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on September 2, 2010
I forget between the many months that pass between Sirantha Jax books how much I absolutely love them. Ann Aguirre blows me away in each book, and Killbox may be her best yet.

War is coming. The Morguts, flesh eating monsters, that have a 97% kill rate against - everyone - are decimating the universe. Chancellor Tarn, the head of the Conglomerate has asked March, Jax's lover and pilot extraordinaire to become a commander. To build an Armada to fight off the Morgut. Both Jax and March are tired, and beaten but they have that adventurous spirit and the need and the want to help out those in need. Along with their crew, they make a call for anyone and everyone to join up for training, preparation and eventual battle. The odds are against them, and many know this will be their last mission, but camaraderie and perseverance holds strong.

Killbox is a heavy book. There is no light at the tunnel. The world is a dark, bleak place and despair hangs heavy on everyone. Yet, Ann Aguirre writes with such rich emotion that pulls you into these characters and gives you such a strong connection to them. Her characters are so real. Although written in Jax's point of view, I feel like I know them each so intimately. They aren't pretty, they are exhausted, injured, and they look like Hell. They get cranky, and scared. And they are some of my favorite characters to read.

Jax so selfless, and although knows she is a top class jumper among many talents, she has this humble vibe to her - much in part to her lover March. March has taught her love, devotion, and loyalty - or at least has reawakened these attributes in her. They share such private moments in this book, such quiet, hushed, longing embraces, that make the emotion swell out of you. Also, because March can hear Jax's thoughts, we get the intimate not-spoken moments. This book is filled with Morgut slime and guts, spaceship fighting, and gore. But Ann Aguirre somehow weaves in these amazing relationships with prose that takes my breath away.

March is not the only one who gets attention. Vel, Jax's best friend has wonderful page time in this book. He is her rock, who may understand her even more than March. He is such a gentlemen, and is one of the best supporting characters out there. Rounding out the crew are Dina and Hit, who add just a touch of sarcastic humor to the book.

But like I said, this book is gloomy - it's amazing, but war sucks, and Ann Aguirre holds nothing back in showing the face of battle. I don't read a lot of sci-fi but the world, and all the odd phrases and words read very easy and I am able to keep track of everything without difficulty. This series must be read in order. So much has happened in the previous three books to bring us to where we stand with Killbox. And with two books left in the series, I am nervous and excited to reach the end of this journey.
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on February 19, 2011
4.75 stars. This is one of my favorite in the series, although warning -- it ends with a cliffhanger. I enjoyed this installment of the Sirantha Jax series. Jax's friendship deepens with everyone around her, including Vel and Dina. Jax continues to grow as a character and as a result, makes decisions that place her at bodily risk. Jax still bears the tatoo Vel gave her on his planet but the meanings of the markings is vague -- although March wishes the tatoo was not there. Old friends are back in this book -- including one that Jax thought was long dead. There is some discussion of the "ancients" and the beginning of space travel and discovery of grimspace. I would love to read more about this, hopefully in Aftermath Aguirre gives us more. There are many hearbreaking scenes in this book, some true losses for the characters.

*****spoiler warning*********

The war has begun and both Jax and March are right in the middle of it. March has become the focus of the war, so Jax loses some of the limelight which she is happy to give up, but her and March must also give up their relationship to focus on the battle. I understood March's decision, but it was frustrating -- and Jax's insecurity as to the why of it was silly, I thought. I missed not having Vel in much of this book, he was around so much in book #3. Is it just me or is Aguirre setting up a love triangle? Anyone else get that from this book? I have to admit that I find that idea somewhat intriguing if I am not misreading it.

