Nowhere Else, by Felicia Davin

11 Jul
Cover for NOWHERE ELSE; the silhouette of a male figure over a field of asteroids, with both the Moon and Earth in the background, and space dust swirling about. The silhouette is warm in warm tones, the background in cool greens.

After struggling to read past the oh, 60% mark on Out of Nowhere for a few weeks (not the book, it was ::gestures at the world:: me; I couldn’t read anything for weeks!), I finally got back to it, finished it in one sprint, then immediately started Nowhere Else, which I inhaled in one greedy gulp. It may well be my favorite of the trilogy, to be honest.

Reader beware: some swearing, sex on page between two adult men, one of whom is dealing with PTSD from recent trauma; both characters had difficult childhoods, for different reasons.

Nowhere Else, by Felicia Davin

The 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 Lange, as well as an increasingly unstable breach into the fabric of the universe.

It has not, to put it mildly, been pleasant for anyone.

Here’s the blurb:

Solomon Lange was a brilliant, ambitious physicist until a catastrophe in his lab trapped him in the void between worlds. Newly rescued but traumatized and uncontrollably telekinetic, Lange no longer feels at home in the world or in his body. All he wants is to return to the Nowhere.

But one crew member—the intolerable, imperturbable, incredibly patient, unbearably gentle Jacob McCreery—refuses to let him. Jake insists that Lange is the only one who can fix the damage in his lab, a breach to the Nowhere that’s simultaneously devouring and distorting the space around it. Left open, the growing breach threatens all of humanity. Jake’s not ready to give up on saving the world just yet—and he’s willing to dodge whatever Lange throws at him.

Working together brings Lange and Jake closer than they’ve ever allowed themselves to be with anyone else. Can two wounded, lonely people repair each other in time to repair the world?

It has been a few weeks now since Solomon Lange’s accident and things have just been getting increasingly weirder–for everyone. For one, he’s now an angry telekinetic who doesn’t know how to control either, and doesn’t much care to learn. The trauma of being trapped in the Nowhere has altered him beyond the telekinesis and the amnesia, and it’s difficult for him to accept that he needs time and space to heal, and that Jake’s presence, solid and generous, helps give him both.

Outwardly, these two are opposites. Where Lange is overeducated, mostly in physics, Jake is the kind of guy whose instinctive knowledge of how things work makes him the go-to Fix-It guy in the asteroid, and usually his size either invites challenges or makes people uneasy.

Of course, they are both more than first impressions.

Lange is overeducated, but a lot of the insufferable arrogance he had displayed pre-Nowhere turn out to be a defense mechanism, built over years of being the socially awkward yet incredibly smart kid who has been taken advantage of a few times too many, rather than an actual personality defect.

And while Jake may not have a an academic background, he’s intuitive about more than machinery and plumbing–even though he’s not really aware of how good he is at reading people. Okay, at reading Lange.

Jake’s backstory is more hinted at than gone over with any level of detail, but despite that trauma, he’s grown into a generous person. He doesn’t realize how much because he, too, is socially awkward. Jake is a loner within a close-knit group, which means there are few people in his life he knows well enough for that generosity to manifest.

Until Facility 17 and Dr Solomon Lange, pre-Nowhere, Jake had rarely initiated overtures of friendship. Then, soon after the first tentative moves, Lange got sucked into the Nowehere, and now that he’s lost his memory. it’s back to square one.

Except, not quite. Because Lange seems to be just a bit less angry with Jake than with the rest of the universe.

Despite the huge stakes–literally, the survival of the multiverse and everything in it–the story in Nowhere Else is intimate. We spend a lot of time in the heads of these two characters; the action in the story depends mostly on Lange being able (and willing) to repare the breach, and on Jake being there, willing and able to help Lange however it’s needed.

There is a lot of character growth, mostly on Lange’s part, in a relatively short period of time, but it’s handled really well. Consent is handled particularly well, and not just in a sexual context (see footnote 1); such as when Jake’s protectiveness of Lange gets just a bit out of bounds.

I mentioned before that Ms Davin does not dwell on specific details of Jake’s childhood, like she does with Lange; it’s not necessary. She has written them each as a fully functioning human being, with memories and trauma and skills and hearts. It’s lovely to see them come together in a way that’s new to both; for all that Solomon has had a lot more sexual experience than Jake, relationships are an entirely different thing.

I inhaled this book, and again just now writing this review. All the strengths in Ms Davin’s writing that drew me so easily into the world of the Nowhere are effortlessly evident in this novel.

I loved that we spend time with Emil, Kit, Lenny and the others at Facility 17 (see footnote 2), and was delighted at the solution to the breach problem.

Oh, and there are well-written cats in there too!

Yes, Nowhere Else is my favorite in the trilogy; 9.00 out of 10.

* * * *

1 Jake is demisexual; from what I know, I believe the representation here is solid.

2 I’d love to know if something ever develops between Lenny and Miriam–Ms Davin, if you ever see this, please please please.

7 Responses to “Nowhere Else, by Felicia Davin”

  1. willaful 11/07/2022 at 11:54 AM #

    Looking forward to this one when I have a spare moment. I’m in the middle of, oh, five or six books…

    • azteclady 11/07/2022 at 12:20 PM #

      Part of my joy in reading is the losing of self in the story; when no story grabs my attention, so I flit about between half a dozen like a drunk butterfly, I mostly enjoy none.

      And for the past several years, as most of my reading is re-reads, I mostly flit.

      I hate it.

      • willaful 11/07/2022 at 4:17 PM #

        I agree, it’s a destructive habit. I do try to read the fiction books one at a time, but sometimes I just have to flit for awhile before I get to that capture place.

      • azteclady 11/07/2022 at 4:49 PM #

        Yes, exactly this.

        My reading has changed some much since, oh, mid-2015 (wonder WHAT happened then…), not for the better.

        Mind you, I know there are people who can have a commute book, a bedside table book, an at-work book, and so on, and enjoy them all. And good for them, says I.

        I’ve just never been one of them.

    • Miss Bates 11/07/2022 at 1:35 PM #

      You beat me, I have four going, one in French.

  2. Lori 11/07/2022 at 1:41 PM #

    This is definitely intriguing. And your high rating means a lot.

    I’m in a reading slump too. Mostly all I can read are stories featuring women empowering themselves. Otherwise a few pages in and I’m back on Discovery + watching House Hunters and yelling at couples to compromise.

    • azteclady 11/07/2022 at 2:14 PM #

      Boy, I hear you. It’s been a struggle to read most anything. So when a story pulls me in like this, I’m grateful and appreciative as hell.

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