The sci-fi world Aguirre has created is getting more vivid and thorough as the series progresses. Despite there being depth to the series, I believe it is character-driven all the way, at least for me. This installment centers around Jax having to be a very important ambassador, a role one would never peg Jax for. In order to help diminish the likelihood of war and countless deaths, Jax is attempting to get the Ithtorians to agree to an alliance. However, the Ithtorians think oh so very little of humans (can't say as I blame them).
Jax matured greatly into the role of ambassador and while I admire her ability to do so, I rather miss the old Jax. The Jax that would say what was on her mind and do what she felt was right for her, I loved that Jax. Instead this Jax has to continually have an inner battle for doing what is better for the "many" and ends up kissing ass more than I can generally tolerate reading (and don't even think I could actually do it). Despite this, the Jax I prefer still lurks within and that makes me hopeful that the "ambassador" Jax may be done away with when enough is enough.
Vel, oh Vel. What a great character! He is strong but vulnerable, living with a duality--the culture/race he was born into (Ithtorians) and the world he feels more a part of (which is in conflict with said culture). He is a great friend to Jax and more than any other character I think she needs Vel. March may be her lover but Vel is there like no one else. I believe I'd be somewhat braced for March's death but I think Vel's would hit harder.
March is now essentially a killing machine after the events in book two and is cold emotionally and any little trigger could send him over the edge. He was like this once before (prior to Jax) and "fixed" by somone no longer living with abilities Jax does not possess. How can she "fix" him? This aspect of the story really takes an emotional toll on the characters and readers. Will March rebound?
I rather liked the character of Jael and was disappointed that he was the bad guy in this one. It was very disappointing that he would sell out for money despite what seemed like genuine care for Jax and her safety. Despite what he did and the danger it would cause, I secretly hope he somehow escapes from the mines. Of course I view this from a perspective that he will amend his ways and not kill anyone important. So I guess he is probably stuck there!
There was a lot of politics in the book, which I have never been a fan of. However, I did enjoy the extra level of meaning of the Syndicate (aka private corprorations doing things for the government) and their part in Jax's world. The events, corruptions, deaths etc. that take place in Jax's world are not foreign to ours.
I look forward to the next books in the series and know it will be a dramatic wild ride from here on out.