by Ann Aguirre – Science fiction meets thriller meets romance in this fast-paced and solar-system-spanning novel. Sirantha Jax, a jumper through the grimspace that surrounds everything and provides a shortcut to other systems, has barely survived a catastrophic crash that killed her lover and pilot, along with more than 80 others. She’s being held for psychiatric treatment in a facility that is more like a jail than a hospital, when she finds herself being rescued… if she can pull herself together long enough to jump the rescue ship away before they are all killed. And that’s just the *first* part of the book!
Aguirre has created a believable world with memorable and unique characters, and she’s put us right into the action, explaining as the story builds how this universe works. There’s very little exposition and description serves to move the story along, which makes perfect sense, as we’re seeing it all through the eyes of Jax. The first-person narrative keeps us as in the dark as Jax until we need to know something, which is not coincidentally when Jax experiences it.
The plot builds on societal and political themes (i.e., greed, conformity, power, corruption, deception, fame, dissidence), but the heart of the story is in Jax’s struggle to discover herself, to trust, and to open her heart again. It’s a great read and I recommend it wholeheartedly. (finished 8/16/2012)