Wanderlust by Ann Aguirre
Wanderlust (Sirantha Jax, Book 2)
Romance is less common in science fiction than in fantasy, but every now and then an author will marry the two genres. The results can be amazingly good, especially if the sci-fi aspects remain dominant. Ann Aguirre’s new series, currently comprising Grimspace and Wanderlust, is a successful addition to the genre.
Jumper Sirantha Jax was born with the J-gene, which allows her to guide spaceships through the altered dimension known as grimspace. Readers meet her while she’s in custody for supposedly crashing a ship and killing everyone on board. When a man named March offers to engineer an escape in return for her help, she jumps at the chance.
From here, the story becomes a complex web of politics, adventure and plain grit. The Corp, Jax’s previous employer, holds the monopoly on training new jumpers, and rivals want Jax’s help in setting up a competing school. But the crash that ruined Jax’s reputation merely is the first step in a game that, should it continue, could lead to a bloody war among all human-occupied worlds.
These books never quite go where readers expect them to. In the first novel, this leads to a few sections that don’t quite mesh with the others; by the second book, Aguirre has overcome this minor flaw and delivers a much more solid tale.
Jax is a likable character, despite her damaged psyche and “kick ass and take names” attitude. Aguirre also makes the minor characters just as interesting, which is a nice surprise. My personal favorite is Velith, who doesn’t show up until near the end of book one, and is present for most of book two.
A well-rounded cast can be difficult to attain, and these books show how much strength they give to a story.
Grimspace and Wanderlust, jam-packed with battles, aliens and a heroine who doesn’t take back-talk from anyone, are a pair of grand adventures.
This review originally appeared in the Davis Enterprise on September 18, 2008.