Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Doubleblind by Ann Aguirre

J Young wrote on "Sirantha Jax is finally on Ithiss-Tor, feeling way over her head as an ambassador for the Conglomerate. The Conglomerate needs her to bring the bug-like aliens, the Ithtorians to their side because they need an ally against increased attacks by the Morgut (a species of violent, frenzied eaters that see everyone as food). The Ithtorians are the only species the Morgut have ever respected. A "jumper" and former party-girl, Jax doesn't feel in her element as someone responsible for such an important task, and March, who has always been at her side isn't himself to help her."

That's a nice graph-long summation of the third book in Ann Aquirre's Grimspace series, which began with Grimspace, moved on to Wanderlust and has progressed to Doubleblind.

I enjoyed the first two books in this series mainly because of the extraordinarily well drawn characters and the warp-speed plots that Aguirre crafts effortlessly. My only problem with the first two books were the amount of horrific bloodshed and the swearing, which are mercifully trimmed to a few flashbacks in the third novel.

In Doubleblind, we find Sirantha Jax at a disadvantage, as she's on an alien planet surrounded by giant bugs who find humanity crude, ignorant and disgusting. Add to that her "mouth off and hit first, ask questions later" attitude, and you can almost hear bookies around the universe taking bets on how long before Jax gets herself and her crew incarcerated, exiled or killed.

Fortunately, Jax is at her best under pressure and underestimated, and she comes through in her ambassadorial duties with amazing sang froid. Meanwhile, the love of her life, March, is suffering from a severe case of post traumatic stress disorder, and can't seem to reconnect with Jax at all. Due to her "all or nothing" view of love, however, Jax manages to fix her beloved, just in time for him to be arrested by the Ithtorians. Mayhem ensues, and once again, Jax finds the real perpetrator and saves the day. However, we're left on a cliffhanger that had me yelping "Oh no you didn't!"

I won't spoil it for you by telling you what happens at the end of the book, but suffice it to say that I read this page-turner of an SF novel until the wee hours of the morning, hoping that all the loose ends would be tucked up neatly and I could stop worrying about the fate of the universe. But no, instead I was treated to what can only be described as a hasty retreat. Now I have to wait at least a year for the next installment to find out what happened! Frustrating! Yet for Aguirre and her fine cast of space-faring misfits, I am willing to rein in my impatience and wait. But just this once, Ann! Do you hear me! Get cracking on that manuscript, amiga!

I highly recommend this novel to those who have read Grimspace and Wanderlust. Be prepared to sacrifice your meals, exercise regimen and sleep to finish Doubleblind, is just that good.

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