Book Review: “Killbox” by Ann Aguirre

Warning: If you have not read “Killbox” by Ann Aguirre, don’t read this review unless you don’t mind spoilers!

I’m back with another book review, and this time it’s “Killbox” by Ann Aguirre! Here’s a summary so we know what it’s about:

“Sirantha Jax is a “Jumper,” a woman who possesses the unique genetic makeup needed to navigate faster than light ships through grimspace. With no tolerance for political diplomacy, she quits her ambassador post so she can get back to saving the universe the way she does best—by mouthing off and kicking butt.

And her tactics are needed more than ever. Flesh-eating aliens are attacking stations on the outskirts of space, and for many people, the Conglomerate’s forces are arriving too late to serve and protect them.

Now, Jax must take matters into her own hands by recruiting a militia to defend the frontiers—out of the worst criminals, mercenaries, and raiders that ever traveled through grimspace…”

Before I dive into the review fully, I’m aware that I basically started reading this series in the MIDDLE of the series. “Killbox” is not the first book in the Sirantha Jax series. In fact, it’s the fourth book, and I didn’t realize this until after reading the first few chapters as well as checking the chronology of the series online. However, I was so fully immersed in reading it that I just couldn’t put it down, and now I have this book to review! Given how this is not the first book in the series that I’m starting with, I will be rating this a bit more lightly when taking it into account, especially in terms of discussing plotlines and character development.

The worldbuilding in itself is actually quite understandable overall. I had to read carefully and I got the gist of various concepts and creatures brought up in the book overall, though I think I would’ve had better understanding by reading the first three books first.

I also understood the main plotline, as well as the strong romance plotline within March and Jax. As far as I understand with the romance, March and Jax are in an established relationship at this point in the series (and may or may not have been in prior books, I don’t know for sure because I haven’t read the first three books). The chemistry between them is so good, and quite believable. They have their conflicts, such as March trying to keep more distance between him and Jax because of their positions in the group, but they try to work it out. They also have quite the conflict over Jax being in all this danger and nearly dying at least twice in the book from all the combat, but it’s still well-written and the chemistry conveyed between them feels genuine and sweet. They’re separated from each other for plot reasons I won’t spoil at the end of the book, and I honestly felt bad for the both of them and I hope they get back together in the next book.

Speaking of combat, the combat scenes were quite well-written and easy to visualize overall. I do also think the one or two more-explicit sex scenes that were in the book were tastefully written, with most of the otherwise being implied and/or referenced.

I think the weakness of the book lay in the smaller subplots, such as Doc and Rose’s kind-of-unrequited romance (with Rose dying later and Doc admitting that he should’ve confessed his feelings to her in time). I don’t know if this was a subplot going on for just this book, or had been going on for longer than this book, so I can’t say much about this. From what I did read, however, they felt a bit flat as a couple overall. Other plotlines included mainly a bunch of continuity nods, and though I hadn’t read earlier books in this series, I think the book did a good job of discussing the gist of the situations overall and showed how they affected the characters.

Overall, I’m rating this book 4 out of 5 stars!

I will definitely go back and read the first three books in this series. I might even re-review this book in the future, if needed.

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