Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

On Vox: Doubleblind by Ann Aguirre

I've been dying to read Doubleblind since, oh last year when I finished Wanderlust. So when I was lucky enough to get a early copy of the book (it comes out Sept 29th), it vaulted past everything else on my TBR (past some other books I've really wanted to read) and I started reading that night.

Doubleblind is the third book in the Sirantha Jax series:
Book 1: Grimspace (review: LJ | vox)
Book 2: Wanderlust (review: LJ | vox)

The Premise: 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.

Excerpt of Chapter 1

My Thoughts: I would have finished this much faster if it weren't for those pesky things like parents coming to visit, going to work, eating, sleeping, blah blah. All I wanted to do was read this book. I love space opera and science fiction romance. This is one of my favorite series. I think I've been anticipating it so much that by the time I got it I was getting lightheaded with giddiness and enthusiasm and I had a feeling that perhaps I was talking too much about it. You know that feeling where - internally you're saying to yourself, why are you still talking, you idiot, now they know you're crazy and Ann Aguirre will run away from you?! Yes, that was me on twitter this week. Ahem. So instead of doing what I briefly considered (just writing "SQUEE" in big, bold, underlined letters as a review), I'm going to try to be rational.

The thing is, it is so hard to stay quiet while reading this book, because there's these elements you just want to talk to *someone* about. For me it was character development and the twists in the plot. I think Ann Aguirre has an evil streak. First of all, she wrote Wanderlust and ended it the way she did (if you read Wanderlust, you know what I mean). What she puts her characters through has me looking around desperately for someone so I can discuss what I just read.

First of all, you would think that by now, the third book, March and Jax's relationship would be stable.  But Aguirre did something that was the equivalent of pressing the "reset" button, and it is delicious. Neither March or Jax are the same people they were at the start of this series. In fact, I'd say that what they've been through has pretty much reversed their roles, although their old selves are in there somewhere. The first half of the book had me hanging on to every word or gesture between the two of them. I kept saying "intense", because that was the word to describe it (besides "AHHH!!"). It was kind of torture, yet I was happy. It was well worth going through the wringer in Wanderlust and here to come out the other side. There was one particular scene early in the book where March and Jax talk that had me completely involved and.. well I just don't have the words.

Aguirre seems to excel at character growth. Since we're on Vel's home planet and diplomacy is the reason for being there, Vel has the biggest role besides Jax, who is the narrator. I was really interested in finding out more about Vel in Wanderlust so I was pleased with learning more about him through Jax.  The others were around less often (they weren't needed for all the negotiations that Jax attended), but everyone in Jax's circle is multi-faceted, and you catch a glimpse of inner depth in Jael, Dina, Hit, and Doc. If you're familiar with Ann Aguirre, you know these aren't always happy people either. Jax has a past full of scandal and self-preservation, and March is a psychic and soldier who had to do horrible things.

One of my favorite tropes is a stranger in a strange land or a culture-clash story, which we have here as Jax navigates the Ithtorians, some of who don't consider humans very smart. They remember an earlier delegation which had disastrous results. There are many Ithtorians who would like Jax to fail in her talks, even enough to kill her. That's why Vel is so important, explaining to Jax subtle gestures such as meaning to a bow. The story also covers what foods to eat, what markings on caripaces mean, and Ithtorian politics. I loved this. I also liked the description of the lush, tropical world the Ithtorians' surrounded themselves in, which is nicely illustrated on the cover by Scott M. Fischer.

Overall: The best installment yet. If you read Wanderlust, you really *need* to read Doubleblind. And if you haven't read this series and you like space opera/science fiction romance, I think you should pick it up. Every successive book is better than the last.

Buy: Amazon | B&N

Other review:
Genrereviews gave it 4 1/2 pints of blood (I thought this review was spot on).

Originally posted on janicu.vox.com


( 23 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 12th, 2009 01:36 am (UTC)
Yeah, I'll devour this book as soon as I get it.

