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Review: Endgame by Ann Aguirre

Endgame (Sirantha Jax, #6)Endgame by Ann Aguir­re
My rat­ing: 5 of 5 stars

Endgame is the final book in the Sir­an­tha Jax series, accord­ing to Aguir­re, and it def­i­nite­ly shows. Every­thing gets wrapped up very sat­is­fac­to­ri­ly. Noth­ing new is intro­duced. Jax’s rela­tion­ships with March and Vel are both expand­ed in a delight­ful man­ner, and I love the way that works out. She also gets to devel­op a not-quite-moth­er­ly rela­tion­ship with Sasha, March’s adopt­ed son.

The entire vol­ume takes place on Laheng, home of the Lahen­grin. We’ve only met the race through Loras so far in the series, but their sto­ry is touch­ing. This is Loras’ sto­ry as much as any­thing, the sto­ry of the fight to free the Lahen­grin from the Nicuans and from the need to be owned (or “pro­tect­ed” as it is called). The action is bru­tal — Aguir­re doesn’t hide the real­i­ties of war. She doesn’t dwell on it in an obscene man­ner, though, so the book is read­able.

Read­ing the end­ing of a won­der­ful series is also bit­ter­sweet, but at least Aguir­re has stat­ed that she’ll revis­it this uni­verse.

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Review: Aftermath by Ann Aguirre

Aftermath (Sirantha Jax, #5)After­math by Ann Aguir­re
My rat­ing: 4 of 5 stars

Leave it to Aguir­re to take her hero­ine in a direc­tion that is appar­ent­ly piss­ing off at least half of her read­ers (those who expect­ed romance). Sir­an­tha Jax is in fine form in After­math, stay­ing strong and true to her­self through an all-new set of tri­als (lit­er­al­ly) and trou­bles. Loy­al Velith stays by her side through­out, con­tin­u­ing to depict a friend­ship that goes beyond mere romance.

I don’t nor­mal­ly mine books for quotes as I read them, but two bits stuck with me from this book. Mus­ing, Jax thinks, “… the world moves on, even when you don’t want it to, even when change feels like the end of every­thing. It nev­er stops. That’s harsh and mag­i­cal and some­what com­fort­ing because noth­ing is immutable, how­ev­er much we want it to be. Moments can­not be caught like fos­sils in amber, ever-per­fect, ever-beau­ti­ful. They go dark and raw, full of shad­ows, leav­ing you with the mem­o­ries. And the world moves on.”

Lat­er, Velith says, “The heart is not a glass of water, but more like an end­less­ly pump­ing spring.”

There is so much wis­dom about love and rela­tion­ships in those words that I will remem­ber this book far longer than the plot details will nec­es­sar­i­ly stay with me. 

The plot is, of course, as can always be expect­ed of Aguir­re, good. It hangs togeth­er well. There was a lit­tle drag this time, but not much. I am eager­ly await­ing the release of Endgame lat­er this mon­th, and will be pur­chas­ing it as soon as it’s released.

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Review: Killbox by Ann Aguirre

Killbox (Sirantha Jax, #4)Kill­box by Ann Aguir­re
My rat­ing: 5 of 5 stars

Kill­box won’t make any sense with­out read­ing the pre­vi­ous three books, and I hon­est­ly feel that I should have gone back and re-read them before start­ing it. I was impa­tient for more fresh Aguir­re after fin­ish­ing Shady Lady, though, and Kill­box is what I had on the Nook.

I real­ly love Sir­an­tha Jax’s strength and com­plex­i­ty. She has grown and changed a great deal over the four books of the series, and reflects on the changes in her­self dur­ing this book. Her rela­tion­ship with March has deep­ened, as well. The depic­tion of a mature rela­tion­ship being test­ed, rather than one that is fresh and new, is a nice switch from most of the books I’ve read recent­ly.

The friend­ship between Velith and Jax is also a trea­sure. It is rare to see a pure friend­ship between a male and a female in fic­tion, with­out any sex­u­al ten­sion enter­ing the pic­ture. We’re remind­ed that while he is an alien, Velith has had a human lover in the past, so it isn’t as if that is impos­si­ble between the two — it just doesn’t occur.

The book isn’t sole­ly about rela­tion­ships, of course — I just appre­ci­ate how well Aguir­re depicts rela­tion­ships in and around the excel­lent plot. That’s the part that you need back­ground to under­stand.

The Morgut keep com­ing, a big­ger threat than ever: they’re col­o­niz­ing instead of raid­ing. Jax secured a treaty with the Ithiss-Tor (Velith’s peo­ple), but there’s no help from them com­ing yet. Humanity’s sur­vival is on the line. Aguir­re depicts bat­tle believ­ably, giv­ing a sense of the hor­ror with­out dwelling too much on gore. 

Lovers are torn apart, estab­lished char­ac­ters die, new ones come on stage. It’s impos­si­ble to know at any given moment whether any­one, includ­ing Jax, will sur­vive from scene to scene. That cer­tain­ly kept me read­ing, and I think it will engage you, as well.

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Review: Blood Oath by Christopher Farnsworth

Blood Oath Blood Oath by Christo­pher Farnsworth

My rat­ing: 4 of 5 stars
Blood Oath is an inter­est­ing and fair­ly refresh­ing vari­a­tion on the vam­pire riff. Most of the cur­rent tales give us a suave, sexy preda­tor who mes­mer­izes his or her prey, leav­ing humans pin­ing for their pres­ence. They might even fall in love with a human. Nathaniel Cade, how­ev­er, refers to humans as food, say­ing, “Would you have sex with a cow?” That makes much more sense to me. It’s a good thing he isn’t inter­est­ed, either, as the typ­i­cal reac­tion peo­ple have to encoun­ter­ing him is utter pan­ic, often involv­ing the loss of blad­der con­trol. Read more

Review: The Atrocity Archives by Charles Stross

The Atrocity Archives The Atrocity Archives by Charles Stross

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
I don't give many 5-star ratings, but The Atrocity Archives deserves one. You may need to read it with a web browser open to look up references using Wikipedia or Google, but if you enjoy Torchwood, Men in Black, or Snow Crash, I think you'll enjoy this one.

The volume actually includes the novel and a novella, The Concrete Jungle. Both are good reading, and I recommend giving yourself time to enjoy the foreword and afterword, as well.

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R.I.P. Arthur C. Clarke

We lost anoth­er great writer and thinker today. CNN seems to be updat­ing their sto­ry on his death by the min­ute. There’s no con­tro­ver­sy, but from the first ver­sion or two you’d think the only thing the man had ever done of note was co-write the screen­play for 2001: A Space Odyssey.

I know that he came up with more than just the idea of com­mu­ni­ca­tions satel­lites, but at this very moment I can’t remem­ber his oth­er non-fic­tion con­tri­bu­tions to the world. I’m sad, but 90 years is a good, long run.

Never, Never on a Sunday

Nope, not Sun­day. Most­ly. Well, may­be some­times. Damned ear­worm!

I was try­ing to be Very, Very good today as I wrapped up my assign­ments for the semes­ter. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, I got com­plete­ly dis­tract­ed by the fact that I hadn’t done a bloody thing with Pagan Par­ents since adopt­ing the site. I got it work­ing at a min­i­mal lev­el, so it should be easy to add con­tent now. 

Hint Hint: Con­tent! I need con­tent! Col­lab­o­ra­tors! Seri­ous­ly, if you have opin­ions about par­ent­ing as a pagan, or you know of resources that I should link to, please let me know. If you know some­body who might want to write an arti­cle or blog with us there, have him or her con­tact me.
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