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The Rush's Edge

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With the help of his commanding officer, a genetically engineered ex-soldier fights back against the government that created him and others like him to be expendable slaves. Halvor Cullen, a genetically-engineered and technology implanted ex-solider, doesn’t see himself as a hero. After getting out of the service, all he’s interested in is chasing the adrenaline rush that h With the help of his commanding officer, a genetically engineered ex-soldier fights back against the government that created him and others like him to be expendable slaves. Halvor Cullen, a genetically-engineered and technology implanted ex-solider, doesn’t see himself as a hero. After getting out of the service, all he’s interested in is chasing the adrenaline rush that his body was designed to crave. Hal knows he won’t live long anyway; vat soldiers like him are designed to die early or will burnt out from relentlessly seeking the rush. His best friend and former CO, Tyce, is determined not to let that happen and distracts him by work salvaging crashed ships in the Edge. But after a new crewmember—hacker-turned-tecker, Vivi—joins their band of misfits, they find a sphere that downloads an alien presence into their ship…


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With the help of his commanding officer, a genetically engineered ex-soldier fights back against the government that created him and others like him to be expendable slaves. Halvor Cullen, a genetically-engineered and technology implanted ex-solider, doesn’t see himself as a hero. After getting out of the service, all he’s interested in is chasing the adrenaline rush that h With the help of his commanding officer, a genetically engineered ex-soldier fights back against the government that created him and others like him to be expendable slaves. Halvor Cullen, a genetically-engineered and technology implanted ex-solider, doesn’t see himself as a hero. After getting out of the service, all he’s interested in is chasing the adrenaline rush that his body was designed to crave. Hal knows he won’t live long anyway; vat soldiers like him are designed to die early or will burnt out from relentlessly seeking the rush. His best friend and former CO, Tyce, is determined not to let that happen and distracts him by work salvaging crashed ships in the Edge. But after a new crewmember—hacker-turned-tecker, Vivi—joins their band of misfits, they find a sphere that downloads an alien presence into their ship…

30 review for The Rush's Edge

  1. 5 out of 5

    Alexander Peterhans

    You don't need to constantly reinvent the wheel to tell a good story. When your worldbuilding isn't flowing over with original ideas, you can tell a great yarn with interesting characters, with vibrant dialogue, and perhaps a well paced plot. I'm afraid to say this book fails on both fronts. Pretty much every world detail you come across you will have encountered in other sci-fi works, sometimes literally - think a mix of Star Wars, Star Trek, Space: Above & Beyond, Firefly and Mass Effect. There You don't need to constantly reinvent the wheel to tell a good story. When your worldbuilding isn't flowing over with original ideas, you can tell a great yarn with interesting characters, with vibrant dialogue, and perhaps a well paced plot. I'm afraid to say this book fails on both fronts. Pretty much every world detail you come across you will have encountered in other sci-fi works, sometimes literally - think a mix of Star Wars, Star Trek, Space: Above & Beyond, Firefly and Mass Effect. There are laspistols and lasrifles, there are medjets, there is a mysterious extinct and technologically advanced race called the Mudar, there are technicians called teckers, there is an Empire stand-in called the ACAS, there are vatgrown soldiers called vats (although, to be fair, 'vat' here is an abbreviation), and so on. There is a lot of attention for character development, which is a good thing, but they aren't very interesting people. In the end they still feel shallow and predictable. Essentially this is a book about soldiers and PTSD, and even that is handled dully - we see one of the characters wrestle with flashbacks, nightmares and disassociation, but we only really see it from the outside. The plot pootles along, but is never surprising, and there is little suspense. There's a love story that does the bare minimum what a love story has to do. Because the characters aren't very engaging, I didn't really care what happened here. Parts of the plot feel like they're just there because that's what you do in a space opera. There's an enigmatic assassin who follows the crew, and when the confrontation comes quite early in the book, it's an anticlimax. There is a scientist who has helped to create vat soldiers for the evil ACAS for years and years, but now all of a sudden realises that hey, this just isn't cricket. There is a lot of dialogue, and I mean a LOT, which I'm afraid to say felt like a chore to get through. I'm sorry to say I was just so very bored. (Kindly received an ARC from Angry Robot through Edelweiss)

  2. 4 out of 5

    Athena (OneReadingNurse)

    Heyy space opera fans, how’s it going?  Thank you so much to Angry Robot for the eARC of this fast-paced sci-fi / space adventure in exchange for an honest review! All opinions are my own! There are a lot of things that I really liked about The Rush’s Edge, so let’s start there.  I love science fiction that touches on ethics related to robotics, genetics, and AI – I guess I can thank Mr Asimov for that one.   Hal is a Vanguard Assault Trooper, one of thousands genetically enhanced and modified to Heyy space opera fans, how’s it going?  Thank you so much to Angry Robot for the eARC of this fast-paced sci-fi / space adventure in exchange for an honest review! All opinions are my own! There are a lot of things that I really liked about The Rush’s Edge, so let’s start there.  I love science fiction that touches on ethics related to robotics, genetics, and AI – I guess I can thank Mr Asimov for that one.   Hal is a Vanguard Assault Trooper, one of thousands genetically enhanced and modified to serve as cannon fodder for the ACAS (government). As the description states, what future can these troops have?  Should they fight back?  The book takes a long look at the prejudices and ethical issues surrounding the soldiers and that was my favorite element. The action is steady as well, the book was certainly never boring.  From scrapping to mission to heart pounding escape or combat scenes, even the character and relationship building parts kept the story moving forward. The characters were really good too,  Hal and the other soldiers deal with PTSD and finding their place in the world after their service.  Are they allowed to want a future? Can they fall in love? Can they command their own ship or fight in their own war? These are questions that Hal navigates through with help from his crew.  Tyce, the captain, seems like such a caring person too, as does Beryl the ship’s medic.  Vivi is just great too, a natural born that represents the naivety of most of the general population about their government and military.  She is strong and smart and perfect for Hal and the crew. I also love when AI’s have personalities.  A friendly AI/alien is more rare in books than malicious ones so that was a fun plot twist…but no spoilers. The downside was that at the end, I felt like the book would be a great introduction to a series. All the characters are introduced/found and the crew kind of chooses each other as a family, but it ends in a very open way. I also didnt think that any of the major plot points were cleared up at all, so either it’s all open to interpretation or there will be more books. In that manner I docked two stars, only because it seemed like all the right space opera elements were tossed in without any element of connectivity or closure towards the end goal. The book 100% accomplished forming a crew, and if there ends up being another book I will 100% bump this straight to a 5 star rating.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Tammy

