Saturday, April 30, 2011

Grimspace by Ann Aguirre

Grimspace (Sirantha Jax, #1)

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I grabbed this book because it has a female protagonist, and it looked like it might be a break from the usual, male-dominated hard-SF offerings. Sirantha Jax, our heroine, is a pretty tough cookie, for sure. She's got a special gene that allows her to pilot in "grimspace" - aka hyperspace. This makes her valuable to "the Corp", which is a pan-Galactic corporation that pretty much runs things and is benevolent, as long as you don't cross them. But when we first see Jax, she is in a mental ward, following an unexplained crash, which killed everyone on board (including Jax's lover/pilot). The Corp psychs are clearly trying to tell her she caused the crash, but she doesn't remember. She is rescued by a dark, mysterious man, and becomes a renegade and gets involved in some dicey anti-Corp action, is nearly killed several times, and, naturally, falls in love.

It is this last bit that grated on my nerves. Why does any novel with a "hard-nosed" female lead always go down the same path: she meets a dark mysterious man, they hate each other on sight, but they are also drawn to each other. Each one has 'deep dark secrets' and is wounded somehow. They fight cute, and discover an almost supernatural connection with each other. The admit their feelings and have racy sex. She gets separated from him. He goes crazy with grief/rage. The reunite. The vow to never leave each other again. They have sex. End of story.

At times, this almost read like a Stephanie Plum novel ("One for the Money", etc), without Stephanie's klutziness. I just wish we could have a female character who is just "one of the guys". Maybe she falls in love, but it's not some magical "woo-woo" romance from a storybook. Because, romance aside, this was a good book. I really enjoyed the worlds and the cultures, and it all seemed very believable (though the ending was a bit too quickly and cleanly wrapped up to be real). I want a female lead like Ripley in Alien/Aliens! She kicks butt and does not need to be swept off her feet by Prince Charming!

That being said, I will probably read at least one more in the series, because, as I said, romance aside, it's pretty good stuff. So I'm willing to give it another shot.

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