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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.

The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart – Blog Tour Book Review


About the Book

The emperor’s reign has lasted for decades, his mastery of bone shard magic powering the animal-like constructs that maintain law and order. But now his rule is failing, and revolution is sweeping across the Empire’s many islands.

Lin is the emperor’s daughter and spends her days trapped in a palace of locked doors and dark secrets. When her father refuses to recognise her as heir to the throne, she vows to prove her worth by mastering the forbidden art of bone shard magic.

Yet such power carries a great cost, and when the revolution reaches the gates of the palace, Lin must decide how far she is willing to go to claim her birthright – and save her people.

An unmissable fantasy debut for 2020 – a captivating tale of magic, revolution and mystery, where a young woman’s sense of identity will make or break an empire. Perfect for fans of CITY OF BRASS, THE POPPY WAR and EMPIRE OF SAND.


About the Author


Andrea Stewart is the Chinese American daughter of immigrants, and was raised in a number of places across the United States. When her (admittedly ambitious) dreams of becoming a dragon slayer didn’t pan out, she instead turned to writing books. She now lives in sunny California.

What I Thought


First things first. Let us talk about that cover. Evocative. Classic. Beautiful. Breathtaking.


The first chapter pulls you straight in, introducing you to protagonist Lin, and immediately gives you a fistful of questions that you want the story to unfold.


What exactly is bone shard magic?

What are constructs?

What happened to Lin’s mother?

Will Lin get her memories back? (She’s 23 and cant remember anything earlier than five years ago).

Why did her father foster Bayan?

Why does Lin believe her father fears her?

What is driving the rebellion?

Who or what are the Alanga?

What does the key open?

And right at the end of the chapter the question every book reader asks – Why do book characters never realise they are holding their breath 🤦‍♀️

Other than this slightly cliched line the writing is sumptuous. Andrea Stewart knows how to paint a vivid picture with words. Her characters jump from the page into the reader’s heart too. Even the Blacksmith, mentioned briefly feels real enough to care what happens to him. With only a few words and actions you feel the weight of his backstory.

The lure of the locked doors puts one in mind of Bluebeard. But Lin isn’t the only rebellious woman set to smash down doors and the story is told from more than her point of view. It’s an excellently used ploy to keep you reading, with each character’s little cliff hanger making you wait tantalisingly for its pay off.

This book is the beginning of a trilogy in a world that is so richly imagined, the story weaves between the different character’s journeys as much as between the islands of the Phoenix Empire. Who will rise from the ashes of rebellion?

Thank you to Tracey at Compulsive Readers and the publisher for the gifted copy for the purposes of an honest review. The book was also Goldsboro’s SFF pick of September and that copy came with the stunning stencilled edges you see on the picture at the top. It also came with a double sided postcard print with artwork by Andrea Stewart. Doubly talented.

Do check out the rest of the blog stops and order or pick up your copy now.

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

MR Carey, author of The Girl with All the Gifts, returns with the first in a post apocalyptic trilogy.

About the Book

The first in a gripping new trilogy,The Book of Koli charts the journey of one unforgettable young boy struggling to find his place in a chilling post-apocalyptic world. Perfect for readers of Station Eleven and Annihilation.


Beyond the walls of the small village of Mythen Rood lies an unrecognizable world. A world where overgrown forests are filled with choker trees and deadly vines and seeds that will kill you where you stand. And if they don’t get you, one of the dangerous shunned men will.

Koli has lived in Mythen Rood his entire life. He knows the first rule of survival is that you don’t venture beyond the walls.

What he doesn’t know is — what happens when you aren’t given a choice?

About the Author


Mike Carey is the acclaimed writer of Lucifer and Hellblazer (now filmed as Constantine). He has recently completed a comics adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere, and is the current writer on Marvel’s X-Men and Ultimate Fantastic Four. He has also written the screenplay for a movie, Frost Flowers, which is soon to be produced by Hadaly Films and Bluestar Pictures.

He writes as both Mike and MR Carey

Early Thoughts

I’m 56% in and here are my thoughts so far.

Do you remember the children in the film Mad Max beyond Thunderdome, and how they speak? The boy narrator – Koli – from The Book of Koli reminds me of that voice. Because the story is written in “dialect” I think your enjoyment may hinge on whether this is something you like generally. Koli is also one to go off on a tangent when telling his story but he actually brings himself back round to the point, and so the effect is to build tension and keep you reading.

I’m really enjoying it so far and to me the first half very much has the feel of a number of Young Adult dystopians that I have read. Although, this is written from the perspective of a future Koli so there is a certain hindsight that comes with his telling. So far the story has all taken place in his village of Mythen Rood, in Ingland, and has been setting up everyday life. From the somewhat carefree childhood, with friendships and crushes, to the mysterious Waiting year and its culmination in the Rampart ceremony. There are hints of diversity in terms of race, gender and sexual identity.

Ramparts are held in higher esteem in this society. They can command the technology of old and as such are responsible for the village security. The village feels very much like a Walking Dead settlement. Koli wants nothing more than to join their ranks, but it seems that one family above others are destined to become Ramparts – the family of his best friend.

A travelling doctor lets Koli into a secret that throws his life into turmoil – can he control tech too and will it earn him his longed for place? I love the tech and hints at the old times, there seems to be some advances on what we know but then a throwback to a more rural way of living. Koli things his village of just over 200 people is big!

Outside the village we are told lies only danger, with nature fighting back and the danger of shunned or faceless ones and a host of savage beasts keeping them isolated especially in the summer months. The – don’t go outside – message may be a little close to the bone for some readers at the moment although it’s trees rather than a virus that seem to pose the biggest threat. We haven’t seen much of what they can do yet so they are a scary unknown threat so far.

This is where Koli, and us, are about to head now and I’m intrigued to visit the wider world and to see what other secrets get spilled. I’m guessing that we might be left at the end of book one with lots more questions. Book 2 is (was?) due out in September and I already know that I’m going to want to know what happens and if/how Koli comes back home again.

If you enjoyed The Girl with All the Gifts and Melanie’s voice this definitely has a similar feel. The Book of Koli is out now. I’ve listened to the sample of the audio version and I think that would be a great way to read this story.

Do check out the rest of the tour stops. Thanks to the publisher and Tracy at Compulsive Readers for the e-ARC for the purposes of an honest review.

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