Wanderlust: I gobbled it up

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fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsbook review Ann Aguirre 2. Wanderlust 3. DoubleblindWanderlust by Ann Aguirre

So one of the problems I’ve been having recently, when it comes to returning to authors I’ve already read, is book blurbs that fill me with a sense of foreboding. The plots have been sounding so thin (and often matching). Not Wanderlust though. When I read the blurb for Wanderlust, I got excited.

Now that Sirantha Jax has exposed Farwan Corporation for what it really is, she’s kind of suffering a bit of a career dilemma… i.e., she doesn’t really have one. Until the Conglomerate offers her a job as an ambassador to Ithiss-Tor (for those of you who have read the first one, that’s the home of Velith, the seriously awesome bounty-hunter from Grimspace.) The natives aren’t likely to jump at the chance to join the Conglomerate as it is, but Jax is going to have to deal with organized crime, people-eating nasties, and a strange grimspace-related illness before she even gets to Ithiss-Tor. Oh, and let’s not forget that things aren’t exactly going smoothly with her pilot/lover, March.

One of my biggest worries come out of Grimspace was how Ann Aguirre would handle the fall of Farwan. To me it seemed a bit too tidy at the end there, so I was glad to see that the fallout from the whole mess was spreading far and wide…and the cons were proving to outweigh the pros. There were a lot of consequences to Jax’s actions in the last book, and I really like it. I couldn’t be happier with the way Aguirre chose to handle it…it was like she was reading my mind.

There are some really fun, exciting scenes along the way. The encounter with the Morgut is creepy and tense (even though the Morgut remind me of the Magog from Gene Roddenberry’s Andromeda, even more in Wanderlust than they did in Grimspace. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing). I loved the return to Lachion, where we get to see the fallout from the events there in Grimspace. Those, along with the encounter with the Syndicate, make for a fast moving and interesting plot. And the end…oh, the end. That was brilliant. Completely threw me for a loop. I just wasn’t expecting that, and I loved it.

I always enjoyed the characters in the first book, and they’re just as fun in the second one. Velith is probably one of my very favorites, but all of them are likeable (which is impressive when you consider that 98% of them are smart-mouthed headcases with attitude problems). There are two new additions to the crew, both of whom I take to pretty well (and both of whom are smart-mouthed headcases with attitude problems…hmm). And though it’s still not fully connecting for me, the relationship dynamic between March and Jax has taken a big leap forward. The banter between them especially showed a lot of spark and chemistry.

My problems with Wanderlust were pretty minor. I found Jax slightly annoying and whiny, and she had a tendency to repeat her thoughts (which can be a consequence of first person POV anyway). One might say this relates to the illness she’s struggling with, and as she begins to feel better she does kick herself in the ass and goes back to being productive Jax, which makes for some great excitement. I think part of the problem I had with it was that perhaps I was missing something, or had forgotten something, because the illness all came a little out of left field to me. Like maybe it should have been emphasized a little bit more in the beginning. That, I think, kind of ties into my third problem, that sometimes the writing can be a little dry and bland. I don’t always feel that the characters, but Jax especially, react as strongly to what happens as they should.

None of these things were enough to kill my enjoyment that much. I gobbled up Wanderlust in no time flat and would like to have my hands on the next one sometime, oh, yesterday. Possibly the day before. Jax’s adventures are fun, and though normally I’m a patient reader, I can’t wait for the next one. So I’m just gonna be over here working on my time machine and when I figure out how to get far enough into the future to snag the third book (Doubleblind), I’ll let y’all know, okay?


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BETH JOHNSON, one of our guest reviewers, discovered fantasy books at age nine, when a love of horses spurred her to pick up Bruce Coville’s Into the Land of the Unicorns. Beth lives in Sweden with her husband. She writes short stories and has been working on a novel.

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