I understood what Jax was doing in the end, but I really thought she should have talked about this with March. I was surprised Hit would run off as carelessly as she did with Jax. I think March would have seen it as a good plan but that he would understand that Jax needs him as her pilot to accomplish it. Instead, Jax and March keeping forcing themselves apart to get things done when they should be working together. I also keep wanting to see Jael again, I do not like what happened to him in Doublind and would really like the crew to go rescue him. Anyway, I can't wait until September 2011.........
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on February 2, 2016
Really enjoying this series- wonderfully complex characters and an exciting storyline. War has begun and March and Jax are at the forefront of the fight, working for the Conglomerate to save the universe and all who live in it from the Morgut. Big decisions, lots of emotions and sacrifices. Oh, and a cliffhanger this time, but at least the whole series has already been published, so that's a plus.
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on July 25, 2013
I love this series. Great characters and the story usually goes places everyone else avoids. BUT this one just wasn't satisfying; even more so than the last one. Jax use to be a great character who was blunt in expressing her opinions. Now she is a boring saint who follows orders and thinks she's the One. She use to be surrounded by great characters with quirks. Now every character is perfect and the best at their job and they are all split up now. What hooked me on this series was Jax and March got together at the end of the first book rather than dragging it out forever like most series. Unfortunately the only way the author now seems capable of creating conflict is by contriving a means to break them up in each book. The first person point of view is getting very tedious. I mean seriously there are all these freaking time jumps from a fight then the heroine is out cold in medbay and you get 'weeks later i was able to walk out whole.' Surely there is a better way. Honestly this book felt like filler. All it did was show a bunch of different scenes thrown together showing the fights that escalated the war and then sacrificed a main foe without much focus and no grief?! Plus there is the thing I hate in everyone of these books: a storyteller's job is to tell a story start to finish. Ending on a cliff hanger alienates me. and honestly this cliff hanger doesn't make me want to immediately start the next book. Guess I'll be waiting for the price to drop.
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on April 2, 2015
All the Ann Aguirre books I've read are about the same. I got tired of the heroine protagonist and her constant self-doubt, but I still finished the series because I wanted to see where it went. The ending of the series was only fair, but at least closed the storyline. Kind of like eating a somewhat stale biscuit: filling, but I wish there had been more.
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on April 3, 2011
Originally posted at Wicked Lil Pixie Reviews.

One of the reasons that I prefer Urban Fantasy, and now Science Fiction Romance, series to stand-alone novels is because if they are done correctly, you get to experience and enjoy the growth of the heroine throughout the duration of the novels. The Sirantha Jax series is a spectacular example of this! It has become one of my most favorite series to look forward to.

Killbox is the fourth book in the "Jax" series and boy, did this book deliver. We find our heroine Sirantha "Jax" through with her gig as an ambassador for the Conglomerate Ithiss Torr, and she's ready to get back to her roots: jumping in grimspace and overall kicking ass. But along with her new position of power, March has been made a new commander of the Conglomerate Armada. He and Jax must now recruit pirate ships and whomever else they can get to fight on the side of the Conglomerate against the horrifying flesh-eating Morgut. The war has begun between the two forces, and the Conglomerate are desperately outnumbered.

I have to say that while I love Jax and March together as the heroine/hero, my favorite character in the series is actually a secondary character, Vel. What I found most compelling in the last book, and even more so in Killbox, is the connection that Jax and Vel have. He is so heroic and loyal and noble... he and Jax have such an intense relationship that you wonder if Vel is not giving March a run for his money in the romantic relationship area. What is crazy for my sick little mind to wrap around, and I know I'm not alone in this, is that Vel is a Bug. Yes, he is a Bug who wears a human facade to make others more comfortable. Ms. Aguirre drops several hints that even Jax herself is confused by their deep connection; it is undeniable. This is science fiction romance at its best, people!

In this fourth book we see a much more mature and selfless Jax. The first three books in the series have focused more on her point of vies, but with this book even though it is still from her POV she really gets a good grasp on her place in the future of the Conglomerate. To have started out as such a frustratingly selfish character in the first book, Grimspace, she has become a truly selfless character. She places herself right smack in front of danger to save those she has become loyal to and doesn't ever second guess her actions. As with the previous books, this story is dark. War is going on, and the outlook through the book is grim. I sat on the edge of my seat biting my nails through the entire book, no exaggeration. Death and emotional loss are very real components of this war for the universe.

