Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Review: Endgame (Sirantha Jax # 6) by Ann Aguirre

Regret nothing.

Sirantha Jax has the J-gene, which permits her to “jump” faster-than-light ships through grimspace. She loves nothing more than that rush, but the star roads have to wait… Her final mission takes her to La’heng, a planet subjugated during first contact. Since then, the La’hengrin homeworld has been occupied by foreign conquerors. All that’s about to change.Now, as part of a grassroots resistance, Jax means to liberate the La’hengrin. But political intrigue and guerrilla warfare are new to her, and this will be the most dangerous game she’s ever played—spies and conspiracies, a war of weapons and hearts, and not everyone is guaranteed to make it out alive...

Release Date: August 28, 2012
Publisher: Ace
Genre: Science Fiction, Romance
Pages: 337
Purchase at: Amazon or Barnes & Noble

Disclaimer:  I am a tad biased in this review, and I am a fan girl!  You've been warned!!!
***Slight spoilers from previous books in the Sirantha Jax series***

No matter how interminable something feels, there is always, always an ending.  Sometimes that's good, and sometimes it's bad; sometimes it's a matter of indifference, and sometimes it's heartbreaking and your life is never the same thereafter.  ~  Grimspace

Oh, Sirantha Jax!  How hard it is to say good-bye to you.  You've kept me reeling through six books, and now your journey is complete.  You've made me root for you, and you've made me cry.  You've made me angry and you became one of my book addictions.  Endgame is the end, as the title implies, and you will be missed very much.

I've had a lot to say over the last year about this series, mostly on GoodReads, because it is one of those series that seeps into your soul.  As if Jax, March, Vel and the rest are actual, live people as opposed to fictional creations.  I have vented about this series, and it's one of the only series that has truly gotten under my skin.  That being said, although I am happy with how Endgame ended, I still have some issues with exactly how this book ended - but more on that later.

But the truth is, the longer you love the same person, the more mysterious they become.  March is like a pocket universe, full of stars, and I will never learn all his light.

Jax and March are seemingly together in a long distance relationship at the beginning of Endgame.  Jax is on La'Heng with Vel and Loras, helping to free the natives of being slaves for noble races from other planets while March is on Nicuan raising his nephew, Sasha.

Jax is able to complartmentalize her feelings for March so that she doesn't drive herself crazy thinking about her life and the turns that it has taken.  She is on La'heng, and she has a job to do.  A promise to keep.  Jax is full of altruistic notions, and nowhere is it more evident than in this book.

Work kept me busy, but deep within their complartmentalized slots, my yearning for him - and grimspace - never faltered - twin insatiable addictions.

March and Jax are still trying to find a way to be together, even though they are on different planets.  There has been a lot of Vel vs. March talk concerning this series, and it's no secret which male I have been rooting for since the beginning.  Looking back on things, it seems silly.  Throughout all six books in this series, it is apparent that March and Jax share a complicated, imperfect, deep and unwavering love for one another.  I just don't know if that's enough to take them through the remainder of their lives, but the feelings have always been present.  It is my opinion that these two are meant for one another.  We are given more information in Endgame concerning Jax's relationships with March and Vel, and how March views these relationships.  

Vel and I came to a new understanding.  It's not the same relationship I have with March, but there are feelings, and we've been together for the last turn.  
Jax goes through some serious thought about whether or not she and March can actually be together like normal people, and comes to a decision by the end of the book.  My only problem with this storyline was that I felt that there was a strange fickleness to Jax and there were times when I thought she wanted to have her proverbial cake and eat it, too.  It is made clear throughout this book and the five prior to this that she is in love with March, that he's an addiction and that she will always come back to him.  Vel is written as more than a best friend - almost as a soul mate.  Endgame finds Vel mourning the loss of Adele and it is written that he will mourn her for many, many turns.  Although there are some sweet moments between Vel and Jax, it didn't feel sexual to me.  It is obvious that Jax will never live her life without Vel, but she ends up making a surprising commitment by the end of this book.  Jax, herself, states in this book that she is self-centered, which is a conclusion I've been waiting for her to come to for a long time.

Regret should wrack me from head to toe, but the truth is, a kernel of happiness burns inside me.  I want him, even if it's not by choice.  That's how self-centered I am.
There are a couple of great scenes where March and Jax finally have it out.  Where March and Jax exchange their feelings about what happened between them in the past.  We, the readers, already know a lot of this, but March and Jax have never really discussed their feelings.  I think this is an obstacle that absolutely had to be overcome in order for this series to end.  Jax and March are able to work through these feelings - her feelings of abandonment and the idea that she couldn't count on March, and March's similar feelings of abandonment and his jealousy issues.  Neither one lets the other off easy.  

"While we're clearing the air, Jax, what about the colors Vel wears?  Tell me that's nothing to do with you.  I looked up that symbol, and it means 'grimspace" in Ithtorian.  So while you were with him - and I was waiting - you gave him some kind of commitment?  That's more than I ever got from you." 

