit cliffhanger and unexpected, but luckily for me, the fourth book’s published and I can buy it or pick it up at the library.
Read if you
- Enjoyed Grimspace
- Like watching characters grow as they fumble around their lives
- Dig space opera politics and trying to get others to cooperate a la Mass Effect 3
Skip if you
- Haven’t read any previous books in the Sirantha Jax series. Okay, this is not a skip, but a delay- I recommend Grimspace
- Don’t want to deal with politics or cultural shaming of the rebel
- Watched praying mantises mate violently and had problems with that (not shown, but implied)
I loved Grimspace. I thought Wanderlust slowed a bit down and less happened compared to the first book, but Doubleblind picks the action and story up again. This is not a standalone book. Reading the previous books gave me a richer experience with the characters, not just the plot background. I’m going to take a break sideways and read Aguirre’s Perdition, which is a spin-off three-book series. The new book, Breakout, came out this week.
Author site: www.annaguirre.com