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.
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
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.