    I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The nitty-gritty: I enjoyed the well thought out futuristic world and exciting action sequences, but overall the story suffered from a few rookie mistakes. The Rush’s Edge is a fast-paced space opera debut that had plenty of thrilling moments and lots of action, and I enjoyed parts of it very much. However, I did have several issues with th I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The nitty-gritty: I enjoyed the well thought out futuristic world and exciting action sequences, but overall the story suffered from a few rookie mistakes. The Rush’s Edge is a fast-paced space opera debut that had plenty of thrilling moments and lots of action, and I enjoyed parts of it very much. However, I did have several issues with the story that affected my overall reading experience, including awkward writing, stilted dialog and a confusing plot, all of which added up to a book that felt like a debut.  The story revolves around an ex-military captain named Tyce and his best friend Halvor Cullen, a government “vat” with extraordinary strength and fighting abilities who was created in a laboratory. Now that they are both retired from ACAS—the Armed Services of the Coalition of Allied Systems—they perform salvage operations for profit. One day they interrupt a kidnapping in a bar and decide to take the victim, a tech expert named Vivian Valjean, back to their ship. When Vivi wakes up (having been drugged by her would-be captors), she immediately bonds with Hal and Ty, and when they invite her to join their crew, she happily agrees. Ty has intel on a possible salvage opportunity on a planet called K-245j, and when they arrive and start to explore, they’re shocked to find what looks like a crashed Mudar ship, Mudars being an alien race that hasn’t been seen in years. Mudar technology is highly sought after, so Ty and his crew grab what pieces they can find as salvage. But once back on their ship, strange things start happening. The alien artifacts seem to be taking over the ship, but even worse, the crew is being chased by ACAS soldiers who are looking for intel on the K-245j crash site. Ty and his crew find themselves in the middle of a pitched battle, made worse by the fact that Hal has become dangerously unstable... Readers are going to notice lots of similarities to other science fiction stories, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I got very strong Firefly and Star Trek vibes while reading, and Smith captured the “found family” sensibility that I love in both those TV shows. The author uses lots of familiar sci-fi tropes, like artificially grown soldiers, drugs that enhance strength and endurance, people with tech implants, and rogue AIs. Smith has a knack for writing exciting action scenes, and those were some of the best parts of this story. I also really enjoyed the friendship between Ty and Hal. As a vat, Hal has a rough life. He was “grown” specifically to serve in the military as a fighter, but because of something called the “rush,” a spike in adrenaline that allows vats to be super fighters, he’s only expected to live to about thirty-five, which is sad for Ty because they are such good friends. Their relationship changes and grows as they face some seemingly unbeatable challenges, but their loyalty to each other helps get them through even the roughest moments. Although these elements by themselves were strong, they weren’t enough to make this a completely successful story for me. The main issue I had with The Rush’s Edge is a big one: the overall structure is so convoluted that I had a hard time figuring out just what the main plot was. Smith changes gears often and introduces new characters and subplots that don’t always mesh together. For example, in the first half of the story, a mysterious assassin named Scalpel pops up in alternating chapters. We learn that he is hunting Vivi, for some reason, and I was completely invested in this mystery. What did Vivi do that she’s got an assassin on her tail? Did it have something to do with the kidnapping in the beginning of the story? Unfortunately we never find out, which was beyond frustrating. Much later in the book, we meet a vat scientist named Max who discovers the ACAS is developing a diabolic weapon to use against vats. Max is not OK with it, and so a new subplot emerges where Max tries to leave his highly secret government job and stop the ACAS. I didn’t connect with Max at all, so when he is gravely injured during a fight sequence, I realized I just didn’t care whether he lived or died. There’s also a promising story line involving the Mudar AI, and I do love a good rogue AI story, but there was very little tension in this particular subplot and it just didn’t work for me at all. All these fractured plot pieces, while fine by themselves, made for an overall story that felt awkwardly cobbled together. The story has clear romance elements right from the beginning, as soon as Hal lays eyes on Vivi, and I’m just going to come out and say it: I hated the romance. There was absolutely none of the tension that makes for an engaging romance. Hal becomes a loyal puppy dog as soon as he sees Vivi for the first time, and Vivi is likewise smitten with Hal. Their “romance,” such that it is, proceeds in an oddly chaste manner, which made me uncomfortable for some reason. We get to see shy glances, soft touches, and hugs, and at one point they jump into the shower together, which really caught me off guard. It was like watching twelve year olds fall in love, and not at all the sort of romance you would expect between two adults facing danger on a daily basis. In the end, The Rush’s Edge was just OK for me. I’ve read so many excellent science fiction books this year, and it's hard not to compare this book to my favorites. I do think the author has potential, though, and I might be interested in reading her next book. Big thanks to the publisher for supplying a review copy.This review originally appeared on Books, Bones & Buffy

  4. 4 out of 5

    Dan Hanks

    Lucky enough to read this early and I loved it. Great sci-fi setting, shady military organisations, super soldiers, assassins, and one awesome ship. But the best part is the family of characters at its heart - all richly drawn and very easy to invest in from the start - which gave me big Firefly meets Mass Effect vibes. Hugely entertaining and thought provoking too. Highly recommend.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Cassidee Lanstra

