on 1 November 2010
I have been eagerly awaiting for the next installment in the Grimspace series, and it was well worth the wait! The book starts off shortly after the last book, Doubleblind, with Jax resigning her role as ambassador to the Conglomerate after her stint on Ithiss Tor. But this does not mean the end of her troubles - far from it. War is building up in the galaxy with growing attacks by raiders and pirates on border worlds, and far worse, the Morgut who are increasing their attacks. Jax and her crew embark on training an Armada to combat the growing threat - even if they have to recruit raiders/pirates themselves.
Oh wow! I literally inhaled this book and I could not put it down. It really felt like the tension and pace of the series has really stepped up a notch, and it's definitely heading towards a big confrontation. Jax has grown so much - although this was illustrated in the previous two books. Killbox really shows how far she has changed and instead of just reacting and defending herself to those who threaten her, Jax has become more proactive and is on the offense and she does it in style.
In many ways this feels like a transitional book for the next arc of the series, but that is not to say it's a filler, far from it. So many important things happened in Killbox that I feel the need to do a reread because it was so fast paced. While the galaxy is heading towards a major war, Jax has to face her own personal problems. The crew she comes to love as her family are also involved in the Armada, and have to face being separated from each other due to their different responsibilities and duties.
In Killbox you can see how far Jax has come to love and support her friends who have become her family, and there is some wonderful and emotional scenes where they all have to cope with separation, and their fear about the encroaching war with the Morgut. I especially love the scenes Jax shares with Vel, the alien bounty hunter, and Dina, the crew's mechanic that really heightens personal bonds she shares with them, but without crossing into sentimentalism.
However, the real heartache comes with March's self imposed estrangement. And because he took command of training and heading the newly established Armada, he placed their relationship on a hiatus. I really felt Jax's pain because she understood the reasoning due to the military confines of establishing the Armada, but I did feel like smacking him in the head. And Jax did too! Especially after they both went through hell to be together. But there was a scene that really reflects all this, and shows how much Jax loves him and highlights what their relationship is about.
"March acknowledges that with a nod. Mary, how he burns, as if kindled from within by love of me. I remember its loss. I remember how I navigated him on Ithiss-Tor, filtering my essence through the dark spots in his mind, as though he were a series of broken beacons. I did it to repair him, fuse the damaged connections, so he could remember what it was to feel and love. War killed that part of him. I brought it back. In doing so, I left some of myself behind, but I think I also took part of him with me. We are twined together inextricably now, and I wouldn't have it otherwise."
I also liked the new characters that were introduced, such as the scientist, Evelyn Derad, that Jax and her crew rescues from an ex Farwan space station. And there are older faces who reappear. But I really enjoyed Evelyn's introduction, and like Jax, has many similarities as she survives a Morgut attack, and realising she was also used by the Farwan Corporation. She also holds the key in helping Jax cope with the after-affects of Grimspace exposure, as well offering new possibilities to Jax's affinity as a navigator. And in the meanwhile, political intrigue is added with secret communications from a mysterious agent (who I hope to see in latter books), and the leader of the Conglomerate whose messages were placed throughout the book which adds a level of political intrigue along with the action.
Unlike Doubleblind, which was more introspective and calmer in tone, Killbox is an epic Space Opera with lots of space battles and action that does not stop until the last few pages. Killbox also shows how much Jax has adapted and changed, and is also willing to sacrifice herself to those she has promised to protect. There are several twists and surprises in Killbox, but also several story threads in previous books that have been tied up, but also sets up bigger ones that will certainly play out in the next two books. Killbox also ends on a humdinger of a cliffhanger, and I SO want the next book. Like. right.now!
Killbox is a great installment in the Grimspace series. It's fast paced with lots of action that really illustrates how the endgame is coming to a head. But this is a book that shows how far Jax has grown from the brash, selfish navigator in the first book, to the brash and selfless navigator that she is now. And Jax's scenes of shared poignancy and affinity with her friends, and lover, March, adds a multilayer of emotional intensity towards the characters.. If you have not picked up the series yet, I highly, highly recommend the series as it's one of the best, if not, thee Best Sci-Fi romantic series that combines action and plot. I cannot wait for the 5th book of the series!
I give Killbox 5 out of 5 stars!