SON OF A BITCH.
I just wrote a really long, really involved, and if I might add, really good review of this book and I clicked save and GOODREADS DELETED IT. I wish I could say I was persevering enough to write a new one but I'm tired and cranky and I don't have it in me to write a review like that again for this book. So I'll give you the crap version.
Sirantha Jax is a jumper in a world where subspace is called grimspace, and only people with a special gene can access it. Long distance space travel relies on jumpers, who often burn out as a result. But Jax is still going. Just before the events of the novel, tragic stuff happened to her that is making her question her place in the universe. She's rescued from certain persecution by a rag-tag band of heroes and joins their crew, where she is finally allowed to rest, heal, and find out who she is and what she really wants from life. Also, there's a romance.
Grimspace is an obvious first novel. There are some significant pacing issues, and Aguirre lets Jax's narrative voice get out of control sometimes (i.e. she becomes overly familiar with new people too quickly, referring to another character's behavior using the world 'always,' even though she's known them for like five seconds). And while the romance aspect was nice, especially since it's rare to see an actual sci-fi book told from a female perspective, it didn't quite work. Aguirre relied too much on romance tropes that were just out of place in a sci-fi novel (and this was meant to be a sci-fi novel, not a romance novel). The resolution was also a little too tidy.
But. I really enjoyed it anyway.
Jax and her crewmates are great characters, and from the way she treats them, it's obvious Aguirre has a good understanding of character arcs. Jax and March (the love interest) in particular have some nice moments (and not necessarily together). This was a good set-up for the rest of the series, which I will be picking up soon.
My first review was so much better.