Review: Aftermath

Posted September 15, 2011 by Jen in 4.5 stars, Rating A, Sci-Fi or Fantasy Fiction Tags: , ,

Author: Ann Aguirre 
Release Date: August 30, 2011
Publisher: ACE
Sirantha Jax #5
ISBN: #978-0441020782
Genre: Science Fiction
Format(s): Paperback (320 pgs), e-book
Book Source: Publisher

About the book:

Sirantha Jax has the right genes—ones that enable her to “jump” faster-than-light ships through grimspace. But it’s also in her genetic makeup to go it alone. It’s a character trait that has gotten her into—and out of—hot water time and time again, but now she’s caused one of the most horrific events in military history…
      During the war against murderous, flesh-eating aliens, Sirantha went AWOL and shifted grimspace beacons to keep the enemy from invading humanity’s homeworld. The cost of her actions: the destruction of modern interstellar travel—and the lives of six hundred Conglomerate soldiers.
      Accused of dereliction of duty, desertion, mass murder, and high treason, Sirantha is on trial for her life. And only time will tell if she’s one of the Conglomerate’s greatest heroes—or most infamous criminals…

What Nimas talking about:

      I finished Ann Aguirre’s Aftermath with a long sigh; a sigh that was contentment, a sigh that wished for more, a sigh that was a wish I had read the first four books in the series!  The aptly named book is all about “what happens next.”  Like Paul Harvey’s famed radio broadcast And Now For the Rest of the Story, Aftermath follows main character Sirantha Jax as she faces the consequences of choices she’s made throughout the series to this point.
      As book five in Aguirre’s Sirantha Jax series begins, Aguirre doesn’t waste time or space   retelling the first four books.  There is enough detail present to follow the action and catch on to the rules of her universe, but the reader has to work for it when coming in cold.  The author honors those who have kept up with series by making no apologies for diving straight into the “aftermath”.  It is possible to pick it up here as I did, but I would recommend starting with book one, Grimspace.
      I like science fiction and read a fair amount of it.  It allows me the luxury of escaping to another world when I mentally leave the one to which I’m bound.  Aftermath is not casual science fiction.  In my opinion, this series is on par with Frank Herbert’s Dune. Readers of books like The Host and The Martian Chronicles will not find Aftermath immediately approachable, but they would do well to make the attempt.  Ann Aguirre’s storytelling is carefully crafted to actually tell a story and lovingly develop her characters, not just string together romantic interludes in space.  In fact, Aftermath has only one which is not overly long or explicit.
      As its title would indicate, Aftermath is reflective by nature, different than the action which characterized the Morgut War in previous books. I dog-eared several pages as I read just because I liked the way some of Jax’s musings made me think.  Without giving anything away, here are three of my favorite quotes:

I made the choices every step of the way because the consequences would have been worse if I hadn’t.  But I miss the woman I was, even as I learn to accept the new creature I’ve become.

I don’t kid myself it will change any of the harm I’ve inflicted, but it will comfort the soul Adele taught me to believe in, the quiet, smoky thing that lives at the heart of me and occasionally whispers at me that I can do better.

‘Always’ is a word that carries both magic and despair. I clutch it to my heart like a bladed fan.

      We get background in this book that readers who already know and love these characters will drink up.  I most relished coming to know Vel.  How did a bug-like, cool, hard chitin-covered alien become one of my favorite characters?  He is solid, loyal, dependable and entirely loveable.  His appearance and the fact that he has wide, side-set eyes drops away under the power of his presence.  Aftermath becomes a book of love told both in letters across the emptiness of space and the intimacy of challenges faced together.  It is intrinsically humanly relatable in a completely alien universe.  Ann Aguirre nails it as she sets us up for multiple possibilities in the final installment.
      Don’t be reluctant to start this series, even if science fiction isn’t “your thing”.  It is worth the time and effort.  You won’t be disappointed.  All I have to do now is pace the floor until the last book in the series, Endgame, is released.

Nimas Rating:

Loved it – enthusiastically recommend (A)

Books in the series:

5 responses to “Review: Aftermath

  1. I only knew Aguirre’s YA debut novel “Enclave” and didn’t realize she also wrote for adults. I’m not an avid science fiction fan, but I’m willing to invest time to read this series because a)I trust Nima’s book suggestions and b) The characters and world building sound great. I’ll have to look up the series and start from the beginning. I’m OCD that way. 🙂 Awesome review, Nima!

  2. Nima ~ I could not read your review since I haven’t been able to read the first part of the series. I know this is one that I really need to look into and I’m happy that you’re enjoying the series still at book #5. 😀