I am not a huge SciFi fan, but I absolutely adore the Sirantha Jax series by Ann Aguirre and she so reaffirms that with Doubleblind.
It’s not easy to tread lightly wearing steel-toed boots.
Sirantha 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 exoskeletons.
And 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 relationship.
But 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 hope. Which has
Jax wondering why a notorious troublemaker like her was given the job…
Oh where do I start? I simple adore Jax and I am not one who likes a lot of SciFi. I think what really sells me on this series is the fact that the entire story is told in the first person, so we only get to hear and see what Jax wants us to. We learn about the new intergalactic cultures from someone who is processing it for the first time. I know there are some who do not like that brand of storytelling, but it adds such a dimension that I am always captivated whenever I pick up one of these novels.
One of the advantages to the first person narrative (IMHO) is the relationship between March and Jax. We never get inside March’s head, so we never know what he is thinking unless Jax knows. At the end of Wanderlust, March and Jax’s relationship gets a major speed-bump and she’s not willing to lose him over it. At the begining of Doubleblind, we know what issues Jax and March’s relationship has, but because of the narration style, we only get to see the problems from Jax’s POV. We get to watch her fumble along, trying to figure things out, all without getting any kind of hints along the way. Usually, with an omniscient narrative, we would have ended up in the heroes’ head at some point and given a clue, but that’s not the case.
All while trying to figure out how to help March, Jax is also having to deal with the Ithtorian Council and getting them to agree to help the Conglomerate in their upcoming battles. Not only does she not understand a word of what they are saying, but there is so much political subterfuge going on that she can’t help but get caught up in it. Even though Jax gets thrown into some interesting situations, the story never really has that lost feeling. There is such an ongoing flow to the plot that it’s progression feels really natural and it’s very easy to find yourself reading for much longer than you originally planned.
Overall, I’m hooked. I’m not generally a fan of SciFi, but after reading Doubleblind, I’m really in the mood to pick up another one. Aguirre’s storytelling is fascinating and has the ability to instantly captivate anyone. The characters were further developed beautifully, the plot was intriguing and lacked a lot of the blood and guts from Wanderlust and was quite simply a memorable read. Honestly, I read this back when it first came out in September and it’s still fresh in the back of my mind. That right there is one of my huge signals that a story is superb.