Review: The Aggressive by Gem Jackson

Rating: 8/10

Synopsis

A pilot. A terrorist. A special agent. Three lives, one ship and a Solar System on the edge.

In a dark vision of the near future, humankind has settled the Solar System as far as the moons of Saturn. What began as scientific exploration quickly turned to commercialization, crime and violence. As Earth and Titan stand on the brink of conflict, three lives collide on the warship Aggressive in a way that risks igniting a conflict across the stars.

Leon Wood is a young pilot officer on board the warship Aggressive, seeking to escape his past growing up under an oppressive regime on Titan. As Titan breaks ties with the ruling powers on Earth, Leon finds himself caught between forces far bigger than he ever imagined possible.

Meanwhile, Anton Biarritz is a ruthless career terrorist who, having masterminded a devastating attack on Earth, makes his escape aboard the Aggressive posing as a misanthropic diplomat. His plans are thrown into chaos when he finds the one person who has dedicated their life to tracking him down is also on the ship…

…September Long. A brilliant but disgraced intelligence officer determined to bring Anton to justice, whatever the cost. As the stakes rise, she finds herself increasingly isolated, caught in a battle of wits in the cold, outer reaches of the Solar System.

Review

The very first page had me hooked. You are thrown in the deep end without any arms bands or prior knowledge of what lurks beneath. This is a promising start to a debut saga from a new name in SciFi.

In The Aggressive, Gem Jackson does not hold back on detail… at all. There are some quite violent scenes throughout and one of the most bizarre sexual encounters I have ever read in a book that will most likely hold that title for a long time to come. There is a nice sprinkling of humour throughout which helps break up the action nicely so as not to feel like an over-engineered action movie from the 1980s.

There is a whole host of interesting characters that we discover on our journey. The biggest impact being September Long. In the very first chapter, we are introduced to September Long an APSI agent whose duty is to maintain order and peace within the solar system which is perched upon a cliff edge. September or Tem as she is referred to throughout the book is a kick-ass albeit slightly unstable character who takes no crap from anyone. Tem is headstrong and often shoots first and asks questions later. Gem Jackson has crafted Tem well and throws her headlong into the centre of this SciFi thriller. I found it extremely refreshing that we had an intriguing and strong female lead instead of the much used rugged and brooding action man, chiselled jawline included, that is all too often used to save the day.

Gem Jackson has created an incredibly interesting setting with the first instalment of the Titanwar saga and I look forward to learning more about the interplanetary relationships and politics and for me this is was a small downside to The Aggressive. I wanted more info on the fore mention relationships/politics. I wanted to have a much broader understanding of how we got to where The Aggressive starts. I can only hope that the next instalment shines more light on the matter. Now, this isn’t a deal breaker and for most people, you will be more than happy with what information we are given and will thoroughly enjoy this book.

The Aggressive is a bold and strong start to the Titanwar saga and I cannot wait to read the next instalment. This is a must read for any fan of thrillers and SciFi and what I really liked about The Aggressive is that it is not what I would call hard science fiction. You don’t need to be clued up on the internal workings of interstellar space travel, you don’t need to understand the impact of high G manoeuvres on the human body. Gem Jackson takes it easy on these finer details of human activity in space so this is a great place for any strong stomached newcomer to science fiction to start.

Keep an eye on Gem Jackson as his name will become big in the SciFi world if his debut is anything to judge by.

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