Wanderlust by Ann Aguirre

Wanderlust
Ann Aguirre

This is book 2 of the Sirantha Jax series, book 1 is Grimspace, which I reviewed here.

In this series, our flawed heroine Jax is a jumper, someone with a special j-gene that allows her to navigate ships through grimspace. As with all jumpers she's addicted to the thrill of grimspace but knows that her life expenctancy is low - her next jump could fry her mind and be her last. This has made her rather devil-may-care and self-serving until she is the sole survivor in a horrific crash, and March finds her under arrest by the Corp.

In Wanderlust, Jax is past much of the problems she dealt with in Grimspace, but, as her luck would have it, she runs into another set. Now she discovers that because she was briefly declared dead, this lead to her accounts being frozen and right now she's broke. This means she needs a job, and what's being offered is an ambassadorship to Ithiss-Tor. That's the planet Vel, her would-be assassin-turned-friend came from – where the inhabitants are human-sized insects that can produce a camoflage layer of skin to blend into other societies. Jax and her motley group of friends decide to take the job, but there are other groups around them with hidden agendas. Some want Jax to go and do a good job, some want her to go and fail spectacularly, and some just want to kill her. Action and space opera ensues!

I found a good review of this book, which I agreed with (that also has more detail about the plot, so don't click if you don't want to know) , here at LJ's genrereviews community.

Overall, I found that this book was slower-paced than Grimspace in a good way. Things feel like they take the right amount of time. I don't think the story needs to have constant action, and it was good to have some lulls (resting between battles, a non-eventful space trip once in a while, more planning, more quiet moments). There is still plenty going on of course, lots of suspense and action, its just not all of the book. This was a good thing.  

Besides Vel, March, and Dina who were introduced in Grimspace , a couple new people join their crew – Hit, a skilled fighter and pilot, and Jael, an ex-mercenary. Both with complicated pasts, as with everyone in Jax's circle. Hit and Dina get along very well, and there are hints at a blossoming relationship between the two women – I really liked how this was written – like they fit together easily, without much fuss or fanfare, but still it seems like something special. Meanwhile March and Jax's relationship continues to evolve, and it's not easy for them. Aguirre throws an interesting wrench into things, and I'm waiting to see how it gets resolved in later books. I've been quite pleased with the writing in terms of the snappy dialog between people, and the growing friendships in the crew. The characters in the book all intruiged me, not just Jax and March. Even Jax's personal assistant 245 interested me! So - I felt totally satisfied after reading this book because – I still want to know what happens next, which is what you want to have when you know there's another book coming along. And I think my interest will probably last until the next book comes out. Plus, it felt like a great escape to read the book. Good space opera fun.  

Wanderlust comes out on August 26th, 2008.

Here's an excerpt.

Book 3 and 4 are contracted and tentatively (?) will be called Doubleblind and Killbox.  I believe there is going to be a book 5, but that has no title yet.

Aguirre also has an urban fantasy series in the works, about a woman who finds missing people with her ability to touch things and know what it's history is. The first book is Blue Diablo and is out April 7th, 2009, and book 2 is Hell Fire, which comes out sometime at the end of 2009.

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