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.