REVIEW: Killbox (Sirantha Jax, #4)

Killbox - Ann Aguirre

This is my favorite book in the series yet.

Yes, there are some things that bugged the hell out me. Like how, for example, everyone Jax knows happens to be the most brilliant person in their field, and the only person in the universe who could figure out "X." March is the bestest pilot ever, but wait Hit is also the bestest pilot ever; Saul is the master of medicine, Evie is the master of science, Vel is the master of electronics, Dina is the master of engineering (oh, and also, guns!), and so on and so forth. (Speaking of which, how come ship mechanics are always the gunners as well? Shouldn't these be two separate jobs held by two separate people? It's pretty ridiculous that, while under attack, the "gunner" would have to take a break from attacking to fix the engines, and the "mechanic" would have to take a break from fixing broken, vital parts of the ship to shoot guns. This made sense in Grimspace back on Lachion since they had such a small outfit, but now they're an Armada with a whole crew to run a ship! Anyway, I digress.)

Also, although Grimspace worked really well through the single-person narrative of Jax, now the universe is becoming too vast and the plot too epic for this to be sufficient anymore. So many of the characters we've come to love are strewn out about the universe, and we have no idea what's going on with them while we're confined singularly to Jax's mind. Even the ship's crew is too large-scale for this narrative, resorting to Jax spying on characters for the reader to know what's going on.

My last gripes are *major* spoilers, so, be warned...

Jax's almost non-reaction to her mother's death annoyed me a bit. Yes, they were by no means close, but her mother died saving her and an entire planet and who knows what else, so maybe Jax could have at least shed a tear for her before jumping into the sack with March.

And then, the way the book ended made me want to pull my hair out. I mean, at the very end of the book, when Jax is redirecting the beacons or whatever, she realizes that she *has* to live, otherwise a lot of humans will probably be screwed and unable to navigate the beacons along with the Morgut. Uh, didn't you think of this before, Jax? But no, instead she just jumps into some half-cocked plan, which she seemed to decide was absolutely necessary for the survival of humanity after only one minute's thought, and which would of course require her noble self-sacrifice for the greater good. *rolls eyes*

(show spoiler)

So yes, I'm grumbling about a lot of things, but I think the biggest takeaway from all this is that, in the moment, I didn't really care about all the stuff I mentioned above. The book was just so fun and good and exciting all the way through that, I didn't worry about all the things that bugged me, I just wanted more. I've read four of the Sirantha Jax books in as many days, and I feel like if there were enough books for me to read for every day for the rest of the year, I'd be happy, especially if they were as thrilling as Killbox. As it is, I'm deeply depressed to know that I only have two left to go before the series is put to rest.

But as for Killbox, it was one of the most action-packed out of all the books in the series, and I've really come to love the action in this series. The action was also sorely missed after the more politically based plot of Doubleblind, so I felt as if I finally got what I was missing, what I was craving. If Jax is a junkie for grimspace, then I'm a junkie for the action sequences in these books.

I thought that Jax/March were a bit more tolerable in this book as well. Ever since Wanderlust, I really haven't been much of a fan of March, and that really hasn't changed. The intense hero-complex thing just gets old, in my opinion. But, I did appreciate seeing him in the role of Commander. And, as much as it seems to have pissed some people off, it really is common in the military for the Commander to be off-limits to the crew romantically (at least according to my exposure to other books, TV, movies, and video games - I can't attest to know how things work in the military in reality). I mean, in truth, Jax should have probably even been assigned to a completely different ship. So, I didn't mind as much as other people that he laid down the law with Jax when they went to war. At least he never lied and said he didn't love her to push her away or anything melodramatic like that. The circumstances were unfortunate, but necessary for war, and that's the bottom line.

So, Killbox - I loved it. And even though I'm loathe for the series to end, if the next two books are anything like this one, I can't wait for the ride.