Edge of Nowhere, by Felicia Davin

21 Jan
Cover for Edge of Nowhere: over a field stars and cosmic dust, the Earth on space, the Sun just breaking on the horizon. In the forefield, a human shape made of clouds and gases and more stars.

This is one of the many books that have languished in the digital TBR for far too long. Back in November, I saw on twitter that all three titles in the series were on sale, so I snapped the next two, and then finally read this one. And now, dear readers, you get to see what I thought about it.

Reader, beware: please note that there is graphic sex on the page between two consenting adult men, as well as references to past abuse in one of the characters’ childhood. There’s also some unethical experimentation that includes starvation, and a scene of accidental chemically induced high that almost leads to sex. (The author has a content guidance note here, below the book blurb.)

For romance readers: this story ends with a very hopeful HFN.

Edge of Nowhere, by Felicia Davin

This is the first book of the Nowhere trilogy, set sometime in an alternate future, and based on a cool conceit for teleportation and space travel: using the space between dimensions (Nowhere) to move seamlessly between known locations.

Of course, there’s a catch: only some people, who have the innate ability to do so, can travel through the Nowhere at will. And because humans, everyone else who can’t, doesn’t trust them. Add a billionaire with an unhealthy interest in those who can (the runners), a few intense scientists (some of whom have barely a passing acquaintance with the concept of ‘ethics’), and things get interesting in a hurry.

Here, have a blurb:

Kit Jackson has two talents in life. He can navigate the void known as the Nowhere to teleport himself across long distances and he can keep his mouth shut. These talents have earned him a reputation as a discreet, reliable Nowhere runner—he’ll smuggle anything for the right price—and that’s how Kit likes it. Morals don’t earn money, and neither do friends. When the private research firm Quint Services makes Kit an astounding offer for a mystery delivery, he says yes.

The parcel turns out to be an unconscious man, and even for Kit, that raises questions. When something monstrous attacks them in the Nowhere and throws them into an unknown wilderness, Kit and this stranger, a man named Emil, have to rely on each other. Kit just wants to make his delivery and get paid, but he finds himself increasingly entangled in Quint Services’ dangerous research—and his own attraction to Emil.

Emil Singh left his career in the Orbit Guard to work at Quint Services Facility 17, a base hidden in an asteroid, to prepare a team to cross the Nowhere into other worlds. It’s the chance of a lifetime and he can’t wait to explore the universe. But then Emil witnesses a terrible accident in a Facility 17 lab and gets sent to Earth for questioning. Something isn’t right, but before Emil can investigate, he and the Nowhere runner hired to transport him are knocked off course. Is the monster that attacks them a creation of Quint Services? What else is the corporation hiding? He has to get back to Facility 17 to protect his team and he needs Kit’s help. Can he trust the cynical young smuggler?

Most of the action happens in Facility 17–which happens to be orbiting the Moon. There’s a small group of people working there; aside from Emil’s six person team, there are three scientists (physicists and geneticists and so on), half a dozen other medical personnel, and freaky happenings.

It has been a while since I’ve read any ~hard~ science fiction, and what I know of physics was outdated when I had to take those classes, so all I can say about the science-y bits here is that they are internally consistent, so that the actions of the people in the story also make sense and are consistent with reasonably intelligent people reacting as best they can to what is happening around them.

The writing is so engaging, and the two main characters are just wonderful. Kit, working hard not to care about anyone or anything, and Emil, caring so much about so many people. The best part is that these two are opposites who are, in point of fact, very much not, in all the ways that matter; and when circumstances force them together, and all sorts of secrets come out and dangers come at them, their impulse to protect each other is both heartfelt and baffling–to themselves and the other.

Kit has found family with Zinnia “Zin” Jackson and her wife Louann, and is really tired of everyone else he’s ever cared for, leaving. Emil, who has a ‘traditional’, supposedly stable family, has found family with the team he selected to work in this project, and purpose in being their leader.

