Author: Ann Aguirre Genre: Science Fiction Publisher: Ace Date Published: September 29, 2009
It’s not easy to tread lightly wearing steel-toed boots.
Sirantha Jax isn’t known for diplomatic finesse. As a “Jumper” who navigates ships through grimspace, she’s used to kicking ass first and taking names later—much later. Not exactly the obvious choice to sell the Conglomerate to the Ithtorians, a people whose opinions of humans are as hard as their exoskeletons.
And Ithiss-Tor council meetings aren’t the only place where Ambassador Jax needs to maneuver carefully. Her lover, March, is frozen in permanent “kill” mode, and his hair-trigger threatens to sabotage the talks—not to mention their relationship.
But Jax won’t give up on the man or the mission. With the Outskirts beleaguered by raiders, pirates, and the flesh-eating Morgut, an alliance with Ithiss-Tor may be humanity’s only hope. Which has Jax wondering why a notorious troublemaker like her was given the job…”
By the time I picked up this book I was thoroughly emerged in the world. The fact that is was written in present tense no longer bothered me. I was so engrossed in the lives of the characters that I simply couldn’t wait to read more.
Why I Read this Book:
It’s the third book in the series. I am a series reader. The first two were compelling enough to keep me reading to find out what happens to Jax.
Doublebind is filled with political intrigue. Jax is sent to Ithtorians on their closed planet. They have previously only let one other human delegation. Jax has the advantage of having Vel on her side, an outcast Ithtorian who had run away from his home planet. The previous delegation came completely ignorant and unawares of the Ithtorian culture, consequently Ithtorians think that all humans are ignorant and unworthy. However, Jax has had training from Vel. The second day in residence she has a chip implanted that aids in the translation of their language, but also picks up the language they use bodily, a subtle art. Jax, however does not inform the Ithtorian’s of her chip, in hopes to get an edge on what is going on. They speak more freely in her presence when her translator Vel is gone, and so she is able to gain a competitive edge by pretending the need for her translator still.
There is also the conflict of the Syndicate nicely woven in between chapters, as news casts, and communications. The first one we are presented with is Ramona, head of the syndicate, presenting the Syndicate as egalitarian. Then there is the corresponding news feeds, and posts in regards to that representation. I really enjoyed this, as it gave an outside perspective in what was going on in the bigger picture, adding pressure to succeed in gaining an alliance with the Ithtorians.
And then there is the March-Jax relationship. March has gone to a really dark place and no longer knows how to be human. He is dampening his urges to kill for the sake of Jax and his promise to her. But she won’t give up on him. I applaud her not giving up on him, but her reasoning is entirely selfish. I do however like how the problem was solved; it made sense with the abilities presented.
Overall the third book is a much stronger, more compelling read. I think that you could honestly read them individually without reading the books ahead of them, however it is much nicer read if you pick them all up at once and go through them sequentially. It also gives you a good idea how the author has grown to go from start to finish. By the end I was starting to try and write my book in present tense, when it was started in past. See Ann Aguirre is influential.
Rating: A Solid 7/10 Very Good