    I read The Rush’s Edge in two sittings yesterday. This beauty comes out tomorrow and it was easy reading. The story pulled me in right away and the action never stopped. The Rush’s Edge was a mix of Vat-raised soldiers, assassins, untrustworthy government and military and it has a little bit of a love story in there. I was super invested in Hal and Veev’s relationship, not gotta lie. I love a bit of LOVE in my books, SFF or otherwise. Don’t worry, it wasn’t heavy or smutty, for the romance shy. I read The Rush’s Edge in two sittings yesterday. This beauty comes out tomorrow and it was easy reading. The story pulled me in right away and the action never stopped. The Rush’s Edge was a mix of Vat-raised soldiers, assassins, untrustworthy government and military and it has a little bit of a love story in there. I was super invested in Hal and Veev’s relationship, not gotta lie. I love a bit of LOVE in my books, SFF or otherwise. Don’t worry, it wasn’t heavy or smutty, for the romance shy. Vat soldiers are raised and partially manufactured by the ACAS to be loyal to their government, but they’re not built to last. After they’ve completed their service to ACAS, they have a couple years of life before their bodies give up. Hal is used to being treated like dirt and knows he only has a couple years before his body breaks down. His friends are determined to find a way to help him, all while scavenging planets and dodging assassins. My only complaint about the novel was that at times it felt like I lost track of what the goal was. All in all, I was engaged enough to overlook that minor fault. The ending of the book tied things up nicely but also left things open for an easy series continuation. As I said, this releases November 10th and I have to give a huge thanks to Angry Robot for sending me this novel. I will also say, they’ve been KILLING it with covers lately.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Laura (crofteereader)

    I think this book suffers from not having a "goal" - there's no central driving force in the plot. Indeed, the plot itself is a series of loosely connected events that are all, essentially, self-contained, with problems solved within ~20 pages of their appearance. If we'd gone into this book going "this is the crew and they want to accomplish X but A, B, C, and D have gotten in their way" I would have been so down. Instead, A, B, C, and D happen and we just... Continue on and find an E, F, and G I think this book suffers from not having a "goal" - there's no central driving force in the plot. Indeed, the plot itself is a series of loosely connected events that are all, essentially, self-contained, with problems solved within ~20 pages of their appearance. If we'd gone into this book going "this is the crew and they want to accomplish X but A, B, C, and D have gotten in their way" I would have been so down. Instead, A, B, C, and D happen and we just... Continue on and find an E, F, and G because... Uh... Because? This is a pretty typical scifi universe. Allied planets, an uber-powerful military/government, some rebel factions, some systemic oppression, an enigmatic history that it turns out was completely wrong. Also, the only character with any real depth was Hal, but when we spend so much time with Vivi and Ty as well, it felt like we got the short end of the bargain. I think I would still read another book in this series - namely because I'm curious to see where it will go from here - but it's not anything I would go out of my way for. {Thank you Angry Robot Books for the ARC in exchange for my honest review; all thoughts are my own}

  7. 4 out of 5

    Reid Edwards

    Ginger Smith's debut novel The Rush's Edge is a great first step into what looks to be a a fascinating universe. Her characters feel alive, motivated by internal decisions and show the consequences of their actions. So rarely do protagonists suffer from their choices, but Smith is willing to play out the scenario, rather than dropping deus ex machina throughout the story. The universe she's created just hints at the world and species beyond, which should allow for great stories and great SF. Smi Ginger Smith's debut novel The Rush's Edge is a great first step into what looks to be a a fascinating universe. Her characters feel alive, motivated by internal decisions and show the consequences of their actions. So rarely do protagonists suffer from their choices, but Smith is willing to play out the scenario, rather than dropping deus ex machina throughout the story. The universe she's created just hints at the world and species beyond, which should allow for great stories and great SF. Smith also does a nice job of delving into the psychology and humanity of her characters, which really helps flesh them out. While it doesn't push the bounds of literary fiction, Smith's novel is a solid entrant into the SF catalog, and I look forward to reading the next in line.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Chris Panatier

    Vat raised soldiers are pitted against both the AI species they were built to fight and the government that created them, in this character-driven space drama. If you are a fan of well-built sci-fi stories that actually flesh out the human relationships, then this book is for you. Very much for fans of The Expanse.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Sacha

    I received a copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher in return for an honest review. The beginning of this book as absolutely attention grabbing. I was easily able to become absorbed in the world as it was interesting and well fleshed out. There are nats (natural born humans) and vats (vat born/grown humans that have been augmented). Set in space, interesting characters, and a mystery? This book was right up my alley...until it wasn't. It's not that I didn't like this book. I liked th I received a copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher in return for an honest review. The beginning of this book as absolutely attention grabbing. I was easily able to become absorbed in the world as it was interesting and well fleshed out. There are nats (natural born humans) and vats (vat born/grown humans that have been augmented). Set in space, interesting characters, and a mystery? This book was right up my alley...until it wasn't. It's not that I didn't like this book. I liked the world and characters, but the plot seemed to take a looooong time to actually get going. One thing would happen and I thought we were getting somewhere, but that issue would be wrapped up and I was only halfway through the book. The actual conflict of the book was still fuzzy even near the end. I was just unsure where the plot was going because there didn't seem to be anything consistent other than the characters and their actions. And once something did happen, each conflict seemed to be the same formula. Overall, this was just a middle of the road sci-fi book for me. It does seem like there will be a sequel, so perhaps we'll get to explore the Mudar (the alien species I thought was going to be a main plot point but was just a sidenote) and the larger world as a whole.

  10. 5 out of 5

    LordOfDorkness

    A casual fun space adventure.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Dean Osborne

