Doubleblind - Ann Aguirre
This series gets better with each book I read. Doubleblind picks up exactly where we left off at the end of Wanderlust with Sirantha just about to begin her diplomatic mission on Ithiss-Tor. She is hoping to broker an alliance between the Conglomerate and The ‘Bugs’ to deter the chaos and unrest developing after the fall of the Farwan Corporation. It doesn’t help that the deadly Ithtorians have been completely isolated from other races for many years and detest the human race for their soft skinned, dead meat eating ways! But Sirantha is nothing if not tenacious and even though ambassadorship is the least likely avenue she could have imagined herself pursuing she honors her commitment with no less dedication than usual. Never say die, that’s our girl!What I liked about this book:• The extreme attention to well rounded world building that Ann Aguirre does best. The Ithtorians are mantis like creatures whose social structure and customs are completely alien to humans. Sirantha has to navigate both cultural and political minefields in order to present her case for cooperation between the races. Aguirre has created an intricate society with cultural mores, language, architecture and politics that is so different from human kind I was extraordinarily immersed. • Vel! Lucky for Sirantha the diplomatic minefield she navigates is made easier by her secret weapon, the Ithtorian ex-bounty hunter Velith, who has become an invaluable ally and close friend. Loyal, resourceful, brilliant, there were so many times where Sirantha would have been completely adrift without him and I loved that this story took us deep into their friendship and showed how close they’ve become despite how different they are! We also get to learn more about Vel and his history which led from his banishment from Ithiss_Tor to his career as a bounty hunter.• The March and Jax reunion. We left March back on Lachion in the middle part of Wanderlust, his unassailable sense of obligation to Mair and Keri keeping him in the middle of the brutal civil war with the McCulloughs. By the end of Wanderlust he has returned to Jax, a completely broken shell of his former self, barely recognizing the love and deep connection they shared as pilot and jumper. Sirantha, knee deep in the political maneuverings of her mission, has made the decision to mend the mental destruction wrought by the war and the way she does it is simply brilliant, intimate and inspired.• Sirantha in general. I love everything about this character. She is dedicated and loyal and also smart and tenacious. Impetuous, instinctual, and strong yet vulnerable when it comes to her friends and the people she loves. Jax has grown up quite a bit since we saw her at the beginning of the series. Once a darling of the media for her unique and brilliant jumper abilities, she would party hard and flash her tits for the late night paparazzi. Now she’s cultivated a sense of responsibility to March and the rest of the crew with whom she is tightly bound to. She has found her place; a new, responsible Jax and the character is made hugely better and more interesting for it.There was not much I didn’t like in Doubleblind. Almost predictably their mission is sabotaged but by a character I did not suspect. Their scramble to set things right before leaving was also a bit fortuitous but I wouldn’t have changed it for the world as they jumped away to new adventures mostly intact. I can guess that now Sirantha will find some kind of trouble as she resigns from the ambassadorship and returns to making her own way with March and the rest of her crew. Next up: Sirantha Jax 4:Killbox!