Ace, Mar 2008, $7.99
Thanks to being born with the J-gene Sirantha Jax is able to navigate through GRIMSPACE. Her skill makes her valuable as she can lead a ship through a shortcut bend in space though it comes at a cost, reducing her lifespan expectancy. On her last mission, Jax navigated the Saragasso carrying Conglomerate delegates to a summit on Matins IV. She has no memory of what went wrong, but everyone else on board died in a crash. Jax is arrested and placed in a chamber where she is tortured and drugged by doctors who demand she confess that she caused the crash.
March enters her cell and helps Jax escape. He and other interested parties want to know how she is able to “jump” like she does. They land on Lachion where she meets the people who set the wheels in motion to free her. They want her and March to go to ten worlds to find missing humans and others who can navigate Grimspace like she can. They hope to form an academy to teach them how to do so and break the interstellar monopoly of the Conglomerate. The Corps wants Jax back under their control and have sent her picture everywhere with the caption she is dangerous to every Conglomerate world. Hundreds of bounty hunters taste the reward of bringing her in dead or preferably alive.
This is a grand space opera in the tradition of Star Wars with a romantic subplot that adds spice to the fast-paced, character-driven story line. Readers take a glorious roller coaster ride around the Aguirre galaxy filled with alien species on worlds that seem real due to the vivid descriptions. However, with all that going for it, GRIMSPACE belongs to the kick butt heroine.