    A heart stopping, edge of your seat exploration of the human psyche... IN SPACE! Hot diggity dog that was a good journey and I’m gonna say I really, REALLY hope we get to see more of this universe and its inhabitants. I need to know more! Ginger, if you read this and Angry Robot doesn’t pull the trigger on a follow up be it a prequel, sequel or even a brief history then you need to call me and let me know more 😅 Okay so now I have that out of my system here we go... We join the crew of the Loshad A heart stopping, edge of your seat exploration of the human psyche... IN SPACE! Hot diggity dog that was a good journey and I’m gonna say I really, REALLY hope we get to see more of this universe and its inhabitants. I need to know more! Ginger, if you read this and Angry Robot doesn’t pull the trigger on a follow up be it a prequel, sequel or even a brief history then you need to call me and let me know more 😅 Okay so now I have that out of my system here we go... We join the crew of the Loshad as they are docked in a spaceport looking for their next job when they unknowingly happen across a new crew mate. They are readying for a salvage trip that ultimately turns upside down and inside out and they find themselves thrust into the midst of a coverup/conspiracy that challenges everything they have ever known about their place in the universe. It is very clear to see that Ginger Smith is tackling several social justice subjects, one of which is human rights, in her debut. This is handle nicely and works well within the story arc. In fact, the central arc is all about this and I really like this and I enjoy it when authors challenge their readers to think differently and grow as a person. For me this makes a book all that more engaging as a reader. “I think that most people are good, if given a chance. But some people are not. Some people are very, very bad. And then there are others, like Max, who are just misguided, I guess. We have to help the misguided ones see what is right.” Ginger Smith has created a unique cast of characters in The Rush’s Edge, my favourite being Hal. A hot headed, gun toting vat (Vanguard Assault Troop) that is kept on the straight and narrow and looked after by his Captain and good friend Tyce, the glue that holds the crew together using his calm temper and rational thinking which compensates for Hal’s aggression. “I am the fist of the ACAS. In war I am strength. I bring justice of the coalition to it’s enemies. Victory is mine. I will gladly fight to the death. I do not surrender to exhaustion or fear. I am steadfast and tenacious in the face of adversity. I am inexorable. I am the ACAS.” As I have already stated I want... no I need to know more about this universe and its inhabitants. There is mention of a war between civilisations that really intrigued me and I think it would be great to get a chance to explore this more. Another tick in the box is although we see the same type of mechanics used in other sci-fi Smith uses and adapts them in a way that makes them feel fresh and interesting. Artificial intelligence and genetically modified soldiers to name a couple. One thing I want to mention because it is a big part of the story is romance. I’m not not usually a fan of romance in the books I read as I normally find it as a distraction from the story arc and often find that it fits unnaturally within the story itself. The moments of love and intimacy are normally weirdly placed or happen at a time that seems weird. The often used ‘let’s express our love prior to the final battle’ trope is something I often find quite boring. However, Ginger Smith has changed that for me at least in The Rush’s Edge. Ginger has injected romance into this story seamlessly and it adds to the overall effect of the book. As for recommending The Rush’s Edge, I would highly recommend to lovers of easy going sci-fi or those looking at picking up their first sci-fi. It’s also a bonus if you like a little romance. Just like my review on The Aggressive by Gem Jackson, that can be found on Bookvagabond.com, I would like to add that The Rush’s Edge is not overwhelming with its acronyms like a lot of science fiction, forcing you to flip back to the glossary to refresh you memory, and you don’t need to be clued up on all the tidbits of space travel. Smith gives those new to the genre a nice springboard to further their journey into the ion pulse engine, laser rifle, inertia drive worlds that we hardened fans love so much.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jerry

    I typically read non fiction and biography as I feel that real life is so much stranger than fiction. That said however, I have read a good deal of science fiction and fantasy and do like a good old fashioned action-adventure story. I was offered an advanced reader copy of The Rush's Edge so I put down a book I was reading and decided to give it a go. Wow! I am sure glad that I did. For an engaging space opera it checks all the boxes. Smith's world building is excellent and, like Star Wars and o I typically read non fiction and biography as I feel that real life is so much stranger than fiction. That said however, I have read a good deal of science fiction and fantasy and do like a good old fashioned action-adventure story. I was offered an advanced reader copy of The Rush's Edge so I put down a book I was reading and decided to give it a go. Wow! I am sure glad that I did. For an engaging space opera it checks all the boxes. Smith's world building is excellent and, like Star Wars and other great space operas, sets the story in a universe that begs to be expanded. I hope that Smith will bring the readers back to this universe in future stories. This book was a November 2020 Editor's Pick on Amazon, so hopefully there will be more to come. The plot is fast paced and I was surprised how quickly I read the book. Don't worry about being bored with this one. It is a literally a blast with plenty of space battles, gun play, and hand to hand fights to keep any action junkie entertained. For those who have an eye for characters and like the interplay between crew members like in Firefly or The Expanse then this book hits that challenge as well. Hal, Ty, Vivi, and Beryl plus a great supporting cast are engaging and entertaining. The dialogue feels natural and the narrative flows well. Not lost on the reader in all the cool world building and action scenes (with a little romance thrown in) that Smith includes in the book are some of the social issues she tackles. For example, soldiers returning from war and trying to find a place in society is not done with a heavy hand, but definitely comes through Hal and Ty's dialogue and actions. The combination of all this makes this book a great read, and, as I said before, it begs for further exploration in the universe. I could easily see this as TV series. I want to know so much more.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Mary Baltzell

    I received an eARC in exchange for an honest review and my honest review is this book is a great read! The main character Hal is a solider that is past his prime just trying live a normal life after the military but there's a catch he's a Vat. Vat's were created by the military to be super soldiers so living a normal life is almost impossible for Hal. The story starts out with a damsel in distress but don't worry she doesn't stay that way. Her new found friends help her grow to become so much mo I received an eARC in exchange for an honest review and my honest review is this book is a great read! The main character Hal is a solider that is past his prime just trying live a normal life after the military but there's a catch he's a Vat. Vat's were created by the military to be super soldiers so living a normal life is almost impossible for Hal. The story starts out with a damsel in distress but don't worry she doesn't stay that way. Her new found friends help her grow to become so much more than just their new ship tecker. The crew of the Loshad shows us that the bonds of friendships can be stronger than family.... even if you are grown in a lab by an evil government. You don't have to be hardcore sci-fi fan to enjoy this action packed story. The story unfolds effortlessly and characters are well thought out and easy to connect with. Be ready to binge read because once you start reading you aren't going to want to stop.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Maxine Robinson

    Found family, adventures, battles, shitty governments, engineered soldiers, slow burn romance... Fuck yes!!!! Sci-fi full of adventure, found family and a nice little romance in the background. Hell yes. Can I just say LOVE, LOVE, LOVE and be done because otherwise my review will be flailing and fangirling over my most very favourite male friendship ever. I'm not sure if the author was aiming for a crying reader, but there were some pure, sweet, wonderful moments of friendship that brought me to Found family, adventures, battles, shitty governments, engineered soldiers, slow burn romance... Fuck yes!!!! Sci-fi full of adventure, found family and a nice little romance in the background. Hell yes. Can I just say LOVE, LOVE, LOVE and be done because otherwise my review will be flailing and fangirling over my most very favourite male friendship ever. I'm not sure if the author was aiming for a crying reader, but there were some pure, sweet, wonderful moments of friendship that brought me to tears and that these moments could happen while characters were covered in other peoples blood was even better. Full Review To Come

