Posting this now because I’m not sure if I’ll get the chance next weekend.  Really looking forward to the next one of these.  As to the contest mentioned as of the edit, over at the Smutketeers’ blog they’re giving away some nifty stuff to celebrate the release of  R.G. Alexander’s final new book of 2010, My Demon Saint.  Based on the blurb and the name of the blog, I’m expecting sex and computer games.  Fun right?

Every year there are a scattering of books that I really look forward to seeing released.  Ann Aguirre’s Killbox, the fourth Sirantha Jax novel, was one of them.  With the Farwan Corporation gone attacks on merchant ships have increased drastically and the Morgut are becoming a larger and larger threat as they strike and devour Federation settlements.  As a result the crew becomes central in the formation of the Federation Armada, which due to lack of funding or training is quickly filled with some of the same pirates that they are fighting.

I really liked the minor characters getting a bit more development in this one.  It was nice to see Dina and Hit become more three dimensional and less defined by their jobs on ship.  One of the most emotional scenes was effective because it was Dina showing vulnerability rather than any other character.  It is also great to see the dynamic between Vel and Jax further developed, though I am a bit worried that Vel’s being set up as the third corner of a romantic triangle.  Seeing Doc humanized felt like a bit of a missed moment, and I’m hoping that Aguirre will do more with him in the next book. I would have like to have seen more trouble with the pirates that were recruited, to all accounts they just fit right in with no problems based on old allegiances or places they had attacked. As a final note on characters, I was glad to see Aguirre bring back characters from the earlier books rather than just adding copies to the cast.

Killbox is a good deal more emotionally self-reflective than the previous three books which can get really old really fast.  Add that the reader is dealing with Jax’s emotions from inside her head and there are times where she feels like a different character from the Jax of Doubleblind.  Jax and March are still mostly worried about each other, but they aren’t allowed to do things their way anymore due to his being the Armada’s Commander.  Many of the plans used throughout the book are strictly regulated as opposed to having a plan but then winging it.  The more structured plans added another level of difference between Killbox and the previous installments in the series.  Even with both characters being irreplaceably important Jax and March still find time to do really idiotic, really heroic things throughout the book which is both irritating and endearing.  My biggest complaint on that has to be Jax’s habit of yo-yoing over her own decisions, especially towards the end.  Since it is from the middle of the series, I’m not going to suggest Killbox on its own.  It is a good read, but not standalone.  It isn’t the best of the Sirantha Jax novels so far, but is still an enjoyable book and I am quite looking forward to the next one.

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