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GUEST REVIEW: Grimspace by Ann Aguirre

Dear Jane,

Thank you for inviting me to write this review of Ann Aguirre’s Grimspace. After reading your review last month I was eager to read this and even more delighted to win one of the 20 ARCs you gave away. I am happy to report that I enjoyed the book as much as you did.

044101599901mzzzzzzz.jpgAs you know, this book is written in the first person, from heroine Sirantha Jax’s POV. Generally speaking, I prefer a book written from multiple POVs. Maybe it is just what I am used to. But I have to say that this book works very well coming from Jax’s POV. Despite that "limitation" there is a very real sense that all of the characters grow and change as a result of what they go through together. And this ultimately is what makes Grimspace succeed for me. Ms. Aguirre is able to give us a strong sense of the other characters, especially March, even though we are not inside their heads. In your review you pointed out that Jax is not “loveable … [or] particularly honorable.” But, she is honest. During periods of introspection, she analyzes her actions and admits that some of those actions have had negative consequences. Jax grows and learns from her mistakes and eventually she comes to a point where she is able to refer to herself as the "new Jax." She likes herself better, and I as a reader liked her better, too.

As I read this book I was really struck by Ms. Aguirre’s earthy use of language to help us understand Jax’s personality. It is not "nice" language (although it isn’t excessively crude or rude either). The language reinforces the idea that Jax has gone through life with a cocky, devil-may-care attitude, and despite her new-found sense of responsibility, that attitude is still very much a part of who she is. It made her very real to me. There is also some wonderful description that put interesting pictures in my head. Your review referred to the description of grimspace as an "orchid unfurling." My favorite description was this one:

They say you never forget your first glimpse of Gehenna. Over the tall buildings the sky swirls with orange and red, true titian, a feature of the unique atmosphere. Of course that same air would kill human beings; hence they built the entire city inside a dome. Eternal sunset, that’s why the place is so wild. You know the feeling you get just before full dark? Sundown makes you feel like the world burgeons with possibility, and that’s Gehenna for you. (ch. 37)

It really got me wondering what it would be like to see such a sight.

Going in, I was a little worried I’d be able to buy into the romance. While I do enjoy SF/F, I needed the romance angle to work if I was going to be happy with this book. We know right from the start that Jax’s pilot and partner, Kai, died in the crash that is being blamed on Jax. Jax tells us how much she loved Kai. I needed to see Jax grieve for Kai and then set her grief aside believably before she became emotionally attached to March. Fortunately, this part of the book worked very well since it took place over a several month period. Ultimately I found the romance to be very convincing and satisfying. March is a man with unusual psychic abilities. He can read Jax’s thoughts and when they’re together he reacts to most of them with a word or a look. So while we don’t have his POV in the book, we still get a good sense of it through how he reacts to Jax. I really liked how this was done by Ms. Aguirre. Finally, March is not a perfect man. He, too, makes a costly choice. But that saves him from being a stereotypical hero and thus he is a far more interesting character.

I’ve already read the excerpt from Wanderlust (found here) and I’m eagerly awaiting its release in September so I can read more about Jax and March. I see Dina will be back and I hope we see more of Velith (a secondary character who appears late in the book) too. Meanwhile I do recommend this book, especially to those who enjoy adventure and space opera, or to anyone who wants to try something a little different.

Thanks again, Jane!



Phyl won this book as part of our DearAuthor giveaway. We have another giveaway for Sherry Thomas’ book, Private Arrangements. Other reader opinions for Grimspace:

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. Teddypig
    Feb 27, 2008 @ 16:15:47

    OK, absolute will not buy for me.

    Mobipocket ONLY! Format…


  2. Janine
    Feb 27, 2008 @ 16:21:26

    What a well-written review, Phyl! You really made me want to read this book.

  3. Has
    Feb 27, 2008 @ 16:38:53

    I finished it over the weekend and I loved it. I think Ann will be one of the breakout authors this year and I have already recommended Grimspace to my friends and on several message boards. I cant wait for the sequels :)

  4. Keishon
    Feb 27, 2008 @ 17:06:36

    I’m in the middle of reading it, too and am enjoying it immensely.

  5. Wendy
    Feb 27, 2008 @ 17:21:58

    [activating fan-girl powers]

    I loved reading Grimspace! Jax & March are pure awesome and the whole book is fanfastic. I can’t wait for Wanderlust! :)

  6. Kimberly B.
    Feb 27, 2008 @ 17:43:57

    Look at all those reviews! I can’t wait to read it!

  7. Amber Green
    Feb 27, 2008 @ 18:05:13

    Grimspace makes me remember why I used to read SF to the exclusion of all other genres. It’s a book worth reading twice–and not many books are.

  8. Ann Aguirre
    Feb 27, 2008 @ 18:40:38

    Wow, thanks for all kind words. I’m glowing.

    If anyone reading this is on the fence about buying Grimspace — well, Sharon Shinn blurbed it. Sharon Shinn liked this book! She really did. See, Sharon Shinn would never lie, for she is the Chuck Norris of SF&F authors.

    That is all.

  9. (Jān)
    Feb 27, 2008 @ 18:45:41

    I loved this book. It’s what science fiction romance should be.

  10. Keishon
    Feb 27, 2008 @ 19:23:59

    I am even more excited to know that it is a series. I like the no-nonsense way the story takes off – right into the action of it. Love it. I hope to post my review up end of this week.

  11. Phyl
    Feb 27, 2008 @ 20:15:40

    Thank you, Janine. And thanks one more time to Jane and Dear Author for the chance to win and blog about it.

  12. Shiloh Walker
    Feb 27, 2008 @ 22:23:46

    I loved this book. Loved, loved, loved it.

  13. Amylee
    Feb 28, 2008 @ 06:19:16


    You’ve written a very exciting book here. I have bought the book on the day of the release and have enjoyed it thoroughly.

  14. katiebabs
    Feb 28, 2008 @ 07:57:11

    Grimspace makes me want to space travel. A most excellent book and I hope Jax and March become the Eve and Roarke of space jumping :)

  15. Bernita
    Feb 28, 2008 @ 11:52:20

    “I think Ann will be one of the breakout authors this year”
    Has, that would be so nice!

  16. Eirin
    Feb 29, 2008 @ 05:05:00

    I just ordered this. Based on this, and other, reviews, plus the (tasteful and discreet) ads I’ve seen around, in case the author keeps track of what sort of advertisments work ;>

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    […] hope I was able to convince you and if my voice alone doesn't work for you why don't you visit DearAuthor and see where various readers have pretty much said the same thing I am saying to you right now: […]

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    Mar 07, 2008 @ 19:19:29

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