  15. 4 out of 5

    Dawn

    "The Rush's Edge" feels like it's non-stop action, but what got me, really got me, was the human element in this story. It's deeply compelling, and very hard not to care about the characters. The story is intriguing, and I'm hoping there will be more to come. I can't fault the writing either, which is warm and easy to read. My thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for an advance copy to review. This review is entirely my own, unbiased, opinion. "The Rush's Edge" feels like it's non-stop action, but what got me, really got me, was the human element in this story. It's deeply compelling, and very hard not to care about the characters. The story is intriguing, and I'm hoping there will be more to come. I can't fault the writing either, which is warm and easy to read. My thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for an advance copy to review. This review is entirely my own, unbiased, opinion.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Amanda Bridgeman

    I was lucky enough to read an advanced copy of this book. It’s an enjoyable sci-fi saga with equal doses of action, thrills and heart. Perfect for fans of Battlestar Galactica, The Expanse and Firefly. 4.5 stars.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Paul

    Excellent scifi with a good premise and execution. The author has a good imagination and put it to good use here. This one made me think a little. I really appreciate the ARC for review!!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    ACAS, the Armed Forced of the Coalition of Allied Systems, fill their ranks by growing their own soldiers in laboratories. Known as Vats, these lab-born men and women implanted with technology before they are ‘born’ and programmed for complete loyalty to ACAS, bravery and dedication to the cause. With heightened aggression, vat-soldiers are always spoiling for a fight and burn out before they reach forty. Halvor Cullen is an ex-vat ACAS soldier explores the Edge with two other ex ACAS soldiers, ACAS, the Armed Forced of the Coalition of Allied Systems, fill their ranks by growing their own soldiers in laboratories. Known as Vats, these lab-born men and women implanted with technology before they are ‘born’ and programmed for complete loyalty to ACAS, bravery and dedication to the cause. With heightened aggression, vat-soldiers are always spoiling for a fight and burn out before they reach forty. Halvor Cullen is an ex-vat ACAS soldier explores the Edge with two other ex ACAS soldiers, his former CO, Tyce, and medic Beryl. Along with tecker, Vivi, they manage Hal’s addiction to adrenaline and aggression-focused nature by salvaging crashed ships. When a mission brings them into conflict with ACAS, they are saved by a group of ex-vat soldiers. They offer Hal the chance to fight back against those who rejected him. Accepting their offer leads Hal to question the nature of the tech implanted in his body and the real reason vats don’t live very long. The Rush’s Edge is set after a great war against an AI force called Mudar where the vat-born soldiers were instrumental in the humans’ victory. Hal has served his time and doing the best he can to keep his aggression under control. Hal is a likeable character. While he might go from calm to fight in the blink of an eye, he is fiercely protective of his crew. The bond between Tyce, Beryl, and Hal is tinged with sadness. They want to keep their friend alive as long as they can, and their world is overshadowed by the knowledge that Hal has about five years of life left. Yet, despite that undertone of sadness, there is acceptance and determination to do everything they can to fill those years with experiences and friendship. This determination increases when Vivi joins the crew and romance blossoms, something Hal would never have considered for himself before. I feel The Rush’s Edge is a scene-setting novel. Smith builds the conflict between ACAS and the planets on the Edge of ACAS space at a good pace, weaving in the history and prejudice, so we care about the characters and feel their injustices, particularly the vats. The story centres on how Hal and other vats have been mistreated by ACAS made for a purpose then rejected after eight years of service. They are looked down on by nats, people born the traditional way. The vats serve, but they are not appreciated. Towards the end of the book, we discover there may be a way to change the early death sentence of the vats and to punish ACAS. As this hasn’t happened by the last page, I believe there is more to come, which makes me happy. Reading like Firefly, The Rush’s Edge with fast, moving along at a breathless pace, going from event to event, and it’s lots of fun. An explosive debut from Ginger Smith and I can’t wait for the next instalment.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    Halvor Cullen (Hal) is a genetically engineered soldier, referred to as a “vat.” His former commanding officer, Tyce Bernon, is a “nat,” or natural born person. Ty is now Hal’s captain on the Loshad, and they make their living as salvagers. Hal isn’t one to back down from a fight, and the book opens with him jumping in to rescue a woman from a couple of guys who are up to no good. The woman, Vivi, is a tecker, and as their ship doesn’t currently have one, Ty offers her a job as part of his crew. Halvor Cullen (Hal) is a genetically engineered soldier, referred to as a “vat.” His former commanding officer, Tyce Bernon, is a “nat,” or natural born person. Ty is now Hal’s captain on the Loshad, and they make their living as salvagers. Hal isn’t one to back down from a fight, and the book opens with him jumping in to rescue a woman from a couple of guys who are up to no good. The woman, Vivi, is a tecker, and as their ship doesn’t currently have one, Ty offers her a job as part of his crew. Ms. Smith does a good job of writing an entertaining story. There are a lot of pretty standard sci-fi elements here – alien lifeforms considered to be evil, a scrappy crew of misfits, an ominously looming government trying to squash a rebellion. But they work well together, and the use of those standard elements makes this a story that’s very approachable for the less seasoned sci-fi reader. The story also isn’t afraid to touch on heavy subjects. For instance, the treatment of vats – they’re considered to be basically expendable once they’ve completed their military service. They’re also programmed by the military to experience the titular “rush,” which basically puts them into combat mode and makes them very aggressive. A lot of nats don’t trust them, don’t like them, don’t want them around. But Ty doesn’t see Hal as “just” a vat. Hal is his best friend, and he will fight for Hal’s well-being, even when it means saving Hal from himself. There’s also the Mudar, the feared aliens who supposedly came intent on destroying humanity. There is more to them than what our heroes initially know, and once they’ve made contact with a Mudar, they realize that just because the government condemns an entire species as evil doesn’t make it so. This was a fun read. There’s a touch of romance, lots of action, and tech toys aplenty on board the Loshad. Good guys versus bad guys. An epic quest is hinted at as the story closes, and I hope this means Ms. Smith will revisit this universe. My only question: who was actually trying to kidnap Vivi at the beginning of the story? If that question was satisfactorily answered, I missed it. If you’re a regular sci-fi reader, The Rush’s Edge is delightful. If you’re new to the genre and want to give it a try, The Rush’s Edge is a good place to start. Either way, read with confidence! Disclaimer: I received an advance reader copy of this book from NetGalley and Angry Robot. All opinions here are mine, and I don’t say nice things about books that I don’t actually like.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Maryam

    Review first published here: https://thecurioussffreader.wordpress... Hal Cullen, a genetically engineered ex-soldier, is now working on a scavenging ship under the command of his best friend and former CO, Tyce. Hal wasn’t engineered to live long, just to kill efficiently. Vivi, a hacker, is in need of a new beginning. She’s homeless after being dumped by her abusive ex-boyfriend after messing up one of his jobs. She is saved by Hal and Tyce when two guys try to kidnap her in a bar and she decide Review first published here: https://thecurioussffreader.wordpress... Hal Cullen, a genetically engineered ex-soldier, is now working on a scavenging ship under the command of his best friend and former CO, Tyce. Hal wasn’t engineered to live long, just to kill efficiently. Vivi, a hacker, is in need of a new beginning. She’s homeless after being dumped by her abusive ex-boyfriend after messing up one of his jobs. She is saved by Hal and Tyce when two guys try to kidnap her in a bar and she decides to join their crew. However, she doesn’t expect her first mission to involve dealing with evil corporations, rebels and aliens. I love Star Wars and I’m sucker for stories about rebels fighting against evil corporations and governments. I also love reading about characters who appears a bit rough around the edges but that are actually softies trying their best to care for their people. On paper, The Rush’s Edge sounded exactly like something I would enjoy and I was very excited to read it. Sadly, I don’t think it lived up to its potential. The basic bones of a fun and exciting story were there but the execution feel flat for me. The writing was very mediocre and some words were repeated so much that I picked up on them after a few chapters and English isn’t even my first language… The book is called The Rush’s Edge, I usually like when authors make references to the title of their books in their stories. However, the references to the title were so obvious that it became annoying. I did a quick word search in the eARC I read and, here are some stats: “Rush” was used 50 times “Edge” was mentioned 63 times “OK” was used 203 times mostly in sentences such as “Are you OK?” “I’m OK” and “it’s OK” Mind you, the book could have gone through another round of edits before its release so, I might be overly picky for nothing. However, it annoyed me enough that I thought it was important to mention. As for the characters and the plot well, they weren’t bad but they weren’t particularly good either. The relationships between the characters were very surface-level. Tyce and Hal are supposed to have an amazing bromance but I didn’t believe in it. The same goes for the romance between Hal and Vivi. I didn’t care for the major insta-love between them. Yes, you can have immediate attraction to someone but, the instant feelings and the over-protectiveness of the male character towards Vivi were unsettling (if not completely creepy). The argument that he is an ex-soldier engineered to protect his crew no matter what could be made but, it still didn’t sit right with me. I also really, really didn’t like the fact that Vivi kept on justifying Hal’s violent behaviors as “he would never hurt me, I trust him, he can be violent to other people but he would never hurt me”. I know this is fiction but I don’t want to read about a romantic people between someone with violent tendencies who is also over-bearing to his partner. If you are looking for a very straightforward science fiction adventure that you can read with your brain cells turned off, you will probably enjoy it. However, if you are looking for an original story with interesting and complex characters, I wouldn’t recommend The Rush’s Edge. It’s a debut so I hope Ginger Smith’s writing will improve in her next works. ⭐⭐ I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own. My thanks to Angry Robot for providing me with a review copy.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Hill

    ‘The Rush’s Edge tells the story of Hal and his friends who are fighting for freedom against the ACAS who are now after them. Hal is an ex-VAT and is looking for a place to belong, but all the VATs know is how to fight. Brought up to fight for the ACAS, he now has to fight against those trained him and will stop at nothing to stop them from getting their freedom. ‘The Rush’s Edge’ is full of complex characters with some great storylines, character development and plenty of sci-fi action and a litt ‘The Rush’s Edge tells the story of Hal and his friends who are fighting for freedom against the ACAS who are now after them. Hal is an ex-VAT and is looking for a place to belong, but all the VATs know is how to fight. Brought up to fight for the ACAS, he now has to fight against those trained him and will stop at nothing to stop them from getting their freedom. ‘The Rush’s Edge’ is full of complex characters with some great storylines, character development and plenty of sci-fi action and a little bit of romance to whet your appetite. I’ve only read a handful of sci-fi novels in the past and I thoroughly enjoyed this one, it was well-paced and well-written and found myself invested in the characters and seeing where they go next. I loved the world that the author has also created. This is great for fans of ‘Akira’. If you’re like me and haven’t read many sci-fi novels, I’d highly recommend this one to start with. I’m looking forward to seeing more in this world that that the author has built and can’t wait to find out more as to what happens next.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Angela Yearty

    This is an excellent book for readers of any genre. There is a great combination of sci-fi, action, and drama. The Rush's Edge has well developed characters. It shows how nats (human-born individuals) and vats (genetically-engineered soldiers) can become friends despite all odds. Ty and Hal have a very strong bond and sense of brotherhood that any soldier can respect. The relationship between Vivi and Hal grows over time. Trust is an important aspect of the relationships of all the crew members. This is an excellent book for readers of any genre. There is a great combination of sci-fi, action, and drama. The Rush's Edge has well developed characters. It shows how nats (human-born individuals) and vats (genetically-engineered soldiers) can become friends despite all odds. Ty and Hal have a very strong bond and sense of brotherhood that any soldier can respect. The relationship between Vivi and Hal grows over time. Trust is an important aspect of the relationships of all the crew members. Readers can truly visualize each character as they come to life. Ty, Hal, and Vivi encounter both friends and foes through their explorations and battles. The group learns to work with other forces to fight against common enemies. The story shows the struggles which Hal faces as a vat and soldier. I look forward to continuing on the journey with Ty, Hal, Vivi, and Beryl.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Alhalwachi

    I was so excited to get this book and I completely forgot to do some inspectional reading before ordering it. The story has a good premise but the narration style is dry and feels ham-fisted. I found the characters boring, which is a shame because there's so much potential in developing them throughout the story. We keep hearing the same thing over and over about Hal's fights and anger issues. His love for Vivi is kinda cheesy and too predictable. There's a lot of potential in developing Vivi's c I was so excited to get this book and I completely forgot to do some inspectional reading before ordering it. The story has a good premise but the narration style is dry and feels ham-fisted. I found the characters boring, which is a shame because there's so much potential in developing them throughout the story. We keep hearing the same thing over and over about Hal's fights and anger issues. His love for Vivi is kinda cheesy and too predictable. There's a lot of potential in developing Vivi's character too. I wanted a better protagonist and was hoping to learn more about her but Vivi's character is quite superficial like the others in the story. I Wasn’t sure whether Ty and Tyce were 1 or 2 different characters. Halvor and Hal confused me too but they're obviously the same person. Overall the story is slow and boring, I had to stop investing my time in this book.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Annarella

    I hope to read other books by this author because she delivers a gripping, interesting and highly entertaining story. I loved how her storytelling and how she take cares about the human side of the story. The plot is well developed and tightly knitted, the world building interesting. Strongly recommended. Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine

  25. 4 out of 5

    Zoe L.

    It’s space time! And what The Rush’s Edge does that I feel a lot of other sci-fi books is that it actually has A LOT of character development! And I feel like that’s where I always struggle to become invested with sci-fi books since they’re often all action and not much else. But this one actually gave me some depth and I loved having the chance to learn all about this misfit gang! And I mean, how much of a space opera would it be if our story didn’t revolve around a ragtag gang of misfits going It’s space time! And what The Rush’s Edge does that I feel a lot of other sci-fi books is that it actually has A LOT of character development! And I feel like that’s where I always struggle to become invested with sci-fi books since they’re often all action and not much else. But this one actually gave me some depth and I loved having the chance to learn all about this misfit gang! And I mean, how much of a space opera would it be if our story didn’t revolve around a ragtag gang of misfits going against the grain. And while we got a lot of character development like I mentioned, there was still PLENTY of action! It was that harmonious blend between the two that made this such an interesting read. And while this book was set in space there were still those social issues present that we deal with and see on a regular basis. And seeing this team struggle with having everything they thought they knew turned on its head gave such an interesting plot! You can tell that Smith has a lot of knowledge and love for science fiction because all of that went into this book. And I think that’s why I found this one so enjoyable, I could see how much thought and effort went into weaving this expertly crafter story. And I really look forward to seeing where Smith goes from here! You can view my full review on my blog! I also post about a lot of different types of books! Reader | Bookstagrammer | Blogger | Reviewer @ya.its.lit - https://www.instagram.com/ya.its.lit/ Blog - https://yaitslitblog.wordpress.com/

  26. 4 out of 5

    Mackenzie (bookish_black_hole)

    4.5 - check out colourmeread.com for my review!! :)

  27. 5 out of 5

    David Hall

    What fantastic story! Rich characters that I really became attached to in a very imersive setting. I really enjoyed it and hope the story continues!!!!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Roh

    Really good book.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Debbie

    I’ve always found it difficult to review debut novels due to their very nature. A debut novel is the first glimpse we have of a new author in what is - usually - an unpolished work. I find it incredibly difficult to review any book because it takes skill and patience that I will never hope to achieve in my life time. Authors pour their heart and soul into each work, and while reading is an entirely subjective activity, when it comes to reviewing, the reader is judging a work of personal art. Rea I’ve always found it difficult to review debut novels due to their very nature. A debut novel is the first glimpse we have of a new author in what is - usually - an unpolished work. I find it incredibly difficult to review any book because it takes skill and patience that I will never hope to achieve in my life time. Authors pour their heart and soul into each work, and while reading is an entirely subjective activity, when it comes to reviewing, the reader is judging a work of personal art. Reading The Rush's Edge, I was reminded why debuts are often regarded as either an author’s greatest work or the initiation of the cultivation of a writer’s skill. I enjoyed The Rush's Edge, but it was evident this was the author’s first published novel and might have required a bit more editing before release - that said, while the character development was rough around the edges; the story at the core was interesting, complex and inspiring enough that continuing with the series is worth the time. In a universe many years after humans went to war with an alien race, a group of salvagers travel back and forth from the Edge, a section of space where wrecks of that war rest. Hal and Tyce make a decent living running salvage jobs and the occasional black market deal. Plus, it keeps Tyce, a genetically altered and vat grown super soldier, from getting into trouble. On a meet to obtain coordinates for a new, and potentially lucrative salvage job, Hal and Tyce rescue a young woman. Drugged and almost kidnapped by two assailants, Vivian decides to temporarily join Hal and Tyce's crew. The crew is plunged into a mystery that spans the galaxy and unveil dark secrets that will destroy the world they know. Unable to discern who to trust, the only people in the entire universe they can trust is each other and only they can decide which side of the upcoming war they will join before it's too late. As a debut novel, The Rush's Edge delivers a tantalizing peek at an author who is very talented and I can see becoming popular in the romance market with some experience. The majority of my issues with The Rush's Edge were directly linked to character reactions to stressful situations. Eg: Vivian just accepting she was being kidnapped into outer space by literal strangers after being drugged - two male strangers. Is stranger danger not a thing in the future? When I read the synopsis for The Rush's Edge, I was given the impression of a story filled action and intrigue in space with a spice of romance to added for extra flavour, but the actual events of the novel in the beginning were tepid, some of the characters backstories needed some development and many of the motivations for certain character's choices needed to be further fleshed out. That said this is book one of a series, so perhaps Mrs Smith intends to continue to build our characters backstories as the series progresses. I was expecting a fun sci-fi (think Killjoys TV show) and less romance when I requested an ARC of The Rush's Edge, so I was mildly disappointed to realize half of the novel was centered around romance. It wasn't a deal breaker, but still.. I also expected Vivian to be a strong female character, but I was underwhelmed by her choices and her victim complex..I don't want to say more and spoil the story - but Vivian was my least favourite character and felt like she could have been so much more. Also, if a guy hits you and you leave, only to date another guy who's evidently just as violent? I think you need to take some time away from dating. Maybe its a personal opinion but, like..isn't that considered unhealthy? Things get real interesting in the last half of The Rush's Edge. The crew has been settled into a sort of space faring family with serious problems - seriously interesting problems, that is! What can I say? I loved how Ginger Smith ended The Rush's Edge. After a very rocky beginning (I almost DNF a few times), The Rush's Edge really took off in the second half with an interesting mystery (corporations! evil humans! rebels! aliens!), some really witty remarks, plenty of action and the sort of climatic ending that requires one to read book two which promises to be less romance and be more of a thriller-mystery combo in SPACE! So, for all the problems I had with The Rush's Edge, I thoroughly enjoyed it. All in all, I am anxiously awaiting book two and can't wait to revisit my new favourite crew! Received via Angry Robot and Edelweiss in exchange for an completely unbiased review. Also posted on Silk & Serif

