Friday, September 14, 2012

Endgame by Ann Aguirre - review

Ann Aguirre
Jax #6 {final}

Cover - just like the covers of the other novels, this one looks gritty and totally appropriate for the novel.  Except that Jax's scars kind of look like artwork curlicues. 

ahhhh - sigh.  The very last novel of a series.  Always a bittersweet read, especially when the author has kept the series interesting and decides to end it while people are still enjoying...

There's no doubt that Ann Aguirre has put Sirantha Jax through the wringer in the series.  Starting with Jax being held in a hospital and being "treated" for post traumatic stress - but really being brainwashed and used as a patsy, going through a war, being an ambassador and having to help create an entire fleet to fight those pesky yet extremely dangerous Morgut - Jax has had to fight for every bit of happiness that she experiences.  Aguirre does not write Happy Ever After Endings for her characters - but she writes the possibility of a future for her characters.

In Endgame, Jax finally gets to try to fullfill a promise she made to Lorass long ago - to help free his people from being helplessly compliant slaves to their protector/oppressors.  If you've read the previous novels, then you know the history of the L'Heng planet and people.  Artificially made into compliant people, they've had their most basic rights stripped away and are at the mercy of others.  Sirantha has promised to come up with a cure, and at the end of book #5 a cure had been obtained.  It wasn't perfect, but it was the best available.  Only the keepers of the L'Heng won't let Sirantha and her allies even approach the people within legal channels to offer the cure.

But while she's been keeping busy with filing appeals and requests and more appeals, Lorass - who has taken the cure - has been busy gathering a core resistance group, starting the beginnings of a revolution.

Endgame is the story of the revolution of the L'Heng and the story of Jax and March's struggles to come to terms with their relationships, their hurts, their angers and jealousies.  Vel and Jax also have their own relationship to acknowledge; Jax has been treated for her J-gene side affects with nanobots that keep her healthy and as a result has changed her lifespan more in tune with the extremely long lifespan of Vel's people.  If you haven't read any of these novels, you're not going to know what I'm talking about.  I strongly recommend this series to anyone who enjoys SciFi with strong female characters who are a little flawed and yet keep ticking out of sheer tenacity.

Endgame seems to have an oddly fun mixture of angst, relationship issues, science, war and effects that I enjoy from Aguirre.  There are references to previous events from previous novels that I didn't quite remember, so I might eventually re-read the whole series just for fun.  Happily, there aren't long drawn out references to the past - just short quickies.  And as with the previous novels, the tone is a touch dark with threads of hopefulness weaved in.  The inner narration is pure Jax - enjoyable for me to read.  The dialogue between characters remains just as readable as ever; her characters SOUND like they should.  Vel is a bit formal, Sasha is a teen complete with perverse and changeable moods; March is jealous and martyrlike (his personality) and there's the ribbing from the soldiers Jax is fighting with that shows venting and acceptance of each other as well as anger from newly freed populace.

The novel covers a span of a few years - they're fighting a revolution after all.  And not all actions by the revolutionary freedom fighters are palatable, but as in any war the wrong people get hurt in the name of progress and change.  All in all, Endgame was a good ending, a natural ending to an interesting series with some unforgettable characters.

While I'm a little sad to see a series I love to read end, I'm happy to find out that there will be more novels in the same universe.  The Dread Queen series starts out on a prison in the universe of Jax and I'm looking forward to finding out who the main character is, and reading about new adventures.  It's bound to be interesting.

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