Jax arrives with new scars, both physical and psychological Her lover and pilot, March, has become a cold killing machine who can t stand to be touched and only remembers that he loved her She won t give up on him, but she has no idea how to fix the mind reading Psi Mair, a powerful Psi and Chi master, fixed his mind the first time through violent and painful means, ways Jax can t access and honestly doesn t want to The idea of causing himpain and nightmares on top of what he s already experiencing is anathema to her.
But at least he hasn t run away to become a mercenary, at least he s here with her on Ithiss Tor, as unstable as he is Her best friend, the Ithtorian bounty hunter Vel, is with her to translate and guide her through the intricacies of Ithtorian etiquette, and her PA, Constance now in her realistic human casing , is also a huge help Jael, her Bred bodyguard Dina and the pilot Hit and Saul the geneticist, are with her as well, but all eyes are on Jax No one really believes the irresponsible Grimspace Jumper who used to get drunk, dance on tabletops and display her breasts to the news cameras can actually pull this off At worst, she ll add a new enemy to the Conglomerate s list At best, she might escape with her life.
I could gush endlessly about how much I love this series It s superb Each book just gets better and better, the stakes get higher, the detailscomplex, the relationshipscomplicated, the intergalactic worldvivid Jax grows within each book, and from book to book, slowly maturing and becoming less and less selfish in the face ofanddemanding and tragic circumstances A great deal happens in these books, but the characters never become lost amidst the plotting if anything, they strengthen it and bind it tighter together While Jax narrates, her growing ability to truly see people, wonder about them, try to empathise and understand them, gives us fully fleshed out supporting characters and it s testament to Aguirre s skill that even when, in Grimspace, she was selfish and whiny and running from her own feelings and needs, you never tired of her but grew attached to her spunky ways and the characters around her, characters that we sawclearly than she did.
The plotting is tight in Doubleblind, but I m still figuring out the connection between the story and the title A double blind is a study, for example a test for a new drug, where the test groups don t know whether they have the drug or a placebo Taken metaphorically or symbolically, it s not an obvious allusion and the best I can do at this point is take it as a reference to Jax s tenuous diplomatic mission, the inscrutable Bugs and their own scheming, and the unexpected traitor I say that in air quotes only because it wasn t unexpected to me the only thing predictable was the traitor, and who was behind them But there was plenty else to keep me guessing.
The way Aguirre handles the alien race, the bugs as the humans call them because they look much like the insect aliens in the movie District 9, thoughhuman in size , is excellent their alien qualities come across well, and even Vel, who has spent so long amongst humans and is the only Ithtorian who likes humans, is undeniably alien He doesn t have the same reactions and responses, his clever mind works differently, and you never forget what he is or that he is completely Other But we do get to know him here, and he s become one of the most vivid characters in the series I m very fond of Vel.
I absolutely love the way Aguirre handles Jax and March s relationship At the end of Wanderlust I was left in despair and had to wait nearly an entire year to get my hands on the third book that s a year of anxiety and heartbreak By the end of Wanderlust Jax and March had become so much a part of me that I felt Jax s pain and March s like a physical ache That tension and despair carries through here, and I loved the way she fixes him.
Speaking of the year long wait, if you haven t started this series yet I recommend you read the books close together Even though Jax does some recapping, there was a lot I d forgotten, details that are important not to mention these books build like an ongoing climax, and even though this has one of thecomplete endings, it also feels like the story has only just begun.
