Series: Sirantha Jax #1
Published by Ace on February 26, 2008
Genres: SPACE, UF
As the carrier of a rare gene, Sirantha Jax has the ability to jump ships through grimspace-a talent which makes her a highly prized navigator for the Corp. Then a crash landing kills everyone on board, leaving Jax in a jail cell with no memory of the crash. But her fun's not over. A group of rogue fighters frees her...for a price: her help in overthrowing the established order.
uf, space, torture, tortured-hero, psychic-powers, strong-female-charcter, previous-trauma, previous-abuse, grumpy-hero, fall-into-romance-bingo-challenge
FTC: I bought this book. I will be using it as part of my Fall-into-Romance challenge.
CW: death of a loved one, violence, psychological abuse, trauma.
Before we start, this book is the start of a series of 6 books. Yes, I have been told you need to read them in order.
Sirantha Jax is a jumper. Genetically predisposed to be able to navigate to anywhere in the galaxy, she should hold the highest regard of all who work with her. And she did. Until the accident that killed over 700 people, including her lover and the rest of her crew.
When we meet Sirantha, she is a prisoner, subject to psychological torture in an apparent attempt to break her down and get her to confess. They nearly do break her but then she is sprung by a band of outlaws, on a mission to free the other worlds from the stronghold and tyranny of the Corp. The quest is to find the secret to creating jumpers, a result that would mean an end to the reliance on the corp for traversing the galaxy. The problem is that Sirantha is wanted back in her jail cell by the Corp and there is very little they wouldn’t do to get her there.
Within the merry band of outlaws is March: Psychic, a bit of a git and full of secrets. When he steps up to become the pilot who has to psychically merge with Jax in order to steer their ship, he thrusts himself beneath her armour and threatens her battered heart. But with so many secrets and emotional barriers between them, can they trust each other enough to make their mission a success? Or will their past destroy the fragile bond growing between them, especially when it seems that March was against her very addition to their crew?
Written in first person, this book held my attention from the first line and I couldn’t put it down. Jax is a complex, fascinating character with a terrible back-story and an exciting, yet dangerous, future. I enjoyed her voice, enjoyed watching her turn from the untrusting, damaged individual, rescued from prison, to the self-sacrificing person that she becomes by the end of the book. I loved watching her learn to trust and pick up the pieces of her battered heart. Each scene developed her that much more and I loved her character arc.
The core of this book is relationships. At the start of the book, Jax had nothing. By the end, she has an entire crew who she would fight to the death for and who would do the same for her. Her development is due to the people around her and I enjoyed watching all the interactions she had with the rest of the characters.
I have to mention the burgeoning relationship between her and March. At the start of the tale, he is no fan of Jax. He considers her a necessary evil and he is, quite frankly, an arsehole with her. When they have to mentally merge to navigate the ship, their relationship changes quite quickly. She is completely open to him whilst he can hold up significant walls to keep her out of his head – I wanted to punch him for the conflict he causes throughout the start of the book. As his backstory starts to come out, I did start to have some sympathies and then I could see his conflict. He had reason, or so he thought, to hate her, but he isn’t as immune as he wants to be. The bond between a pilot and jumper is legendary, so close they often become lovers. But he doesn’t want to be her lover and Jax is still not over the last pilot lover she took … it all seems doomed. Or does it?
The world-building within this book is astounding. Complex, layered and intricate, it made the background to this UF-space book vivid and fascinating. I will admit that it lost me at points, and I needed to re-read several passages, but I didn’t mind as I was that hooked in. I can’t wait to read more.