And while there’s quite a bit of space devoted to the evil corporation/freaky shit happening to the Nowhere plotline, the romance is well balanced, because we are in either of the two main characters’ point of view for all of the story. And man, they’re funny. Take this:

“This cave was a bargain-basement version of heaven, but he’d take what he could get.” Or “Whatever was ailing Emil seemed to have broken his sarcasm detector.” (Kit, upon finding himself being rescued)

We get to know the other characters through the protagonists’ impressions of them. Emil knows his team quite well well, and most of the others through frequent interactions over the course of months, so he’ll notice little things that don’t fit with what he knows. Often, we’ll have Kit’s take on the same people as someone who just met them, but who also depends on reading people well and quickly as a basic survival skill.

This is a great way to keep the story moving while also making all those other people in the story feel real and three-dimensional, with their own motivations and emotional baggage. I know there are only three books in this series, and I know who of this cast of characters are the couples in the other two, but I sincerely hope that we get to see how a few other people here fare ::cough pair up cough::

And speaking of other people, this is a very realistic world in its composition. We have people of all sorts of ethnicities, religions, sexual orientation and gender, and the acceptance by those around them of who they are. Racism, bigotry, classism, etc., are acknowledged as shitty things that happen, but not amongst good, decent, kind people, and this is done in such a low-key, “that’s how it should be” way, that it’s lovely to read.

The romance is soft and lovely, the obstacles between our heroes being mostly that they don’t know each other yet, and that, despite being very attracted to each other, there’s a lot behind the faces each present to the world. I’m confident that, as they grow to know each other, these two will choose to stay together.

At the top, I mentioned that Edge of Nowhere ends in a hopeful HFN, as opposed to a HEA 1, and honestly that is more believable for me than solemn oaths of forever, because the story is just over 275 pages long, spanning about a week, and that’s barely time to start a relationship, no matter how smitten you are. As it is, this ending fits with the characters at this point in time, and within the overall story of Nowhere.

Mind you, the ending *is* abrupt, and while I was happy where Emil and Kit are when that last line rolls around, the story is very much not done. (Thankfully, the other two books are already available.)

Edge of Nowhere gets an 8.75 out of 10.

* * * *

1 They do declare their love for each other, but it’s a realistic “we’ve known each other for a week, during very intense circumstances” declaration–not less heartfelt for all that, just not an “’til death do us part” vow either.

8 Responses to “Edge of Nowhere, by Felicia Davin”

  1. willaful 21/01/2022 at 11:43 PM #

    That sounds sweet!

    • azteclady 21/01/2022 at 11:52 PM #

      It’s very sweet! The author says that the physics is “goofy”, but I love that it is internally consistent, and I really like the progress of the relationship, even if it’s just a bit fast, time frame-wise.

  2. willaful 03/06/2022 at 12:49 PM #

    Did you ever read the second book? I’m seriously struggling with it and about to DNF. 😦

    • azteclady 03/06/2022 at 1:57 PM #

      I have not finished it, but it’s not the book itself for me: I’ve been unable to read much for weeks!

      I believe I mentioned to you that I got stuck somewhere around the 25-30% mark of Out of Nowhere; I got past that, and it got better, but I have not finished it yet. (I’m hoping to do so over the weekend, aiming to post a review next week)

      • willaful 04/06/2022 at 1:18 AM #

        I’m halfway in and I’ve just been hating it. 😦 Maybe I’ll put it aside and try again later. My mood has not been great.

      • azteclady 04/06/2022 at 8:14 PM #

        I struggled to in between the 30% and the 40% points a lot; I really like the characters, but I was dreading the bleak moment that was being telegraphed too much, and the momentum of the story just wasn’t holding my (admittedly difficult to retain) interest.

        All this to say, if we both got bogged down at nearly the same spot, if may be not “just me” but an issue with the writing.

        Like I said, I hope to finish it tonight or tomorrow, and I’ll let you know how that goes.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Out of Nowhere, by Felicia Davin | Her Hands, My Hands - 22/06/2022

    […] second book in the Nowhere trilogy, Out of Nowhere ratchets up the tension from Edge of Nowhere. I confess, I stalled somewhere around the halfway mark, not opening the book again for weeks. […]

  2. Nowhere Else, by Felicia Davin | Her Hands, My Hands - 11/07/2022

    […] final book in the Nowhere trilogy takes us back to Facility 17, where the rest of the original cast of characters has been dealing with a post-Nowhere Solomon […]

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