Book Review: The Rush’s Edge by Ginger Smith | Sci-Fi Month 2020


Genre : Science fiction

Publisher : Angry Robot

Length : 328 pages

Format : eARC

Rating : 2 stars

Publication Date : November 10th 2020 


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-soldier, doesn’t see himself as a hero. After getting out of the service, all he’s interested in is chasing the adrenaline rush 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 be 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.

Then Hal’s ship gets a new crewmember – a hacker-turned-tecker named Vivi. As they become friends, Hal wonders if he’s got a chance with a natural-born like her. Then on a job, the crew finds a sphere that downloads an alien presence into their ship…

Multiple clashes with the military force Hal and his crew to choose sides. The battle they fight will determine the fate of vats and natural-borns throughout the galaxy. Will they join the movement against the Coalition? What has invaded their ship’s computer? And can there be a real future for a vat with an expiration date?


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.

Rating: 2 out of 5.
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.
Artwork by Tithi Luadthong from

21 thoughts on “Book Review: The Rush’s Edge by Ginger Smith | Sci-Fi Month 2020

  1. Well, this is the first negative review I’ve read for this book, which, it seems, is generating rave reviews. But I’m always suspect overly high praise for any book. So you’re probably more accurate in your analysis than most. I had been thinking about this one, but now, will give it a miss.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I usually doubt myself when I don’t enjoy a very hyped new release but it’s not the case with this one. 😅 It’s not the worst book I have ever read but I really don’t get the hype at all and when I read rave reviews of it, I feel like I’ve read a completely different book… 🤣


  2. I just finished reading this, and I’m afraid I have to agree with most of what you said. I was disappointed because I’ve seen quite a few rave reviews and this ended up being much different from what I expected.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I shouldn’t be happy that it didn’t work for you as well but I feel less alone now… 🤣 I had also only read great things about it before picking this book up so I was excited to read it but yeah, it wasn’t for me sadly. 😦 I’m looking forward to reading your review of it and compare notes!


  3. Sadly, I good premise is not always a guarantee for a good story: I’m struggling with a similar problem with another much-praised debut book, and I’m becoming ever more certain that it’s not going to agree with me…
    And I hear you about words too-often repeated: I remember reading a novel where the word “smirk” was repeated in an almost obsessive way, and it drove me mad! 😀
    Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. The one I’m struggling is Nophek Gloss: there is a LOT of promise there, but there is also a lot of information to parse and almost no time to do so. I set it aside for a while and plan to return to it hoping that a different mood will turn into a different reading experience…

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes the repetition was pretty annoying especially because I realized it was probably going to be an issue after less than 20 pages into the book… 🤣 If the plot or the characters had been a bit more interesting, I would have been a bit more forgiving but sadly, it wasn’t the case for me. :/
      Thankfully, I have enjoyed all of the other things I’ve read since! 😀

      Liked by 2 people

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