I will warn readers ahead of time that this book ends in a major cliffhanger. One that will make you crazy. It is no surprise, then, that I am chomping at the bit for fifth installment, Aftermath, not out until September, 2011. A year from now! I'm dying! If you have not started this series, get on it. This series cannot be read out of order, so be sure to start with Grimspace (previously reviewed in September).

Aftermath - 9.2011
Endgame - 9.2012
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on November 9, 2011
I keep reading this author's books because she writes good characters and stories. Its a struggle though, every time she mentions 'galaxies' when she clearly means a star system or a star cluster at most. Its like saying 'continent' when you mean 'city block' or 'beach' when you mean a clump of dirt.

That aside, the books and the story are enjoyable. A few scenes in Killbox annoyed me, as when much has been made of the difficulty of boarding derelict alien ships, then the hero's team just cuts a hole in the hull. I read it and just found myself thinking, 'Really? The expert salvage teams so far never thought to just cut a hole in the side? And the heroes, who rummage about turning various systems on, THEY don't trigger the self-destruct systems that have plagued other teams?'

Just, you know, wow. Or when an enormous ship out of legend is destroyed in orbit and just no follow up ... really? Ancient nearly mythic ship type by an ancient race and ... oh hey, look, let's go take some shore leave! I won't even go into the ease of how its taken out, after building up in the story how invulnerable it is.

Ugh. Really cringe-worthy moments.

But these sorts of things aside, enjoyable reading. At least its not pervasive typos, like we're seeing with some authors.
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When I reach the end of this series, I anticipate a period of mourning coming on. I don’t see how it can be avoided, because I am in deep. These characters have me in their grip. I feel like I know them. I laugh with them. I cry with them. I worry and anguish and exalt in time with their tragedies and triumphs. And then I say very bad words when I am left with their fates hanging in the balance.

This story begins with Jax and her crew headed home from their successful mission at Ithiss-Tor. But the world isn’t quite how she left it. The Morgut are stepping up their attacks and the Conglomerate needs help once again. This time, March is the man of the hour, devising an Armada to defend against them. It will mean more sacrifice, as he and Jax must again put duty ahead of their emotions. Not only that, but Jax puts her health on the line, trying to bend the rules of Grimspace to help the cause.

I know I sound like a broken record on my reviews of these books, but really, Ann Aguirre does such a phenomenal job. Her worldbuilding is amazing. It’s vast and unique, yet easy to fall into. The pacing is fast. There is a ton of action. But most importantly, despite a backdrop of places and events which are utterly foreign, she gives us this cast of characters that can just reach inside you and squeeze.

There were times I felt like this book was dragging my heart over broken glass. Jax has grown so much over the course of the series. Her connections to her makeshift family run so deep. Each has made an indelible mark on her life. And one by one, walls come up between them. I felt like there were so many goodbyes, each one felt like a punch to the gut.

The love between Jax and March just slays me. But honestly, the connection between Jax and Vel affects me just as strongly. Every single step they each must take away from each other leaves me terrified that something will make their separation permanent. Even Dina and Hit, Doc and Rose, blindsided me with the impact of their personal trials. There is so much happening, but it’s never busy background noise. It all matters.

One of the things I love so much about these books is how Aguirre leaves me with so many questions without ever making me feel like she is withholding. It’s not like she is being coy. She is just revealing the story in the way that feels like it’s naturally unfolding. I don’t want to put these books down to the point I sometimes resent real life, like food and sleep for getting in the way of my reading.

These books need to be read in order, so if you are new to the series, start with Grimspace. And have the rest of the series waiting. You won’t want to stop.

Rating: A
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on January 20, 2013
This was another in the series that I started and felt like I wanted to read. I enjoyed most of it but sometimes felt like a romance novel instead of a Science Fiction Space novel. Could of used a little more science and I was hoping for a few better story lines for the end of the series.
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on April 19, 2013
Wow! I love this world. It feels original, yet so similar. I can relate to the strong female lead and what issues she has to go through. Adding in her genetic complications and how she can use that to her advantage is great!
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