Publisher:Crown Books for Young Readers
Release Date:September 12, 2017
Stance:First in a Trilogy (bless)
Synopsis by GR:
“Emmett Atwater isn’t just leaving Detroit; he’s leaving Earth. Why the Babel Corporation recruited him is a mystery, but the number of zeroes on their contract has him boarding their lightship and hoping to return to Earth with enough money to take care of his family.
Before long, Emmett discovers that he is one of ten recruits, all of whom have troubled pasts and are a long way from home. Now each recruit must earn the right to travel down to the planet of Eden–a planet that Babel has kept hidden–where they will mine a substance called Nyxia that has quietly become the most valuable material in the universe.
But Babel’s ship is full of secrets. And Emmett will face the ultimate choice: win the fortune at any cost, or find a way to fight that won’t forever compromise what it means to be human.”
Writing this review, even thinking of things to say has been so difficult, which I usually find is the case when I’m reviewing.
First, I’d like to take y’all on a journey.
I don’t know when I found Nyxia, I think I was browsing through GR like one does when I saw it. Now, that cover and that title are just amazing. The title screams sci-fi or fantasy and that cover, that’s a secretly badass cover that lets you know shit is going to go down in the book.
So, I acquired the book. I read the book. Now, I’m IN LOVE with this book. In my humble opinion, this synopsis doesn’t do it just because it is so much more hardcore than it lets on.
Each recruit has to “earn the right” to go down to Eden but this right is gained through a series of test. A good portion of the book is the recruits training as hard as they can, physically (which the book features more heavily on) and mentally to earn their way down.
Listen, the training they go through is absolutely fucking brutal. The entire story I sat there thinking “holy shit, it’s a good thing they nabbed kids with motivation cause I would’ve peaced out day one.” Level of difficulty.
I really enjoyed that just because of how intense it could get. A lot of the book was focused on this competition and what these kids who came from awful background could gain and the tension was constantly there that only so many of them that could go to Eden but they were so similar and virtually all that one another had.
Throughout the book, these characters are toeing this extremely fine line of friendship and an understanding that if their friend gets what they want they might get it and how to cope with that.
Honestly, in the character department, this book is a fucking gold mine.
Even though it’s a first person narrator (Emmett) the longing and desperation of these characters to win but not lose themselves, is clear. It’s shown that they all want this badly for their own reasons, that they care about more than just the potential prize.
It’s shown that they want to make friends and connections in all of the chaos that’s being thrown at them. That at least a few of them, even when times get extremely tough, can still remain friends through all of it.
They’re unique, they’re complicated, they’re all fighting for the same basic goals and yet fighting for so much more than what Babel throws at them.
Another thing I adored about these characters is they’re diverse.
They didn’t just pluck kids out of poverty from the US which I feel like is sometimes an easy mistake sci-fi books will fall into. They’ll forget there are countries outside the US. If they don’t those countries are usually other rich countries like Western Europe of Australia.
This has characters from Kenya, Brazil, Japan, Palestine, and even fricking more.
And all of them are so vastly different, they aren’t all these hardcore, fight to the death poverty kids, they’re individuals, they’re unique and they’re written that way too, we aren’t just left to assume that they’re background are the only thing that makes them different. We get to see their strengths, their weakness, their hopes, and dreams. Characters outside the first person narrator and we see how Emmett connects and feels and responds both to and with all of them.
It is such a masterpiece.
Not to mention, again the actual story is killer in the best way. I said before that their training is brutal and it reads that way. On top of that, their entire time on that ship is so intense it has you on the edge of your seat turning the pages as quickly as you can read them. From the tension between the characters to not knowing what Babel is going to throw at them next, and more.
There is thrill and suspense like you would not believe, I think I lost a fair amount of oxygen to my brain because there were times I was too nervous to breathe for these characters.
I wanted to know who would go to Eden, I wanted to know what the hell Babel was up too because while you know they’re sketchy and not to be trusted you’re only given minor bread crumbs, if that, into what the hell these people are doing.
And hot damn, the twists in this book had me crying and dying because they came out of nowhere and hit like a stone. There were a few times I had to put down the book and take a breather because the twist hit so hard. I was somewhere between awe for how clever and well done that was and in pain because please just let these characters be happy?
Trust me, this story has so much to invest in it. The story line is just so damn addictive and while there are things you’re pretty prepared for like their tasks there are other aspects that will throw you for a loop (this loop is pleasant on the critical side and murders my reader side).
This story has friendship. Beautiful, complex friendships. Friendships that cross cultures, that aren’t destroyed by the god awful toxic masculinity of other stories. Friendship in the face of horror and competition and I adored it.
And with all of that, there are just so many questions of humanity. How far do you go to help yourself achieve a goal? What about when that goal isn’t just for your own good? How do you keep yourself human when an organization wants to take all of that away from you? When they do everything to turn you against the only other people you can connect with, the people who are like you, what do you do, where is the line?
Honestly, almost everything about this book is perfect. The only thing that sort of annoyed me was a little bit of romance but it took such a back seat to everything else and everything else was so good.
There are stories that need romance to keep you hooked. This book didn’t need romance. It’s plot and characters alone carried it above and beyond.
This book truly went above and beyond.
It is more amazing than I can put into words and honestly, even if you aren’t into sci-fi, I would check this out. It has little elements that feel almost fantasy-ish, relationships that feel contemporary or thriller-ish. It dabbles in a little bit of everything but not to the extent that you ever forget the true focus of this book.
And it is amazing.
I swear on my life this book is amazing and I will promote it until my dying breath.
If you want to know even more about this book you can check out my Twitter feed because I try to remind people of Nyxia’s brilliance at least once a day.
So, please. Check out this epic sci-fi adventure filled with friendship and mystique.
That’s all for this review, I hope I’ve swayed you in the way of buying this PERFECT book. Thank you for reading, let me know if you have any comments or questions below.
Check back soon for more posts!