A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe

Paperback, 473 pages

English language

Published May 12, 2018 by Orbit.

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3 stars (4 reviews)

Furious and fun, the first book in this bold, new science fiction adventure series follows a ragtag group of adventurers as they try to find a legendary ship that just might be the key to clearing their name and saving the universe.

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 got 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 Mother murder a fellow racer. Framed for the murder and on the hunt to clear her name, Nilah has only one lead: the killer also hunts Boots.

On the wrong side of the law, the two women board a …

2 editions

A weird mix of space opera and magic

3 stars

I wasn't sure what to expect, but the mix of classic space opera and magic was weird. There were fun moments, some action and a few relatable characters, but the worldbuilding was lacking (when you can't say for sure if a place is a planet or a city at the end of a book, maybe something is missing). Some characters were flat, and it also felt like there were discrepancies, notably with the vilain(s), their goal and motivation.

This space opera with magic was not magical for me.

3 stars

It's a solid enough adventure story, and queer positive (which maybe I've become a little blasé about, but could make it very affirming for the right young adult). On the other hand the world of Expanse + Spells didn't really grab me. Maybe that's just me, but I want to be lied to a little bit, and have your magic pretend to be weird science.

Light fantasy sci-fi

3 stars

It is fantasy in a sci-fi setting which I found was unusual and refreshing. I liked the diverse group of characters in a "found-family" kind of setting. I missed having more information about the villains, they seemed undeveloped. Some action scenes where magic, space battles or spacewalking were being described seemed a bit confusing to me, it was hard to understand exactly what was going on. It is a light read, with lots of action scenes and I tried not to overthink the magic to enjoy it. I don't think I will continue the series, but the book builds nicely for the sequel without ending in a cliffhanger.


  • Space ships
  • Smugglers
  • Adventure stories
  • Fiction