Nyxia Unleashed by Scott Reintgen

nyxia unleashedNyxia Unleashed (The Nyxia Triad #2)
By Scott Reintgen
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers
ISBN: 9780399556838
Pages: 400
Genre: YA Science Fiction

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Getting to Eden brought Emmett and his crewmates one step closer to their promised fortune. But surviving Eden may be the biggest reward of all. Discover book two in the trilogy Marie Lu called, “a high-octance thriller.”

Emmett Atwater thought Babel’s game sounded easy. Get points. Get paid. Go home. But it didn’t take long for him to learn that Babel’s competition was full of broken promises, none darker or more damaging than the last one.

Now Emmett and the rest of the Genesis survivors must rally and forge their own path through a new world. Their mission from Babel is simple: extract nyxia, the most valuable material in the universe, and play nice with the indigenous Adamite population.

But Emmett and the others quickly realize they are caught between two powerful forces—Babel and the Adamites—with clashing desires. Will the Genesis team make it out alive before it’s too late?


My Thoughts

I am a huge fan of The Nyxia Triad. I was instantly drawn into the first book in the series Nyxia (review here) and hooked with the incredible cast and turn of events that Scott Reintgen has set in motion. I went into Nyxia Unleashed with some very high demands. Fortunately, it met each of them with incredible ease.

The skinny..

The second book takes us to the planet “Eden” following the harrowing events surrounding Emmett and the Genesis survivors. Here the crew must come together and learn to thrive in this new and dangerous environment. Their job is to mine Nyxia for Babel, maintain peace with the “Adamites”, get paid and return home. But with Babel having proven they are not to be trusted and clearly having ulterior motives, it soon becomes obvious that the stakes are much higher. Babel and the “Adamites” are headed on a deadly path of collision. Now the Genesis survivors will need to stay together if they hope to ever make it home.

“I thought you were just another broken boy we needed to look after. But you’re not. You’re a weapon. Babel put you through the fire and you survived.”

What I appreciated..

  • Scott Reintgen takes the incredible world he has constructed and expands it to impressive heights, offering an in-depth exploration of a new planet and alien life.
  • Character development is a rewarding process that feels further enhanced by the extreme circumstances we find the cast facing. They are diverse, beautiful and viable. From dialog to actions, reactions and emotions, Emmett and the Genesis survivors feel authentic and well researched. And the relationships evolve appropriately and accordingly. The characters are my favorite aspect of The Nyxia Triad.
  • The already fast-paced storyline kicks up another notch with a set of unpredictable events that turn each page with a welcomed ease that I am beginning to expect from Reintgen and his writing. This book felt like it read itself.
  • For all of the sci-fi action and adventure to be found within, we still discover powerful themes that tackle socioeconomic diversity and discrimination, the importance of love and loyalty and facing adversity head-on.

“There’s a difference between pretending to be tough and ignoring the truth, though. Pops has always told me ignorance is the most dangerous thing in the world. Fools, he used to say, will ignore whispers until they become shouts.”

Challenges some may encounter..

  • The Adamites feel almost too human at times and leave some elements feeling slightly less credible.
  • Themes of loss and grief, with violence and death are present but never gratuitous. Please feel free to message me if you are planning to read the book but have concerns.

Nyxia Unleashed accomplished what few successors do and improved on an already fantastic story, adding new depth and complexity. It delivers a surprising amount of heart at its core and explores some incredibly powerful themes. Reintgen is becoming a household name here and for good reason.

*I received an advanced copy from the author as part of a giveaway. The quotes included above are from the advanced copy and subject to change. This review is my own, unbiased and honest opinion.

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Pairs well with your favorite black tea and a splash of lemon for a twist!

Grab a Copy: Amazon.com Book Depository

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Happy Reading,

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One of Us by Craig Dilouie

one of usOne of Us
By Craig Dilouie
Publisher: Orbit
ISBN: 9780316411318
Pages: 390 (per review copy)
Genre: Science Fiction

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They call him Dog.

