Dillydally's Reviews > Killbox

Killbox by Ann Aguirre
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's review
Aug 04, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: scifi

Okay, this fourth entry in the Sirantha Jax series (of six) was a difficult one for me to rate. In some respects it only deserves three stars (or less), and in others, it's a five. I had to come down in the middle as a cmpromise, or I'd be here for days making lists of pros and cons to figure out what the rating should really be.

On the cons side, several things are over the top. The thing that loomed largest of these for me was the purported brilliance of several of the supporting characters. While there was some of this in the previous books, it really took the lead in this one, and I feel the book suffered greatly as a result. Nobody but Dina can do the job in galaxies, nobody is as great a scientist as Saul (except for the newcomer--who is equally brilliant), and so on. That is a lazy way of doing things to my way of thinking, and it means instant solutions to all problems with a snap of the fingers. Kind of like the CSI (TV series) instant solutions, whereas in real life, it takes years and sometimes decades to do it. It's just too convenient, and I found myself rolling my eyes quite a few times over it.

The second con for me, is the contrived parting of the lead couple--yet again. I really wish the author hadn't done it this way, because having established the romantic pairing in the very first book, the series wasn't going to collapse with the couple being together as it does when the series is built on the romantic tension of 'the chase'. I felt that there were plenty of other things which could have been used instead to keep the interest alive, as there is in any relationship.

The third annoyance was the utter perfection of the leading couple. Jax has become downright saintly--boringly so, and I found myself wishing more than once that she would have a fit of the tantrums instead of being so nauseatingly understanding, self-effacing, and dutiful. March practised self-abnegation to the point where I wanted to bitch-slap him (along with Jax), and the tortured hero aspect was milked for all it was worth. I have the fervent hope that both Jax and March will grow some warts in the next two books, thereby rendering themselves infinitely more attractive to me.

Pros. There was a lot of emotional depth in this book (other than the angst between Jax and March), the very best of which was the relationship between Vel and Jax. I'm not too clear on where this relationship is going, but it was poignant and beautiful. Aguirre handled that one with a deft touch. Also of interest was Saul's relationship with Rose. It's difficult to talk about this without giving away spoilers, so I will just say it provided some much needed contrast in certain areas.

Plenty of action. The engagements with the enemy were well done, I felt, and I particularly enjoyed the "contact" slight though it was. I hope Aguirre takes it further in the two remaining books, because it adds to the reading experience when the enemy has more than one dimension.

Despite the contrivances and other annoyances mentioned above, this book still managed to keep me invested and turning the pages. I still *enjoyed* it, which speaks volumes to me about the skill of the writer, even if I didn't agree with some of her mechanisms. I finished Killbox eager to read the next book and discover what happens at the end of the series--so much so, that I immediately checked on the release dates.

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Dillydally Favourite quote so far:

"Men always want to be remembered whereas women realize that requires being dead.

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