Harold Ogle's Reviews > Grimspace

Grimspace by Ann Aguirre
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Jul 23, 12

bookshelves: mercenaries, science-fantasy
Read from June 28 to July 06, 2012

This book was more of a departure for me than I expected when I selected it from the library. In many respects, it reminds me of Dead Witch Walking, which many of my friends really enjoyed but which I found curiously difficult to enjoy. Like that book, Grimspace has a LOT of plot, but that plot seems rushed and inconsequential at the same time. It feels like each scene/sequence is there just as a backdrop for Jax's budding romance with the brooding March. From the beginning, when Jax is on death row for a crime she didn't commit and March appears, she has a knee-jerk negative reaction to him as cold and ruthless, but simultaneously admires his handsome face and lean, muscular body (I don't think she checks out his ass until they escape the station, but I could be wrong). Most of the rest of the book continues this schizoid dichotomy: they keep saying "no," but their eyes (and everything else) keep saying "Yes... Yes! YES!" It quickly reaches the point of nonsense; they're both very clearly attracted to each other, they're obviously in a situation of great, knee-shaking intimacy (he acts as her pilot during hyperspace jumps, during which their minds merge as one), and they both perform acts of kindness, selflessness and tenderness toward one another. But at the same time, their words are cruel, spiteful and judgmental, talking about how annoying the other is and how they can't stand each other. It's like the dialogue and the plot are taken from different books, or at least alternative reality versions of themselves: in one universe, they're fabulous to each other (the sex is apparently good, too), and in the other universe, they rail at each other like opposing protesters at a political rally.

The plot ostensibly revolves around Jax trying to find out what happened on the ship she was supposed to have sabotaged (why she was on death row), and why. Lots of characters are introduced and then killed, and the locations change (through interplanetary travel) faster than on a weekly SF TV show. There are betrayals, narrow escapes, foul-mouthed lesbian bull dykes with hearts of gold, flesh-eating dinosaurs, wild west gunslingers in space....it's all here, but to little point. The story really had no tension for me.
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