Monday, June 18, 2012

Space Wars: Wanderlust & Grimspace

I found a space opera that I'm enjoying enough to keep reading on my NOOK; although not earth shattering literature (either in beauty or amazing plot fireworks) it has good page turning (sliding? do e-pages turn) and a fun bunch of characters. Ann Aguirre'Sirantha Jax series has proven my favorite of all her work that I've encountered.

GrimspaceI read the first one, Grimspace, for Felicia Day's Vaginal Fantasy book club. It was the back up selection, and I read it while visiting my Dad because I wasn't enjoying the main pick at all. I liked the snarky bits, and how long it took her to figure out that Marsh could hear her when she thought about him (and she mostly thought threats and insults). I liked how they killed off the alien baby, because I didn't think Aguirre'd dare do that, and I liked how Marsh got all jealous when he thought she was going to sleep with the wrong pirate (that would be the one who was not him). These were all excellent things to have in an airplane book.

I didn't like how people would drag her about, not tell her things, and then blame her when she did something wrong. Hey, if you kidnap someone, don't yell at her for spilling blood in an escape attempt because you forgot to mention the native creatures that attack when that happens. Maybe avoid kidnapping strangers is a better lesson to learn there? 

Since the first book went down so easy, and the library has them all waiting for ebook checkout, I ordered up the next book, Wanderlust.

Wanderlust coverBad: Protagonist Jax now seems very passive. She repeatedly says she'll have to lead because her crew mates somehow look to her for direction, but actually she mainly reacts instead of taking initiative. Part of it is because of her wasting illness and part of it is the bizarre and active plots of all about her, but the result is that she rarely makes plans or acts on them.

Good: She doesn't sit about whinging but deals with her situation. She has a new and strong sense of self and refuses to hand that over to her mother or her boyfriend. When she hesitates to commit to March because of her possibly terminal illness, she also refuses to take his man pain on herself -- she doesn't want to be dependent on someone else, even if he would like to be essential to him. And she won't change her mind just because this makes him sad. Yet she allows herself to love him and to let him make his own decisions. I loved it that he stayed behind to fight a soul-destroying war and promised to try to catch her up later, and that she agreed and left anyway -- it's such a refreshing twist in a romance -- two adults respecting each other as people even when they disagree or have different goals.

The plot still seems rather convoluted; I have no idea why the people hoping the mission succeeds picked her as ambassador since she has no qualifications or even any demonstrated ability (see war raging on.  I'm not even sure why the people hoping for Jax to fail bother interfering, since she seems so unlikely to complete any diplomatic move; she's more likely to accidentally cause a mortal insult while looking for a bathroom. For a while I thought I had those groups confused (pro-mission people were the ones kidnapping/assassinating her, anti-mission people protected her), but that was wrong. Maybe this will become clearer in the next book. And I do want to read the next book, and my library is happy to oblige me.

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