One thing I noticed that I really have to mention, is the issue of a private company in this case, the Syndicate selling their services to the government in this case, the Conglomerate for a high price It s a timely and subtle dig at the way the US government contracted out all its services to private corporations, especially for the Iraq war, based on the idea that they can do it better but at the cost of billions and billions of taxpayer dollars, most of which disappeared into overheads and resulted in half finished, dodgy jobs The Syndicate want the job, for a high price, of going to war against the Morgut There would be a lot of money at stake, and it wouldn t surprise me if they were somehow egging the Morgut on to escalate things Their use of advertising to gradually connect the idea of the Syndicate safe and peaceful life in people s subconscious adds to this visual commercials showing people relaxed and happy while Syndicate employees do the cleaning and cooking and war faring in the background, seep in and become established fact As one character puts it, There will come a point when people just won t care about the truth, and all the expos s in the world won t matter 234 This is one of the things I love about Fantasy and Science Fiction their ability or potential to explore our own issues in a neutral environment Doubleblind is a delicious, entertaining read, but it d be a shame to miss the deeper meanings too.
This is an incredible addition to the series, probably the best one yet Even though I loved the action in Wanderlust, the relationship angst really bothered me That s why I waited a month or so before daring to read Doubleblind I m happy to say that it brings a nice equilibrium to everything that s been grating on my nerves In Grimspace, and especially in Wanderlust, March seemed to suffer from multiple personality disorder He was a perfect lover, Jax s punching bag doormat and Universal Soldier, all at once In Doubleblind he struggles to regain his humanity, but I have a feeling things will bebalanced in the futureI only cry and beg when Jax is arround Right now, I m a killing machine, so let s go annihilate the rival clan Jax is a whole different person this time She has become this incredible, mature and brave woman I kind of hated her before, but now she s finally the heroine we want and deserve She s far from perfect, but at least I don t hate her and or yell at her on every other page She finally appreciates March and everything he s done for her She s not the selfish, spoiled brat she used to be She actually reminds me a lot of Aguirre s other heroine, Corine Solomon However, neither of them is my favorite character that is most definitely Vel I have some pretty amazing friends, but I really wish I had a friend like him And yes, I would totally hug him, at least twice a day Aguirre really is my favorite author these days I love everything about the way she builds a story Her writing is impecable, and she has this incredible way of changing the pace so suddenly you find yourself going back a few sentences just to be sure you re not reading it wrong.
It S Not Easy To Tread Lightly Wearing Steel Toed BootsSirantha Jax Isn T Known For Diplomatic Finesse As A Jumper Who Navigates Ships Through Grimspace, She S Used To Kicking Ass First And Taking Names Later Much Later Not Exactly The Obvious Choice To Sell The Conglomerate To The Ithtorians, A People Whose Opinions Of Humans Are As Hard As Their ExoskeletonsAnd Ithiss Tor Council Meetings Aren T The Only Place Where Ambassador Jax Needs To Maneuver Carefully Her Lover, March, Is Frozen In Permanent Kill Mode, And His Hair Trigger Threatens To Sabotage The Talks Not To Mention Their RelationshipBut Jax Won T Give Up On The Man Or The Mission With The Outskirts Beleaguered By Raiders, Pirates, And The Flesh Eating Morgut, An Alliance With Ithiss Tor May Be Humanity S Only HopeWhich Has Jax Wondering Why A Notorious Troublemaker Like Her Was Given The Job I ve read three books in the series and now I experience some different feelings In some way I liked the series, it had points that kept me hooked, but not quite long enough So now I have a dilemma to read or not to read further I have to admit, Ann Aguirre writes well The plot in this book is quite good, attractive and quite action packed maybe less than I expected after reading the first book This quite is killing me But I can t escape it because this book is quite good At first I want to mention Constance, it was awesome to read about her development and laugh from her jokes She is a real help to Jax and I just can t talk about her as a thing 3 sending love to Constance 3 Also I really liked Vel He was a star in this book and his relationship with Jax was a true example of friendship and tolerance He clearly showed that the most important thing is what we are inside I have a strange feeling that Vel is going to push March aside, because there isattention to him and his relationship to Jax, than to March.