I really, really, REALLY hope that Keri, the stupid bitch in love with March and made him lose his soul, gets what she deserves. That pissed me off so badly in WANDERLUST that I really want to reach through these pages and strangle her.

And I do hope that despite this reset button that's being discussed, Jax and March make some progress. I felt so BAD for them at the end of WANDERLUST. It was insane!
Sep. 12th, 2009 02:14 am (UTC)
Oh if you felt like that at the end of WANDERLUST, you'll be on the edge of your seat with DOUBLEBLIND. I was like: AHHHH (really, I can't think of a WORD). I was so into their relationship for half this book, and it's not like it was the main focus of the story all the time, but any CRUMB had my avid attention. I'll just wait for you to read it and then we can commiserate.
Sep. 12th, 2009 01:23 pm (UTC)
The relationship is going to kill me, isn't it? :) Does Keri show up in the book at all, aside from being talked about?
Sep. 12th, 2009 01:46 pm (UTC)
Kill you in a good way!

Keri is still on her planet so she gets talked about (you are after her blood aren't you?).
Sep. 12th, 2009 10:27 pm (UTC)
OMG you have NO idea. I really want her put in her place. I have this whole plan laid out in my review of WANDERLUST. :)
Sep. 12th, 2009 03:26 am (UTC)
SQUEEEEEEE! There, I said it for you! I love Ann Aguirre's Jax books. LOVE them. I loved Grimspace (especially the ending with March causing such mayhem, because he thought Jax was dead) and LOVED Wanderlust, because it was more of them. I'm a little jealous that you already have Doubleblind, but it's on my major-book-buying-spree list, the list I'm going to use October 1st, or September 30th. Last car payment, big splurge on books. Going to overdose on books- can't wait.

Thanks for the laughs at the beginning of your post. I needed that. I totally know what you are feeling though. There are a few writers that make me feel like this with their books. Ann Aguirre is one of course, Suzanne McLeod, Devon Monk, and Faith Hunter are a few of the others. The books that you have to drop everything else for and just read, because....well because you HAVE TO READ IT NOW! I don't usually enjoy too much angst and relationship stuff, but Ann Aguirre makes you ache with her characters, so it works for me. I also really enjoyed Vel's character - especially in Grimspace. (god, I sound like a nerd!)

If you love her Jax books, I'm sure you've read Blue Diablo? (I forgot, if you've reviewed it already, I claim oldness-it's got to be good for something!) And are you going to read Skin Game by Ava Grey, aka Ann Aguirre?
Sep. 12th, 2009 03:47 am (UTC)
Laughs at the beginning of my post? I was serious. :P

Yes, DOUBLEBLIND was one of those books where I HAD to read it ASAP. And the whole time I'm internally squeeing that I have the book in my hands. I did read Blue Diablo and liked it, and I'm going to buy Skin Game too. I'm just glomming on all things Aguirre pretty much!

I think I'm going to try Devon Monk because of your post on covers mentioning her. That's an author I haven't tried yet.
(Deleted comment)
Sep. 12th, 2009 04:10 am (UTC)
Oh it WILL BE MINE. *preorders furiously*
(Deleted comment)
Sep. 12th, 2009 07:20 am (UTC)
I love that!(stealing the book from her!) At least you gave it back! I want to read Skin Game also, but I'm afraid that I won't like it as much as the Jax novels. But I thought the same thing about Blue Diablo, and I loved that one. Ann Aguirre just writes such great secondary characters also.
Sep. 12th, 2009 01:32 pm (UTC)
You stole the book when someone was 1/3 through? :O And you still live? :O
(Deleted comment)
Sep. 12th, 2009 01:44 pm (UTC)
Oh I see. Negotiations were made. :)
Sep. 12th, 2009 07:20 am (UTC)
I laughed again! heehee
Sep. 12th, 2009 12:03 pm (UTC)
I admit I no longer read this series because in the first book the baby alien they rescued gets to only be a plot device which is easily discarded for further angst from the protagonists and all that after the intense set-up and background on the species and their responsibility. The loss isn't explored except as a reason to be angry at the evil people, if I remember correctly (it's two years back).

