Blog Archives

The Fall of Koli (The Concluding Book in the Rampart Trilogy) by MR Carey – Blog Tour Book Review

Fall of Koli book cover image

About the Book

The Fall of Koli is the third and final novel in the breathtakingly original Rampart trilogy – set in a strange and deadly world of our own making.

The world that is lost will come back to haunt us . . .

Koli has come a long way since being exiled from his small village of Mythen Rood. In his search for the fabled tech of the old times, he knew he’d be battling strange, terrible beasts and trees that move as fast as whips. But he has already encountered so much more than he bargained for.

Now that Koli and his companions have found the source of the signal they’ve been following – the mysterious “Sword of Albion” – there is hope that their perilous journey will finally be worth something.

Until they unearth terrifying truths about an ancient war . . . and realise that it may have never ended.

About the Author

MR Carey has been making up stories for most of his life. His novel The Girl With All the Gifts was a word-of-mouth bestseller and is now a major motion picture based on his own screenplay. Under the name Mike Carey he has written for both DC and Marvel, including critically acclaimed runs of X-Men and Fantastic Four, Marvel’s flagship superhero titles. His creator-owned books regularly appear I’m the New York Times graphic fiction bestseller list. He also has several previous novels, two radio plays and a number of TV and movie screenplays to his credit.

What I Thought

I’ve been lucky enough to be part of the blog tour for this whole series so just in case you are nee to the series I’ll share the links to my thoughts on books 1 & 2 here.

Book 1 – The Book of Koli

Book 2 – The Trials of Koli

Book 3 – The Fall of Koli

Once again the story picks up exactly where it left off in book two, albeit with a little preamble from Koli first.

“Why does the world think boys can’t be gentle and loving as well as strong and fierce?”

Let’s set the record straight, Koli is a cinnamon roll and he has the biggest heart, and I love him for it. Does that mean he sometimes acts foolishly – yes. But that adds to his endearment, and if he acted sensibly we wouldn’t have had half as good a story to follow.

We begin focusing on Koli, Monono (still my favourite character), Ursala and Cup arriving at the Sword of Albion. And it is not what any of us anticipated. On it we are introduced to three new and very chilling characters. I’m not going to say much about them because I want to keep this spoiler free but if your skin doesn’t goosebump from the first meeting with them then you are made of stronger stuff than me. It reminded me slightly of Allegiant when Tris and co escape Chicago and the creepy community in Lost.

We do then head back to Spinner and her ongoing challenges: of Ramparts, and wars and new life. I have to admit I had a slight itch to get back to Koli and his gang when reading her chapters. Nothing against the tale she is spinning but just that Koli’s exploits were keeping me on tenterhooks.

We do get other point of view characters too later in the book but once again I’m keeping schtum about them because surprises are fun.

In his acknowledgments Carey reports completing the writing of this during the coronavirus pandemic lockdown, and as with any good sci-fi it becomes a social commentary on the present. It touches on topics such as race, being transgender, brexit, naziism, corrupt politicians, climate change and more.

You need to have read the first two books to understand this one, if you didn’t like the voice in the previous books then you won’t like this. I would say this is the most pacy of the the three books but Koli’s storytelling in particular is still meandering and as such feels slower than many of us are used to. It’s replicative of oral storytelling, but to me this works much more successfully that the similar style used in Black Leopard, Red Wolf. Like I said in my review of the first book think the kid narrator in Mad Max: Beyond the Thunderdome. I appreciated it’s uniqueness and the opportunity to soak up a story that feels like being told of the past (even though it’s about things in an imagined future).

It’s lovely to have had the books published so near to each other but now the tale is complete you can get all three and take yourself on a journey to a land with faceless men, and murderous trees, where technology reigns but humanity is everything.

Thank you to Tracy at Compulsive Readers for arranging the gifted e-copy for the purposes of this honest review. Do check out the rest of the stops on the tour.

Blog Tour Poster

The Phone Box at the Edge of the World by Laura Imai Messina – Blog Tour Book Review

Paperback Book  Cover


About the Book

A sweeping, moving novel based on an incredible true story.

Picture an old disused telephone box in a beautiful garden, not found easily.

When Yui loses her mother and daughter in a tsunami, she wonders how she will ever carry on. Yet, in the face of this unthinkable loss, life must somehow continue.

Then one day she hears about a man who has an old disused telephone box in his garden. There, those who have lost loved ones find the strength to speak to them and begin to come to terms with their grief. As news of the phone box spreads, people travel there from miles around.

Soon Yui makes her own pilgrimage to the phone box, too. But once there she cannot bring herself to speak into the receiver. Then she finds Takeshi, a bereaved husband whose own daughter has stopped talking in the wake of their loss.

What happens next will warm your heart, even when it feels like it is breaking.When you’ve lost everything – what can you find?

Author Photo


About the Author


Laura Imai Messina was born in Rome, Italy but has been living in Japan for the last 15 years. She works between Tokyo and Kamakura, where she lives with her Japanese husband and two children.

She took a Master’s in Literature at the International Christian University of Tokyo and a PhD in Comparative Literature at the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies. The Phone Box at the Edge of the World has been sold in over 21 territories.


Laura can be found on Twitter at@LaImaiMessina and on Instagram at @LauraImaiMessina, or on her website www.lauraimaimessina.com.

Lucy Rand (Translator): Lucy Rand is a teacher, editor and translator from Norfolk, UK. She has been living in the countryside of Oita in south-west Japan for three years.

What I Thought

Picture of my hardback copy with many tabbed pages

Well, what do I say about this one? As you can see from the picture above I might have found one or two quotes that resonated. 

