The Nitty-Gritty Details
Title: A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe
Author: Alex White
Publisher: Orbit Books, June 2018
Blurb: Boots Elsworth was a famous treasure hunter in another life, but now she’s washed up. She makes her meager living faking salvage legends and selling them to the highest bidder, but this time she might have stumbled on something real–the story of the Harrow, a famous warship, capable of untold destruction.
Nilah Brio is the top driver in the Pan Galactic Racing Federation and the darling of the racing world–until she witnesses the murder of a fellow racer. Framed for the murder and on the hunt to clear her name, Nilah only has one lead: the killer also hunts a woman named Boots.
On the wrong side of the law, the two women board a smuggler’s ship that will take them on a quest for fame, for riches, and for justice.
(ARC given by Orbit in exchange for honest review)
If you’ve been following Erlebnisse for a while now, you might have noticed a trend in some of these reviews; reviews in which pages numbers pop up, usually without context, never revealing fully why these page numbers are so significant, only that they are. My review of Scott Lynch’s The Lies of Locke Lamora. Tyler Whitesides’s The Thousand Deaths of Arbor Benn. And now, a new member joins these esteemed ranks. Alex White’s A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe. What ranks, do you ask? It’s a very esteemed group. Only the most merciless authors make it in.
You see, this is the page where my trust was shattered, my entire body stilled (because I rock back and forth when I read; old habit) and my heart skipped at least one beat–most likely two–in disbelief. There’s no way what just happened happened. Surely this is some sort of trick? Some sort of cruel joke, some sort of…
What? you ask. How? you ponder.
Read this marvelous novel and you’ll find out exactly what I mean and most likely experience a similar, visceral response. For even having this countdown, knowing the precise moment of when everything you were rooting for gets wiped out from underneath you; even then, I don’t think that’ll fully prepare you.
Not for this.
You see, you can only have a response this intense from a novel if, during the hours you spent flipping past the pages, you let your heart become ensnared in the process. In A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe, there isn’t an element that doesn’t threaten to ensnare you. Even me–someone who doesn’t care at all about racing in real life and who truly enjoys science fiction as a genre, but usually doesn’t understand a lick of the science behind how any of it works. I found myself falling head over heels for Nilah and how her life gets tossed upside down and suddenly, I see sides of her I didn’t think this champion possessed. I was always rooting for Boots, from the moment I met her. Something about that Starbuck personality of hers just made me instantly like her and want her to succeed. And then you add in the rest of the crew of the Capricious, the galaxy-level stakes (and threats), the fantastic, detailed writing, the humor, the wonderful blend of fantasy-like magic into a space setting, AI with personality and kissing (my only complaint: not enough kissing)…
I mean, seriously, I’m not surprised that I’d be reading this book and then look down and not even realize almost 100 pages had passed underneath my fingertips without me taking a break to realize the world I was immersed in was in fact not my reality.
And that you calibrate in that ending and the synopsis for the sequel (which is supposed to come out THIS DECEMBER?!?) and I’m just over here like…
Go check this one out. I promise you, you’re not going to want to miss it.