Enoch is a teenage boy growing up in a rundown orphanage in Georgia during the 1980s. Abandoned from the moment they were born, Enoch and his friends are different. People in the nearby town whisper that the children from the orphanage are monsters.

The orphanage is not a happy home. Brutal teachers, farm labor, and communal living in a crumbling plantation house are Enoch’s standard day to day. But he dreams of growing up to live among the normals as a respected man. He believes in a world less cruel, one where he can be loved.

One night, Enoch and his friends share a campfire with a group of normal kids. As mutual fears subside, friendships form, and living together doesn’t seem so out of reach.

But then a body is found, and it may be the spark that ignites revolution.


My Thoughts

One of Us offers readers an alternate reality that unfolds in Georgia, 1984. Most of the world is much like you may remember or have heard of, however, a sexually transmitted disease has caused mutations in many unborn children. These children have been cast out by society, deemed inhuman and sent at birth to live in homes where they are raised under harsh conditions and used as labor on local farms. They are monsters.

But Enoch, also known as Dog, dreams of a better life. One where the children will live in society among the normals and grow to earn respected jobs and possibly even love one day. When Enoch and his friends have a chance encounter with the local normal kids and a friendship begins to develop, this life feels even closer than he had hoped.

Then a body is discovered and a grisly accident occurs and the town is looking for someone to blame. What unfolds could very well be the events that begin a revolution. Will Enoch and his friends find their rightful place among mankind or will they claim it?

“Enoch was the name the teachers at the Home used. Brain said it was his slave name. Dog liked hearing it, though. He felt lucky to have one. His mama loved him enough to at least do that for him.”

One of Us is not a fun or easy ready. At times, I found myself taking small breaks to digest what was happening and to even recover from a few graphic moments. I am not quite sure what I had in mind when I picked it up, but I think it was something along the lines of a light, fast-paced science fiction story with a few memorable characters at best. What I received was a heavier, unexpected exploration of humanity that tackled themes of discrimination, hate, and intolerance in the most unlikely but ultimately rewarding manner.

Dilouie crafts a world and cast that perhaps rely on their own familiarities for their true success. Once we strip away the mutation, we are left with a setting and group of characters we can relate to with incredible ease. Enoch and his friends are just teenagers trying to find a small slice of happiness in a life that has dealt them a shit hand. It is 1984 and prejudices and bigotry are common problems in many towns, and here is no exception. The mutation is simply another example, albeit a very extreme one. The fact that One of Us utilizes children to deliver its theme cleverly amplifies it.

“Again, my goal for you kids this year is two things. One is to get used to the plague kids. Distinguishing between a book and its cover. The other is to learn how to avoid making more of them.”

A tale of caution, One of Us exposes us to the real horrors and challenges us to face actual monsters in the form of intolerance and hate. Dilouie offers something truly unexpected, a cleverly written, beautifully executed story with an unbelievable amount of heart masquerading as your typical science fiction but ultimately proving to be something much greater.

Contains graphic, violent & sexual content with a heavy theme of intolerance and hate.

*I would like to thank Orbit for this advanced copy. The quotes included above are from the advanced copy and subject to change. This review is my own, unbiased and honest opinion.

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Serves well with earthy blends such as your favorite pu-erh.

Grab a Copy: Amazon.com Amazon UK

*Disclosure: I use affiliate links and may earn a small commission for purchases made through them. Click here for details.

Happy Reading,

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Suicide Club by Rachel Heng

Suicide_Club_October_17_EDIT_NEW_3.inddSuicide Club
By Rachel Heng
Available 7/10/18
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
ISBN: 9781250185341
Pages: 352
Genre: Sci-Fi/Speculative Fiction/Dystopian

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In this debut set in near future NYC—where lives last 300 years and the pursuit of immortality is all-consuming—Lea must choose between her estranged father and her chance to live forever.

Lea Kirino is a “Lifer,” which means that a roll of the genetic dice has given her the potential to live forever—if she does everything right. And Lea is an overachiever. She’s a successful trader on the New York exchange—where instead of stocks, human organs are now bought and sold—she has a beautiful apartment, and a fiancé who rivals her in genetic perfection. And with the right balance of HealthTech™, rigorous juicing, and low-impact exercise, she might never die.

