SBD: Thank You, Mrs. M., and Doubleblind

So, I read two books this weekend, and I’ll share my impressions for SBD:

Doubleblind by Ann Aguirre

It’s not easy to tread lightly wearing steel-toed boots.

Sirantha Jax isn’t known for diplomatic finesse. As a “Jumper” who navigates ships through grimspace, she’s used to kicking ass first and taking names later—much later. Not exactly the obvious choice to sell the Conglomerate to the Ithtorians, a people whose opinions of humans are as hard as their exoskeletons.

And Ithiss-Tor council meetings aren’t the only place where Ambassador Jax needs to maneuver carefully. Her lover, March, is frozen in permanent “kill” mode, and his hair-trigger threatens to sabotage the talks—not to mention their relationship.

But Jax won’t give up on the man or the mission. With the Outskirts beleaguered by raiders, pirates, and the flesh-eating Morgut, an
alliance with Ithiss-Tor may be humanity’s only hope. Which has Jax wondering why a notorious troublemaker like her was given the job…

The Sirantha Jax series is a scifi fantasy series published by Ace, the most recent release is the third of the series so far.  I’m feeling rather ambivalent about the series, have from the start, and have a hard time figuring out just why.  I love Ms. Aguirre’s writing; her Corine Solomon series is an autobuy for me now after only one book.  But I’m just not warming to Sirantha Jax.  My notes in LibraryThing for the second book of the series (Wanderlust) read, This series works much better for me as straight SFF; it works least when the narrative is focused on the relationship between Jax and March, which I just don’t buy.

I could say the same thing about this third book.  The world building is complex and layered.  The conflict is believable on the large and small scale.  I love that all of the inhabitants on this universe are NOT humanoid.  I just don’t care about Sirantha Jax, which is problematic since she’s the narrator.  When she stuck to the politcal things, to observations about what was going on in the negotiations, I was fine.  But I just didn’t care about her relationship with March.  It’s a trainwreck waiting to happen.  She walked away once, so I don’t believe her as she vows not to walk away again.  More than that, I thought the way she handled homicidal March was TSTL, and wouldn’t have mourned if he’d killed her when he had the chance. 

Much more interesting to me was the political maneuvering and the entire construct of the Ithiss-Tor world and culture.  Vel, a secondary character whose importance to the series seem to grow with each book, was in the spotlight, and I found him *much* more intriguing than March.  The sidetrack in the end to rescue March? Eh.

B- from me.

Thank You, Mrs. M. by Kate Rothwell

“You want honesty. An hour’s worth a day of normal speech, nothing prepared is necessary. Yeah, okay. But I’m pretty certain I’m not supposed to talk normally. No fucking way, because every other fucking word is fuck… I’ll tone it down for you, okay? I assume you’re an old lady with some style. For you, I can stop.”

I just wanted that effing college education and you said you’d pay for it…along with just about everything else. The cost—my effing life’s story jabbered into a digital recorder just for you. How screwed is that? The thing is, I wasn’t the only one telling a story. You tried to hide from me. Too bad I’m smart, Mrs. Moneybags, and I got you figured. But know what? I can keep your secrets. You and me—we made it work.

Note: A reverse take on the classic story Daddy Long Legs by Jean Webster.

Okay, just to be compliant with the new FTC rule (which I guess applies to me?), I won a free copy of this ebook in a contest at Kate Rothwell’s blog.  And some M&M’s.  I’ll share my opinion of the book, but not the M&M’s ’cause I’m selfish when it comes to chocolate.  Especially since according to Jonathan Ross, the Achocolypse is upon us.

I’ve never read the story Daddy Long Legs, so I had no idea what to expect from this book.  Which was fine, because I selected it at random from the PDFs that Kate sent me.

TYMM is a year in the life of Ben, a slightly older student who is raising his sister and brother.  He’s very rough around the edges.  He narrates a year of his life plus some of his history in one hour increments for Mrs. Moneybags, who is funding his education in exchange for his time and voice. 

I loved observing the changes in Ben as the year progressed and things changed in his life.  Changing neighborhoods, changing crowds (even though he held on to some of his old friends), changing his outlook from the the past to the future. 

The ending came too soon, because I wanted to stay a voyeur, reading Ben’s monologues about his past and his present, and I wasn’t ready for the wrap up.  I guessed who Mrs. M was early on, but am still confused about how/why she did what she did: random chance?  altruism?  If I take a step back and think about it, it makes me vaguely uncomfortable and I’m not entirely sure why.  Maybe because it reminds me of Henry Higgins and Eliza Doolittle?

There is a sweet thread of romance in the book, but it is not a traditional genre romance.  Maybe in a larger sense it is a love story?  I’m not sure.  If pressed, I would say that it was closer to lad lit than romance.

B+ from me.

Off to read more.


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3 responses to “SBD: Thank You, Mrs. M., and Doubleblind

  1. Okay, just to be compliant with the new FTC rule (which I guess applies to me?)
    Uh, what did I miss? Probably a few post down – I’ll keep looking

    • I haven’t posted anything about the FTC rule. It’s new today and Jane @ Dear Author posted about it briefly. Blogger/reviewers who endorse books have to disclose benefits received. Haven’t read the rule, just mentioned free book because I’m not clear what the rule means.

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