At its heart this is a story about loss, but it’s also hopeful and romantic and captures slices of human life. 

The two main characters Yui and Takeshi are our focus but I love how other characters they meet also get centred at times. 

There is a man who literally looks at life through a picture frame and this creates some of the most vivid imagery in the story. 

As a Humanist I don’t believe in a Supernatural Power but I do remain connected to those I have lost, and yes I do still speak to them from time to time, usually in my head rather than out loud though. Personally for me having a place to go to speak to the dearly departed isn’t necessary but I’m not sure that the Phone box fulfills that for these characters either. At its core I think it is about the human connection that the Phone box brings them. The space to be with their grief for as long as they need.

“Perhaps it doesn’t do any harm, she thought, to continue talking to those who are no longer with us.” 

There’s also a acknowledgment about how individual our responses to death are. Even the people who visit the phone box approach it in different ways. 

This is a quiet book, there are moments of tension but on the whole it’s an observation. Past and present and future are handled as a continuum and details from each time feed in where they make sense to tell us. There is both a distance and a closeness in the narration and it is eminently readable. In fact I read it almost in one sitting. In most of the book every other chapter steps away from narration and almost gives information like footnotes – the number that died in the tsunami, the cost of that photo frame, the top memories of a person gone. You could skip them but they highlight the ordinary, the facts, and the concept that life and death happens off page too.

There has been so much death across the world in the last year that the paperback publication of this feels timely. I hope that it’s increased accessibility means more people can find some comfort in its pages. I will be making a note of all those quotes I highlighted, removing the tabs and seeing if when I return to it I pick them out again, or if I see something different depending on what experience I bring to the book when I next read it.


Inspired by true events, discover the true story of the Wind Phone here:http://www.thephoneboxbook.com/. I was glad to read that the filming rights have been optioned because I think this will make a poignant film and I will be seeking it out.

Thanks to Compulsive Readers for having me on the tour. I already had this stunning hardback copy from Goldsboro as it was a book of the month pick (and I definitely see why). Good news the equally stunning paperback is out now. Opinions are entirely my own. Do check out the rest of the tour stops to see what everyone else thought.

Blog Tour Image

The Trials of Koli (The Rampart Trilogy) by MR Carey – Blog Tour Book Review


Way back in April I shared my review of The Book of Koli by MR Carey and now the second part of the trilogy is upon us. Beware spoilers for book one may feature below. I like this quote from Books From Dusk to sum up book one.


About the Book


Everything that lives hates us…


Beyond the walls of Koli’s small village lies a fearsome landscape filled with choker trees, vicious beasts and shunned men. As an exile, Koli’s been forced to journey out into this mysterious, hostile world. But he heard a story, once. A story about lost London, and the mysterious tech of the Old Times that might still be there. If Koli can find it, there may still be a way to redeem himself – by saving what’s left of humankind.


About the Author


MR Carey has been making up stories for most of his life. His novel The Girl With All the Gifts was a word-of-mouth bestseller and is now a major motion picture based on his own screenplay. Under the name Mike Carey he has written for both DC and Marvel, including critically acclaimed runs of X-Men and Fantastic Four, Marvel’s flagship superhero titles. His creator-owned books regularly appear I’m the New York Times graphic fiction bestseller list. He also has several previous novels, two radio plays and a number of TV and movie screenplays to his credit.


What I Thought


I really enjoyed Koli’s voice in the first one so I was eager to delve back in to see what happens next in his journey. I found myself comfortably slipping back into his presence and the story picks up where it left off. Koli is travelling along with Ursala and Cup and Monono to try and find London. His grand idea is to see if it is habitable in order to bring different tribes together to expand the gene pool and keep the human race alive. No biggie.


But in this book we also get the point of view of Spinner, Koli’s childhood friend and one time ‘tumble’ as she settles into her new life with her husband in the Rampart Hold back at Mythen Rood, the settlement Koli was ousted from. Her early chapters go over part of the story from book one so you could potentially pick up at book two but I wouldn’t really recommend it.


The “Everything that lives hates us“ tagline definitely comes into play with killer trees, beasts, warring settlements and now the red death – what is it with 2020 and plagues (check out my review of Hollowpox tomorrow!).


I think the introduction of Spinner’s narrative makes this a stronger book because we get to still see the home that Koli is fighting for.


In my last review I neglected to tell you about my favourite character. Monono is a piece of tech (a Sony Dreamsleeve media player) who develops from a preloaded replica of sugary Tokyo pop star to an AI with her own mind, once she explores the ‘internet’. As someone who has loved the AI characters in the Illuminae Files and Skyward series Monono was a welcome addition and I like how she is used to tell Koli and the reader more about the time before.


Like I said last time if you are a fan of Mad Max, The Walking Dead or MR Carey’s The Girl with all the Gifts, or you simply like your stories post apocalypse then definitely pick this series up.


Although there is plenty of action the book does have a slight meandering pace because it is being told as a story and the book itself features a wonderful analysis of stories.


“There can’t be any rules in the telling of stories. They’ve got to go where they want to go, which is not always where you would want them to and as to the happiness or the sadness of it, that depends on where you are standing…Or you might not know, even after it’s all done, whether it came out well or badly.”


The third book – The Fall of Koli is out in March 2021 so not too long to wait until you can read the conclusion too and then we can see how it came out.

Thank you to Tracy at Compulsive Readers for arranging the gifted copy for the purposes of this honest review. Do check out the rest of the stops on the tour.

%d bloggers like this: