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Monday, December 17, 2018

A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe (The Salvagers, #1)A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe by Alex White
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

First, the fine and the good:

It reads like any number of treasure hunting (or salvaging) space opera tomes in that we're focused on an ensemble cast with quirks, heisty moments, and quite a few getaway chases. Lots of action and overall, I have nothing I want to complain about when it comes to this. I was thinking of the Italian Job at a few moments, and later of the ONE BIG SCORE kind of trope later on. Fun? Sure! Overall I'm a sucker for this kind of story. The underdogs get rich against all odds and baddies hot on their tail.

Okay, and then the bad. With one caveat. It may not annoy ANYONE other than me, but a future society hundreds of years in the future needs to have some kind of reason for switching from SF tech to Magic. There's spaceships, explosions, fast cars, AIs, and battlesuits. Instead of going along with the normal genre, the author or perhaps some pressure from an editor to get rid of all the "hard" techy bits just substituted any regular techy handwavium with Magic. Arcana, magic, and powered glyphs. Power your car, sick your mind magic on AI computers, hack with magic, shield your ship with magic, put people to SLEEP with magic.

I suppose it's too hard to rely on fuel, raw ability, intelligence, physics, or drugs.

I've read a lot of great magic mixed with high-tech societies, but the worldbuilding here is sub-par and reason-less. Even with the final reveal and the tragedy there (which was exciting) the rest of the magic system could have used a LOT of fleshing out. I invite him to read some Sanderson. :)

Otherwise, if I could only get over my fairly large gripe, the novel was entertaining enough. :)

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