A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe (Book 1)
By: Alex White

Quick-take: A Sci-Fi and Fantasy Mashup in Space.

Dan's Review

Nilah is the universe's most promising race car driver. During a race, she is trapped in a tunnel. A demonic character, named Mother, murders her competitor. The authorities blame her, so she is now on the run. In this process she bumps in to a ragtag crew of salvagers, and a new chapter of her life begins.

The book started off with a good bit of promise: at a big racing event. I was thrown totally off-guard when characters started casting spells during the race. Am I reading a sci-fi novel or a fantasy novel? Apparently, I am getting both.

I always appreciate authors trying something different. I suppose there is no compelling reason that a fantasy novel must elusively contain swords, castles, orcs, etc. "A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe" features space ships and spell-casting. You get a twofer with this novel.

Does it work? I actually don't quite know. Nilah's magic augments her ability to drive. The captain of the ship casts a spell to augment his spacefaring needs. I think overall it works OK.

Does it add to the story? Not sure there. There is a character named Boots that is inflicted with the inability to cast magic. Of course she is going to display some heroics. Reminds me a bit of the character named Blue, a chronically ill scientist, in Alex's Alien: The Cold Forge book.

I thought the story went off the rails a bit. Nilah badly wants to get back home to finish her season of racing. However, she is stuck on the salvenger ship. Then suddenly... she is no longer concerned about the big race and assimilates quite nicely with the crew. OK, what happened? It works out as the story goes, but that felt like a character development hiccup.

Score: 4/5. I appreciate trying new things (magic with sci-fi), and I always appreciate it when the main story arc wraps up and the author invites me to come along for book 2 --instead of demanding it with massive cliffhangers. I've already picked up book 2.

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