Now the fun part At first take precautions Some asteroids coming this way I had some untasty things with this book Some were bigger, to hit my reading enjoyment, some smaller to skip without real damage The romance in this book goes to some desperate self pity level and the doses are quite big, so it spoiled the true taste for the half of the book to me I ve never enjoyed the melodrama Jax spends a lot of time thinking about how to help March and how great the damage to him is And here we go, she succeeds in helping him, all too smooth and quick, in a one sneak peak to his inner self I liked how Ann Aguirre presented the Ithtorians in the book They seemed so bossy and cruel in their behavior with others, who are not like them, while they were so silly with their emotional chill and lack of understanding Not forgetting that the Ithtorians are true lethal killers It s a pity that the Ithtorians couldn t change appearance like Vel I think it could have added some fun and interest to the story It was an interesting move to settle them in beautiful architecture and lots of flora, with some spices of poetry, expressing their attitude through so called wa.
I missed some of the characters Doc, Hit, and Dina, who can rock the floor Ands it s a pity that they didn t quite do that I know that they were there, but they had no such fun as earlier.
Also some parts of the story made me impatient and annoyed, because I guessed what Jax and other characters would do or how the situation will enroll And I just prayed sometimes Oh, please make it the other way, it would beinteresting for this and not that person to be the enemy the real culprit , let the enemies becruel and clever the escape from the mines and etc So I experienced a lack of awesome plot twists.
But nobody s perfect and as I mentioned before this book has something inside, that just hooked me up, not fully, but definitely slightly.
I really do LOVE the world that has been built here by the author It very much feels like a Mass Effect game in a book The key to everything is the relationships, and this author definitely excels in interesting character types and conflicts Jax is awesome, and this book definitely matured up her impetuousness and self destruction in a real way I really enjoyed.
I had some issues with the ending and how it wrapped up, because I felt like it came a bit from nowhere, the end culprit of it all, but I LOVE March and Jax and definitely loved to see their arc together I still really really enjoy the series and am 100% in for the next one Well, all I have to say is, if you ve stopped reading this series after book two Wanderlust , then please give it another chance This was the best installment so far With the first two books my reviews were a bit like, I loved it except for and if it weren t for this then I would have loved it But this book needs no qualifiers I loved it all the way through Sirantha has just arrived on Ithiss Tor finally , in an attempt to gain an alliance against the brutal, gluttonous Morgut Everyone expects her to fail, and they have good reason Sirantha Jax isn t exactly known for her tact or diplomacy skillslike her drinking and table dancing skills , and the Ithtorians are notoriously xenophobic and insular To complicate matters, March has retreated into his cold, volatile mercenary persona after leading a violent rebellion to victory With so many lives resting on her shoulders, Jax may find herself having to choose between the love of her life and the welfare of the entire universe.
This book feelsmature than both of the others the action and horror elements are toned down, and there is a wonderful mix of political intrigue, mystery, and moral dilemma in their place This is the kind of book that I really love, where the action takes place in significant glances and intellectual maneuvering instead of hand to hand combat Although, there s a bit of the other too if that s what you prefer.
For the majority of this book, the side characters that I ve come to know and love Dina, Hit, Dr Solaith, Jael, Constance, even March are largely absent But I think that Aguirre accomplishes something extraordinary by making me not care.
The Ithtorian characters are subtle but compelling I love all of the nuance that fills their imaginative customs and communication And Vel, the mysterious Ithtorian bounty hunter, really steps out of the shadows in this book His ostracism and quiet faith in Sirantha are so moving.
And I was also completely reminded of why I fell in love with Sirantha Jax herself in the first place She s strong but in a vulnerable, lay it all out there kind of way She has that self acceptance and maturity that only comes with age And she s just about the antithesis of TSTL.
The romance feltreal and mature in this installment than ever before, and it also surprised me I love how March somehow manages to fill the stereotype of every damaged, rabid dog barely on a leash alpha male hero out there, but also completely destroys that stereotype Maybe because Aguirre seems to realize that having an inner core of controlled violence might actually be a bad thing.
