Monday, September 10, 2012
Endgame by Ann Aguirre
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Well the series definitely didn't go where I expected it to. For a while there it seemed like it was going the route of Jax always being the center of interstellar politics and it got to the point where it was a little much for one woman to play such a prominent role in such huge sweeping stories. It made sense to try to bring the scale of the story back down a tiny bit and focus more on the characters that we care about, while still having an important mission for them to focus on. Using the commitment Jax felt to Loras to help free his people from the slavery they were under from the chemical warfare that they had undergone was a smart storyline. It brought the series full circle in some ways, because the story with Loras went back to Jax and March's relationship with him in the first book and throughout the series. There are a lot of fans who don't like it, but I thought it was a smart choice.
There was an awful lot of military action in this book though, for a romantic sci-fi series. I'm more of a sci-fi than romance reader, but military sci-fi is not my thing and it did get to be a bit much. I did like how realistic it was. I liked the timing, she didn't try to rush things and act like rebellion and war were something that could happen quickly or without great pain and sacrifice. She also managed to show how time passed effectively without being boring. And it showed the toll that time and stress placed on Loras as a leader, on Jax having to be a soldier again and being grounded, on March trying to raise his nephew and being grounded as well, and on Jax and Vel, and of course on Jax and March. It was good storytelling. But... it just wasn't always exactly my favorite kind of storytelling. Just a matter of taste.
As for the romance aspect, I always complain about books and series that feature relationships that happen too quickly and unrealistically, sudden-love syndrome. Usually followed by ridiculous obstacles to keep the couple apart. So this series did have tons to the second, the obstacles were many and insanely frustrating. But in the end there were two well developed loving relationships that got explored because of it. I'm a huge fan of Jax and Vel, their love is so deep and real, it's been a real pleasure to watch it develop. As for Jax and March, suddenly-in-love didn't necessarily mean working thing out for these two pig-headed, determined people. Which is mostly interesting. Sometimes they were just childish and annoying, but generally it was good that they both had things that they needed to work out and that it wasn't easy, it was a real adult relationship and that's more interesting to me than an everything is easy fantasy. Jax standing up for herself, insisting that it wasn't selfish to put herself and her needs first, or that if it was selfish that was still the right thing to do, that was good reading. This notion that love has to be about sacrifice is kind of bizarre, I enjoyed the idea that maybe love is stronger when it's equal and balanced instead. And if that means walking away, then sometimes that's what you have to do.
There were some weird things in the book too. I really didn't get the stuff about her face change. That whole section seemed out of place and it just seemed like such a bizarre thing to do for one short mission. Yeah, she gets to go be anonymous now, but is that such a big deal? March's face is known. And Tarn and Leviter being there is just odd. Tarn was the most powerful guy in the entire galaxy wasn't he? What the heck is he doing there? It's never really explained.
Overall I thought it was a very good story. It showcased how much Jax has grown and matured, which seems to be the overall goal of the series. It also showcased the special relationships that the fans have come to cherish. It was a fitting end to the story.
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