  30. 4 out of 5

    Will

    3.2 / 5 ✪ https://arefugefromlife.wordpress.com... Halvor Cullen was not born but made—grown in a tank until the age of twelve, then trained to fight and kill and die for those that made him, the ACAS. After his seven years of mandatory military service, Hal washed out, as all VATs do. For there he was expected to continue fighting and kill up until he bit it, while trying to fill the void within, mostly with drugs. Instead Hal joined up with his old CO, taking off to salvage the edge of the galax 3.2 / 5 ✪ https://arefugefromlife.wordpress.com... Halvor Cullen was not born but made—grown in a tank until the age of twelve, then trained to fight and kill and die for those that made him, the ACAS. After his seven years of mandatory military service, Hal washed out, as all VATs do. For there he was expected to continue fighting and kill up until he bit it, while trying to fill the void within, mostly with drugs. Instead Hal joined up with his old CO, taking off to salvage the edge of the galaxy for advanced tech. During one of his layovers in central space, Hal meets Vivian Valjean, a tecker trying to escape her old life and her old mistakes—most recently a man named Noah. Through a series of circumstances, Vivi ends up accompanying the crew on a mission—and the rest is history. But between the discovery of an alien sphere, trouble with the ACAS, and a deadly assassin, possibly the most interesting development is between Hal and Vivi. For what happens when a natural born human and a VAT super-soldier fall in love? I guess we’ll find out—that is, if either of them live long enough. The Rush’s Edge is the debut novel from author Ginger Smith, part science fiction, part romance with action, adventure, space opera, and cyberpunk elements all thrown in. If this sounds like a lot—that’s because it is. If it sounds too good to be true—again, yeah. The Rush’s Edge tries too hard to be too much, and ultimately topples beneath its own grand desire. My main problem with the Rush’s Edge, was how it was sold to me. I was sold an epic space adventure with “a little bit of romance, a smudge of aliens, and a whole lot of butt-kicking”. And to be fair—we got all of that. What I expected though, was a complete story. And didn’t necessarily get this. The Rush’s Edge IS a complete story in the way that The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet is a complete story. Just where the latter tells you up front that this is a tale of how people become a family with some space-exploration-y elements, the former kinda makes you find that out on your own. Now, if I’d been sold “it’s basically like the Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet”, that’d’ve been great! While Becky Chamber’s first book wasn’t a masterpiece, it was quite a good read. But between wondering if it was setting me up for a sequel or cliffhanger and then reaching the end with none of these questions actually answered… the Rush’s Edge didn’t captivate me in quite the same manner. The conclusion also drew on quite a few overused clichés, which I really would’ve ditched. And I DO understand that when you’re writing something and decide to throw in a few classic plot twists you never want to think they’re cliché. But sometimes they are. Instead I would’ve liked to see the author try something different—maybe it’d work, maybe it wouldn’t—because, as they say, “nothing ventured, nothing gained” or “you’ll never succeed if you don’t try”. The POV can change from paragraph to paragraph, so sometimes it’s difficult to tell who is talking/thinking, unless it’s explicitly mentioned. While this does allow the author to include several characters’ perspectives on any situation at almost any time (so long as they’re present), I’ve always found it incredibly frustrating to switch back and forward without knowing exactly when. It’s really kinda science light fiction. There’re spaceships, yes, but there’s no explanation on how they travel between the stars. Do they use a hyperdrive? Faster than light travel? Wormholes? Instant transmission? We don’t know—it’s not explained, or mentioned. They just leave and… then they’re somewhere else. It must be some kinda faster than light travel, but we’re not told, which is a disappointment. While I realize not every science fiction tale is heavy science, I would’ve liked to see more—but I’m like that in my tastes. Even if the action falls a bit flat, it’s the story that steals the show—specifically the romance between Hal and Vivi. One a natural born human, the other a vat grown super-solider; while it sounds kinda silly, it’s difficult to put into words just how much it’ll pull at your heartstrings. My main problem with the romance is that I don’t really read a book specifically FOR the romance, so when it’s the most entertaining element, there’s probably some things wrong. That being said (again), if this had been pitched as a becoming-a-family, Wayfarers-type story: I’m pretty sure I’d’ve been sold. Just leave off the (and I can’t believe I’m saying this) action-elements, the fights, the mysterious conflicts and battles that I can’t get into without spoilers. The alien presence can stay as it (minor spoilers) isn’t really the focus of the story. The romance isn’t really all that romance-y, even. It’s a bit as if the author didn’t want to sell out on romance, but then sold out on action instead. So now there’s not even enough of a romantic element to carry the story entirely on its own. While overall I enjoyed the Rush’s Edge, there were definitely some issues with it. But it WAS a debut after all, so some of these an be forgiven. If I was to offer the author some advice: leave off on some of the overused tropes—they don’t add anything. Tell your own story—if it’s a thriller, then go action; if it’s a romance, then go romance. The Rush’s Edge is like a romance that tries to go all in on action—and just fails. TL;DR The Rush’s Edge is a debut that blends science fiction with romance, attempting to weave the tale of an unlikely romance between a natural born victimized woman and a vat grown super-soldier. It reads kind of like a Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet—where it’s more about the voyage than the destination, how the ending doesn’t matter as much as how we got there, and the ideals of family, love, and hope steal the show. As a heartwarming romance, it kinda works. As an action-adventure, it doesn’t. The action is overused and the adventure is incomplete. The science fiction is mostly fiction, with just the occasional science cameo. For a debut—it’s okay. Tries too hard to be too many things, play too many hands. Uses far too many cliché tropes. But these are to be expected. I just wish they weren’t.

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