Wanderlust by Ann Aguirre


Paranormal MysteryScience FictionWanderlust by Ann Aguirre Wanderlust
Ann Aguirre; Ace Books 2008

Now that she has pulled down the Farwan Corporation’s monopoly, Sirantha Jax needs to find work. Her ex-husband emptied her bank accounts while she was presumed dead. The Conglomerate had been the figurehead of the interplanetary network of representatives governing their system. With Farwan gone, the Conglomerate regains its power. Her new Conglomerate boss convinces Jax to take the position of ambassador to a planet they’d like to join the Conglomerate.

Then her mother approaches her. The Syndicate, the largest interplanetary crime organization, wants her to take the position on Ithiss-Tor. If she takes the job and fails in the diplomacy, they will free her mother of a life-threatening debt. Jax needs to figure out how to free her mother but do the right thing. She wants to be a good ambassador and work with the people on that planet.

Jax and her lover March gather a team together to go to Ithiss-Tor. March is a captain and navigator and she is the jumper, the person who gets them through grimspace. Grimspace is a shortcut through alternate space that avoids light years worth of travel (similar to warp drive in other science fiction series). One team member, Vel, is a bounty hunter and a native of Ithiss-Tor. He will be security for them as well as train her on his people’s culture. Dina, the best ship mechanic around in Jax’s opinion, and Jael, the Conglomerate assigned body guard, round out their party.

Two extra passengers needing a ride off planet bring extra problems. Before they arrive at Ithiss-Tor, Sirantha and her group will have to find an emergency station for supplies, deal with childbirth, meet flesh-eating aliens, get involved in a planetary civil war, and try to outwit the Syndicate. Jax is dealing with some sort of bone disease that keeps her frail and weak. She is also learning the 77 different “no-nos” that would ruin any chance of diplomacy on Isthiss-Tor. Life is complicated in her world.

Although not as impressive as Grimspace, Wanderlust is an action packed science fiction novel that pulls in the reader. Jax and her team barely get out of one life-threatening situation before they’re thrown into another. Ann Aguirre has created a believable, consistent universe for her background. Aguirre also keeps the mystery elements that are good in any time or genre – evil corporations, do nothing governments, corruption, organized crime, adventure, diplomacy, love, and friendship. Aguirre packs a lot into her novel.

The team spends a few weeks on one station as they wait for help. Aguirre shows the tedium of the wait since these people are used to action, but doesn’t dwell on it. She doesn’t allow it to slow down her story. While there is plenty of explanation of the events from the first novel in the series, I recommend not starting with Wanderlust. Go back and start with Grimspace.

Wanderlust is classic space opera style science fiction worth reading.

Notice: Graphic violence, Strong language, Suggestive dialogue or situations

More books by Ann Aguirre

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