On the other hand, have you read Lisanne Norman's Sholan Alliance space opera romance series? If you did what did you think of it? I loved it up to book 5 and then there were just too many new menaces and too many plotlines left hanging while having to deal with the new stuff.
Sep. 12th, 2009 01:40 pm (UTC)
What happened to Baby Z really depressed me in book 1, and yeah, Jax kind of forgot he was attached to someone, so really it was her fault. I thought Jax was NOT a nice person in book 1. But he's still mentioned here as do some of the other people that died. I think he'll maybe turn up again.

I haven't read any of Lisanne Norman's stuff. Ooo, I will put this down as a series to check out. I try to look around on Amazon for books that could be science fiction romance but it's really hard to figure out what is and what isn't on there.
Sep. 12th, 2009 04:32 pm (UTC)
Well they're a bit older now but probably still available - from DAW - they're tending more towards fantasy (and increase in size as the series progresses) but have a strong romantic element because it's love between two species - human and sholan (a cat-like species) - and the changes that brings specifically to the sholan world because certain humans discover psychic powers when they meet their mate - I loved the society on the home planet of the sholans and the people we meet there and the fact that the heroine manages to become the mate of a very high-ranking sholan male and therefore the clan system is in an uproar. There are also secondary romances in the books.


So far 7 books are out, but it's not finished and the last book was released in 2003. I do think there are good places to stop earlier - she doesn't do cliff-hanger endings in the first few books. I think after volume 3 for example is fine.
Sep. 12th, 2009 03:46 pm (UTC)
You know, I thought the same thing about Baby Z in the first book, that it was this elaborate side plot that went nowhere. But having read the other two changed my mind; there are still mentions of the baby, his species and his planet, and I think they're going to be important in the future.
Sep. 12th, 2009 12:36 pm (UTC)
So excited to read your review..since you teased us all on Twitter!!! I kid - I loved it that you were so excited reading this book. I will be too and I just read Wanderlust recently..I wasn't tortured for months and months waiting:)

I already feel anxious waiting to read how March and Jax's relationship progresses. And yay - we get lots of Vel!!

I can make it - just two more weeks.
Sep. 12th, 2009 01:42 pm (UTC)
I hope I didn't sound like I was gloating on twitter. I was just really enthusiastic and wanted everyone to read it.

Don't feel anxious. It's intense but good. Yes, Vel is so awesome! :)
Sep. 12th, 2009 01:45 pm (UTC)
oh no..you weren't gloating. You were sharing your joy;) It was fun - I like it when people share what they are reading.

I have good anxious! lol.
Sep. 12th, 2009 02:42 pm (UTC)
Sounds great :D
I have read the first one and I sure wanna read some more, to really get the feel of the series
Sep. 12th, 2009 04:47 pm (UTC)
Does Jax grow her hair back?
The way Wanderlust ended really hit me hard in the gut. I don't think I could handle another ending like that. But Ann is a sneaky wench that way.
Sep. 12th, 2009 04:55 pm (UTC)
Yep, her hair is mentioned as being longer here. (And Ann IS sneaky!).

Hey, how is ON THE EDGE so far? Are you reading it yet? :)
Sep. 12th, 2009 04:57 pm (UTC)
Just got On the Edge a few days ago. Haven't started yet.
YAY for long hair on Jax!!
( 23 comments — Leave a comment )

Other stuff

Due to spam, I've disallowed anonymous commenting. Sorry. :( If you still want to comment, please use the mirror of this blog at specficromantic.com


janicus book blog - Blogged

Latest Month

December 2016


Powered by LiveJournal.com