But Lea’s perfect life is turned upside down when she spots her estranged father on a crowded sidewalk. His return marks the beginning of her downfall as she is drawn into his mysterious world of the Suicide Club, a network of powerful individuals and rebels who reject society’s pursuit of immortality, and instead chose to live—and die—on their own terms. In this future world, death is not only taboo; it’s also highly illegal. Soon Lea is forced to choose between a sanitized immortal existence and a short, bittersweet time with a man she has never really known, but who is the only family she has left in the world.


My Thoughts

Suicide Club is a beautifully crafted tale that rings of a convincing familiarity. It was my cup of tea served with an alarming wake-up call, and I devoured every page of it. However, I will note that I did not find myself comparing this to the work of Atwood nor would I. Too often we attempt to lump female speculative fiction and dystopian writers into a specific category with Atwood and it is not always appropriate, as the themes and political aspects vary greatly. If I were asked to make a comparison, I would be more inclined to say that perhaps this is reminiscent of what Huxley’s Brave New World was addressing.

The skinny..

In a world where the population is declining, death is illegal, and advanced technology has made the possibility of immortality more than a mere dream, Lea Kirino has it all. She has lived her life right. She has achieved career success, a gorgeous apartment and fiancé, and incorporated the perfect balance of a healthy lifestyle and HealthTech™ into her daily routine to obtain the desired social status. She is a “Lifer”.

But when her estranged father who refused to live by society’s laws resurfaces in Lea’s life, everything she has worked hard to achieve is suddenly at risk. Drawn back into his life, she finds herself at the center of an underground network where members of the Suicide Club refuse to conform and accept immortality. They are choosing to live and die under their own conditions. Now Lea will have to make a choice of her own, between the highly successful and “perfect” life she has strived to achieve and one that includes the only family she has left.

“Time was measured in the beating of her mother’s mechanical heart. Thud, thud, thud. Space, in the number of steps taken to cross the room to retrieve the dried meals that arrived at regular intervals.”

What I appreciated..

  • Rachel Heng’s sophisticated prose crafts a hauntingly plausible story that hard to imagine as her first.
  • The New York setting remains ever so distance yet frightening familiar and close to the present.
  • Lea is relatable in her reluctance and fear to sacrifice or lose all that she has worked to obtain, the only life she has known. Her internal conflicts and challenges add an air of credibility that is easy to appreciate.
  • The author provides readers with brief, subtle explanations at times while avoiding unnecessary spoon-feeding or information dumps. This allows the reader a very fluid and immersive experience that transitions beautifully between the alternating perspectives.
  • Rachel Heng elegantly tackles the questions of just how much we value youth, beauty, and life as a society. More importantly, immortality and the costs that accompany it.
  • The ending was poetic and gratifying. Very rarely do I feel as much closure with a conclusion as Heng has offered her readers here.

“Something has to change. In being robbed of our deaths, we are robbed of our lives.”

Challenges some may encounter..

  • I felt that the actual Suicide Club was under-explored and could have added more depth to the prevalent themes within the story.
  • This book addresses heavier elements of death, suicide and human rights that may not be appropriate for all readers.

While we are given small inclinations to the political atmosphere, Suicide Club presents more as philosophical dystopian, addressing the value of life and questioning the priorities of our societies. Rachel Heng challenges current trends and dares to question the true value of life through a bold and thought-provoking character exploration that is poetic and unsettling at its core.

*I would like to thank Henry Holt and Co. & Netgalley for this advanced copy. The quotes included above are from the advanced copy and subject to change. This review is my own, unbiased and honest opinion.

tea cup

 

Serve with a large warm cup of medium-bodied Darjeeling tea.

Grab a Copy: Amazon.com Book Depository

*Disclosure: I use affiliate links and may earn a small commission for purchases made through them. Click here for details.

Happy Reading,

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