Aftermath is my least favorite Sirantha Jax novel to date. Jax has transformed from a snarky, live for the thrill of it all girl in the first book to an over-thinking, mourning for every decision she has made and guilt-ridden individual. The second person does not sound like much fun right? Well she isn't. Jax takes too much upon herself these days and it is frustrating to read. I wish at least some of the old Jax would come alive other than the part obsessed with grimspace. Jax and March make ridiculous decisions in this one, both claiming to be doing the unselfish action but in reality it seems based in selfishness. March being utterly entwined in finding and raising his sister's son makes him dull and also unlike the March we all come to know in earlier books. I suppose individuals change but why does every decision have to be so largely self-sacrificing and life-altering?
Vel, good ol' Vel. Vel has grown in the series as well but at his core he is still the same solid individual we meet in book one. I wish I could say the same for all of the other characters (although Dina is also the same). Vel and Jax's relationship has grown closer and I honestly did not quite understand where Aguirre was going in some scenes. Are we supposed to be confused? The only love that actually feels like love is that which is between Vel and Jax.
The writing style in this one, possibly because of Jax's changes, felt more distant and less engrossing. Jax is now a guilty over-thinker and tends to keep thinking on the same topic over and over in the same phrasing no less. Her guilt over Baby-Z from a previous novel comes home to roost in Aftermath as well, which felt entirely unnecessary to me. It also led to a ridiculous side plot which had frustrating results. In Endgame is Jax going to try to right every wrong she has ever done in the series? I don't think we have the time or patience for such a task.
Oh how I miss the old Jax. Some snark from Jax and pain in the ass behavior from March (not the "oh I'm leaving to be a hero again, you understand don't you? I'm all about the greater good. Sure I love you, but not enough to stay." bullcrap though) were desperately needed in Aftermath. I have little hope that Endgame will be satisfying considering the trajectory of Jax's character.