Review: Escape from the Fringe by R. Collins

Rating: 3/5 stars – worth reading

As a young girl growing up on the edge of the galaxy in Station 222, Dai thought her entire life was decided for her. One day, her familiar world is turned upside down in an instant when a group of space pirates called the Jackals attack her beloved home, forcing everyone to evacuate the station. Dai finds herself stuck in a malfunctioning escape pod with Taksh Chan, a  kind but cryptic mining consultant. At first, their goal is only to escape the Fringe and reunite with Dai’s mother. But as Dai and Tak meet more people and explore different planets, they begin to realize that they’re unknowingly a part of something bigger…something they might not be able to run from at all. 

Escape from the Fringe by R. Collins is a colorful, fast-paced adventure filled with all kinds of fantastical places, planets, and people. There’s never a dull moment and the reader is constantly left guessing what’s going to happen next. With so many characters involved in the main cast, any reader can find someone to relate to or root for. 

Though many sci-fi novels can be difficult to read because of all the new and complicated terminology, Collins handles this well in her book by creating new vocabulary derived from everyday words. The writing style itself is simple and easy to read. With all of these aspects combined, the reader easily jumps from one planet to the next as they explore Collins’ wonderfully diverse universe. 

While the book is certainly action-packed, it does lack depth in its characters and plot. Dai and Tak don’t complete any internal journey throughout the events of the book, and even when they do take a step toward self-discovery, it’s told through narration rather than experienced through dialogue or actions. For example: 

“In some strange way, she loved the excitement, the intrigue, the sense that something new was around each corner. It was all exciting to her, and for some reason, she felt more at home running from attackers than she had on the Triple-Deuce.” 

This comes as a shock to the reader, who hasn’t been given any indication of Dai’s feelings when she’s actually in these harrowing situations. This pattern of “telling” and not “showing” the reader what’s going on remains consistent throughout the whole book. 

These factors coupled with a plot that’s a bit too complicated and not quite fleshed out enough make for a book that’s fun and engaging on the surface but incomplete underneath. Sci-fi readers who enjoy more fast-paced and plot-centered stories would enjoy what this book has to offer. 

Original review posted on Reedsy Discovery, where I was given an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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