Aftermath - Ann Aguirre Originally posted at WickedLilPixie Reviews
This is a spoiler-free review.

I have had to allow myself 24 hours to digest Aftermath, the stunning fifth book in Ann Aguirre’s Sirantha Jax series, before writing up my review. I will give my usual disclaimer I provide in my reviews of Jax books: I am not a huge Science Fiction fan nor am I an expert of the genre. I picked this series up at the strong recommendation of Mandi from Smexybooks, and could kiss her for it. What I think makes the series so incredibly appealing is the powerful character development that spans many genres, so please do not let its Sci-Fi label deter you from giving it a try. This latest Sirantha Jax installment made me feel deeply, made me hold my breathe, left me speechless. It grabbed my chest, closed around my lungs and heart and didn’t let go.

Vel fans (claws up!) will be very pleased as we get much more of him than we did in Killbox (bk 4). Previously, my favorite up to this point had been Double Blind (book 3) mostly in part to getting so much time with Vel and learning so much more about him. Vel is one of those characters that you will slowly grow to cherish and adore. Ms. Aguirre has built him subtly yet significantly over the last four books, and it is his time to shine. As a friend. As a partner. As a being of complete worth. What might be surprising to find out if you have not read the series is he is Ithtorian, making him similar in appearance to a tall walking bug, he has a carapace and side-set eyes and claws. The beauty in Ms. Aguirre’s writing is that Jax, and you as the reader, never forget what he looks like… but you find you just don’t care what he looks like. The developments that are made in Jax and Vel’s relationship are resonant.

The Sirantha Jax of now is most definitely not the Jax we met in the first book, Grimspace. She has suffered tremendous loss, endured significant physical and emotional pain. She has found herself in even more trouble by doing her classic authority defying, a fly by the seat of her pants stunt, and it has landed her in some seriously damaging trouble. She also sets out to keep two promises she has made, and cannot allow herself the freedom to live a life as a jumper she so craves until she sees her seemingly-daunting promises followed through to completion. In Aftermath, Jax is hell bound and determined to protect those whom she loves at all costs, and to pay back her debts any way she can. Ms. Aguirre does a superb job with keeping Jax completely true to her character, no matter how we wish some things might be different.

And then we have March. :deep sigh:. March. The deadly cold soldier, who cannot and will not turn his back on his great love, Sirantha Jax. But as we learn through Aftermath, no matter how deeply their love runs, their ways of life at this point are not guaranteed to be compatible. You’ll just have to wait and see on that one, but I will say this: What Ms. Aguirre pulls off is sheer genius and it works in every way. I can think of a million ways this book could have fallen flat, or dived off a horribly executed character cliff. It never did. Not one false line. I was left sitting here with so many parts highlighted throughout the book that deeply shook me up. As a woman, as an emotional creature, and as a socially aware being.

I promise you the Sirantha Jax series will appeal to lovers of all genres. The lavish world building and profound relationship development between all the characters continue to be top-notch. Aftermath is about wandering the road less traveled; doing things to help others outside of yourself; and most importantly… embracing the many shapes love can be given and accepted in. I look forward to everyone reading this and experiencing the supreme storytelling this book provides. In short: Aftermath is a masterpiece and is one of my favorite books of 2011.

This has been a summer of 5 star books but I beg of you, try the Sirantha Jax series if you try nothing else. Don’t let it get lost in your To-Be-Read pile, or at the very least, move the first book Grimspace up higher in the pile. You are really missing out on something so unique and special, and I would love for you to have this adventure. If you are already a Jax fan, then I know you’ll be reading this one on release day and cannot wait to discuss it with you! There is only one Jax book left, Endgame, out next year. I am so very eager to see where Ms. Aguirre takes us with it and how she brings this beautiful series to a bittersweet close. Here is the full Sirantha Jax series reading order:

Double Blind
Aftermath - 8/30/2011, Tuesday!
Endgame - 9/2012