Release Date: Out now
Sirantha Jax has the J-gene, which permits her to “jump” faster-than-light ships through grimspace. She loves nothing more than that rush, but the star roads have to wait…
Her final mission takes her to La’heng, a planet subjugated during first contact. Since then, the La’hengrin homeworld has been occupied by foreign conquerors.
All that’s about to change.
Now, as part of a grassroots resistance, Jax means to liberate the La’hengrin. But political intrigue and guerrilla warfare are new to her, and this will be the most dangerous game she’s ever played—spies and conspiracies, a war of weapons and hearts, and not everyone is guaranteed to make it out alive…
*Blurb taken from Goodreads*
This review was hard to write. This series has been a journey for me to read. And now it’s coming to it’s conclusion with ENDGAME, the final book in this much loved sci-fi romance series. This is bittersweet for me because there won’t be anymore adventures of Jax and co (although they will live on in my imagination). In a previous book, Jax made a promise to Loras to help free his people from the imperial oppression of the Nicuans on his planet of La’hang. This is the main focus of ENDGAME. And like the previous books, war and its aftermath is the main theme, although the action is much more concentrated on a guerrilla insurgent war. It was interesting to see Jax, who is already battle-weary and dealing with the consequences of the Morgut war, dealing with a much more messy war and facing difficult moral choices.
The first paragraph really sums up the book and series for me because as Jax states:
“This is not a love story. It is my life, and as such, there is love, loss, war, death and sacrifice. It’s about things that needed to be done and choices made. I regret nothing.”
And I totally agree with Jax’s sentiments because this is a series that is much more than a sci-fi adventure romance as it concentrates on wider issues such as war and its aftermath, colonization, exploration and the hard choices people make that has real repercussions. I loved that throughout Jax’s journey there was growth and development and I hardly recognise the character who we first meet in a cell from the first book but yet still retains her inner core of not playing by the rules and pissing people off.
However, Jax has learned from her mistakes and choices, and she comes across much more mature and much wiser from her personal and complicated relationships with Vel and March, to being practical and working as part of a team with the insurgents which is led by Loras. He has also changed due to the treatment which Jax has helped to find as part of her promise to help Loras that allows all La’hangrins to break free from their enslavement which is linked to their genetics.
The story really focuses on the nitty gritty of setting up and establishing the insurgent forces which swept me into the story and it was a different change of pace of the epic space battles and political wranglings of different factions from the previous books. I really liked there was some spying with Jax undergoing physical changes to go undercover along with Vel, which gives her a real insight into what he experiences when he dons a human skin in disguise. But her changes also symbolises the inner changes she’s undergone, such as the nanites to help her heal from the damage that Grimspace has wrought onto her as well as the development she has undergone due to all the many roles, such as an ambassador to rebel leader she has donned along the way. It was kind of fitting as well as it helped her gain a fresh start to forge her own path, rather than be dictated by fate and circumstances and identity for the future.
I also loved some familiar faces appeared in the book, such as Tam and Levitar who helped Jax and the team with political intrigue and undermining the imperial forces. It really helped to add an Machiavellian tone, and I loved there was a secondary romance between the two which was subtly hinted in the last book. I was so glad it was confirmed, and it was fun seeing Jax interacting with them.
The intricate and complicated relationship with Vel and March is also explored much more fully. Now I am not a huge fan of a long, wangsty love triangle but OH MY GOD – Ann Aguirre succeeded in creating an elaborate and multi-layered love triangle with three people because it goes beyond the physical. I loved the contrast of March’s telepathy and Grimspace bonding which has created an even more intimate relationship with Jax, while her friendship with Vel, who has been such a stalwart and indomitable friend, has evolved into something that is emotionally and psychologically more. But despite the fact that March and Jax had their issues throughout the book as well as throughout the series, with fate sticking obstacles between them along with doubts, emotional baggage and long separations. I was so glad that they finally made a fresh start and actually worked through their problems and it was so fulfilling to see them working things out and reaching their HEA.
There is also a promise of something more with Vel in the future, especially as Jax’s nanites will extend her lifespan beyond a human. And I never thought I would love an alien as much as I do love him! But readers will be very satisfied on how these relationships are developed and how the book ends, which makes me sad because I still wanted to continue to read about them. I loved how these relationships emerged to have so many facets and it really added a nuance depth to the romance and relationships within the series
The only aspects I had some niggles with is that I felt the ending felt rushed with the lead up to the climax of the final battle scenes. Although I understand at this point of the book, Jax and her friends were exhausted and battle weary with the long years of fighting, but I wished there was more time spent on expanding the ending. I also missed the presence of some of the supporting characters such as Dina and Hit who didn’t appear in the book. And I loved the last scene at the end which was beyond perfect. But overall, this was a fantastic end to a wonderful series, and I was truly sad to click on the last page in my ereader.
Six years ago I fell in love with this series right from the first book. I did not expect to experience such an epic journey which really made me go through the wringer, but I’d like to salute Ann Aguirre in creating such an incredible, vivid and vibrant universe.
For me this is one of the best SF series I’ve read and I can’t freaking wait for the spin-off series!
I give ENDGAME an A!