For us voracious genre fiction readers, originality is worth its weight in Book Depository gift cards There are only so many ways that two people can fall in love, or the day can be saved, or the murderer unveiled Well, you ll find it here At the same time, this series reminds me in a good way of so many fantasy and sci fi shows that I ve loved If you ve been mourning the loss of Firefly since 2003, then I don t think you ll find a better balm than this series.
Perfect Musical PairingMarvin Gaye and Tammy Terrell Ain t No Mountain High EnoughAt around page 86, I really thought this book was going in a certain direction, which immediately brought to mind a Marvin Gaye hit that I love But then Aguirre went in a completely different direction, and I can t say that I was sorry about that It s hard to let go of Marvin once I ve got him in mind though Luckily I am a huge fan and I could probably find a way to fit every book this month with a Marvin Gaye song This one is just right Ain t no Ithtorian mining prison secure enough Wanna know what has been happening in Australian Politics this week Seriously, that is Australian Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, eating a raw onion like an apple for absolutely no actual reason Tone, pls Unlike that idiot, my brand new spirit animal, Ambassador Sirantha Jax, does politics, not by eating raw onions, but with ruthless snark and much badassery Holy shit, is that a giant crab No, that s my foot.
Except for then Because, drugs After book II, I was expecting this book to be action packed, kick ass, hold on to your seats goodness But, nope It was mostly politicking and plotting and view spoiler March being a fucking annoying douche hide spoiler 3.
5 that I m rounding up This was a subdued Jax entry, but enjoyable I like my slightly trashy sci fi, what can I say I enjoyed the character development for Vel a great deal in this one I wish he was her romantic interest, I must admit March is getting boring creepy.
Actual Rating 3.
5 StarsThe reason why this series was so damn good is because Jax didn t give a rat s ass about anything She was irreverent, she spoke her mind and never compromised.
In the passive role of Ambassador, we re forced to see her in the middle of plots and political dealings And let me tell you, the price is too high because Jax is far from being the fun, unapologetic kickass character I ve come to love Instead, we got philosopher brown bird and white wave The plot seems to be just an excuse for a torturous love story.
March is not my March This guy is anywhere but here with her in a real relationship He goes from crazy and violent to angsty and pathetic in the blink of an eye I loved the Hero gig, but this is getting old too fast and thanks to this nonsense, I realized I know almost nothing about this guy Why did I love him in the first place EVEN MORE, WHY DOES SHE LOVE HIM I missed Dina, Doc and Hit so much but thanks god, Vel saved the book This guy is fucking amazing and if he weren t a bug, I d really ship him with Jax I know, I m being xenophobic Sorry about that.
Let s talk about the twist Fuck you very much, Culprit Yeah, I was completely surprised because I don t read spoilers to save my mother s life so I had no idea this was about to happen view spoiler I liked Jael I really did And even if I was dreading a love triangle, I d have preferred that, TBH Just for the money Give me ideals, give me revenge, give me something to understand you but JUST MONEY Ugh, you ve been a waste of my time, Jael Get lost and don t come back because I won t like you as a villain either hide spoiler I can t even This series It slays me It speaks to my soul It s magical I can t even talk about it.
BUT I WILL.
Holy Mary of Anabolic Grace Whew Ok, I will attempt to review this So, this one is different from the others, as they all seem to be There s not as much action, but it slike a slowly unraveling mindf Jax and her lovable rag tag crew finally arrive at Ithiss Tor, where everyone looks like this but they don t break out in dance move poses and aren t as cuddly as this little cutie below Jax has to play politician to try and get the Bugs to form an alliance so the Morguts won t keep attacking human outposts But it s not politics like this It s politics like this I thought, based on a couple of reviews, that this was going to be a little boring and not as good as the first two books HELLO Not even close Yes, it s different, but I was still captivated almost the entire time.
Ok, so I pretty much loved Jax in this one She really is a bad ass She wasn t kicking the bootay as much, because she had to be restrained and was on official human business, but she proved herself to be SO nuanced and multi faceted I may have my first official book girl crush view spoiler Sorry Kate Daniels , you re a close second That still counts hide spoiler