Doubleblind by Ann Aguirre
Doubleblind (Sirantha Jax, Book 3)
While most fantasy readers have grown accustomed to the juxtaposition of fantasy and romance, science-fiction is far behind in that department. Only a few authors have explored that territory thus far, and the results have been as mixed as they would be in any other genre.
Ann Aguirre’s Sirantha Jax books are a cut above the rest, though, as evidenced by Doubleblind.
Jax never has thought of herself as particularly suave or tactful, but somehow she winds up as the diplomatic ambassador to the planet of the insectoid Ithtorians. They haven’t allowed outside visitors for 200 years, but the threat of the rapacious Morgut has made humanity desperate to gain this powerful alliance.
Not all the Ithtorians favor a new friendship between races. When a councilor pushing for the alliance falls gravely ill, Jax is implicated in the crime. The question: Who is so desperate to sabotage the talks, that murder would be employed to prevent them from happening?
Although this novel has elements of romance, this isn’t the main focus. Even then, the relationship between Jax and her lover March is more about trust than anything else. Trust is an important theme here, encompassing not only the romantic relationship but also the deep friendship between Jax and an Ithtorian bounty hunter named Vel.
In fact, I found this friendship the most interesting.
Aguirre excels at giving readers a good sense of both where they are, and what it’s like to be there. The planet Ithiss-Tor is quite different from Earth, and yet it’s easy to picture.
The author skillfully weaves cultural details to augment the world’s physical appearance, which adds greatly to the story’s depth.
Books that manage this feat are among the most memorable, and this one is no exception.
If you haven’t yet picked up Aguirre’s Jax books, now’s a great time to get started. Doubleblind has adventure, romance and strange lands all wrapped up into one great novel.
This review originally appeared in the Davis Enterprise on October 15, 2009.