A problem for me in this book was the absolute lack of grimspace.  Jax says multiple times throughout this series that she is addicted to grimspace.  She can't live without it, yet she goes through this entire book without once traveling through it.  I missed the beautiful colors and the high Jax always got from it.  Although there are reasons why Jax remains dirt side in this book, it was hard to not see her doing what she loves most - traveling through space and exploring.

An issue I had with this book was the lack of action sequences.  Ann Aguirre is known for writing kick ass action scenes.  There was a lot happening in this book, but Jax, March, Vel et. al. seemed to be removed a bit from it.  The characters seemed to be watching and participating up unto a point, but the trademark brutal scenes were missing from this book.  One thing I did love was that Jax was not the hero in this book.  She didn't go off on her own to kick ass and take names, she didn't sacrifice herself or her relationship with a loved one to be the victor - she played her role and helped accomplish a goal and keep a long ago promise.  

The rest of Jineba can go to hell.  I've sacrificed enough in this war; I won't give up March, too.

 Onto the supporting characters:

Vel wasn't the lead character that he was in the previous book.  He was ever present, and acted as Jax's corner stone.  When she needed advice or non-sexual comfort, she turned to him.  Vel was one of the leaders in the rebellion on La'Heng.  He asked Jax to change herself in a major way, which she of course accepted (what Jax does to assist in the rebellion for Vel's plan is just plain weird, in my opinion.  I'm not sure I agree with it, and less sure that I liked it).  He understood Jax's inner turmoil concerning her relationships and her role in the rebellion.  I just felt he was on the side, which I guess when looking back, is where he belonged the entire time.  

Sasha, March's psy nephew, was a great addition to this book.  When we last saw him, he was much younger and not in control of his abilities.  We see him in Endgame as a teenager, rebellious in his own manner and hell bent on helping in the La'Heng rebel effort.  I enjoyed the father-son relationship between him and March, and surprisingly, I adored his relationship with Jax.  Jax comes to truly care for Sasha, and not just because he is March's nephew.  Sasha proves himself over and over again in this book, and I hope we see more of him in the future spin-off series.  

Loras is not the same man we met way back in Grimspace.  He has been cured and has become an angry man, fighting for the good of his people.  Although he takes counsel and help from March and Vel, he is the true leader of the rebellion on La'Heng.  Loras is all business, and decides that he will free his native planet or he will die trying.  He is capable of making very difficult decisions, and is ultimately focused on his goal.  He is willing to sacrifice anything and anyone to reach that goal.  He transforms from what amounts to a slave to a brilliant rebel leader.

Zeeka has grown into an integral part of the "Jax team."  He is happy to fight along side of Jax and her friends.  He became one of my favorite characters in this book, even though he has a smaller role.  It was lovely to see Zeeka as an adult (his species matures at a much faster rate than humans or Ithtorians) and how he came to be, with the help of March, Jax and Vel.  

The ending of this book left me a little cold.  As much as I was happy for the characters, there were a few issues that bothered me.  For example, the nanites in Jax were never fully addressed.  There was some talk about rejuvenex, a treatment that can extend life spans, but I thought it was clear that eventually, all of Jax's friends would eventually die, leaving Jax alive for a much longer time.  I think that Jax does get her "happily ever after," but it's not what I expected.  I don't think that Jax can ever be too happy for too long.  She's the type that will settle down for several turns, exploring the universe, but then something will spur her to action in the future.  I just don't think it's in her to lay back and travel for the next several decades.  

All in all, Endgame was not as action packed as the previous books in this series.  As this book begins with the quote, "This is not a love story," I think it's proven beyond a doubt that it is a love story.  Obviously it's a love story between Jax and March, but it's also a love story between Jax and Vel, Jax and herself and Jax and grimspace.  For me, and I know many of you out there will disagree with me, this entire series was a personal journey for Jax and an epic love story.  I'm just so very sad to see it all end.

When the columns are tallied, emotional profit and loss reckoned, I will always, always love him.

My favorite quotes from the Sirantha Jax series

With a nod, he brushes his lips against my ear.  Sparks shimmer down my spine.  This man's pure narcotic, delicious and addictive.  Don't know how I though I could walk away from him for good.  ~ Grimspace

"I need you, March.  I was scared as hell to admit it, but I can't do without you, and if that makes me broken..."  I shrug.  "I'll take you any way I can get you.  And I don't give a damn what you've done.  You will never be rid of me."  ~ Wanderlust

"I'll always want him.  Until ever sun goes dark in ever sky, until I am nothing more than long-forgotten cosmic dust, I will want him.  And even then I suspect my particles will long for his."  ~ Doubleblind

He kisses me then, his hands in my hair.  For one glorious moment, I'm overflowing with him.  The loneliness receeds, and I'm reminded why I wait for him, why nobody else will do. ~ Killbox

"Jax ...you know how I said...before your trial - that I'd be there waiting?  I always will be.  Five turns.  Ten.  Twenty.  There's no one else for me.  I live in the hope that there will come a time when you'll need no more wandering, and you'll come home to me....I will come for you.  Always."  ~ Aftermath


Melliane said...

I just ordered the first one and I can't wait to see how it is. Thanks for the great review!

Carmel @ Rabid Reads said...

The last book in a series is always bitter sweet unfortunately. :( I haven't read this series but I feel your pain.