Book review · novel

Book review: Nyxia

Nyxia (The Nyxia Triad #1), by Scott Reintgen

august16Description: (from Penguin Random House)

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.

Forever.

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.

Publication date: September 12th 2017.
A review copy (eARC) of this book was provided by the publisher through Netgalley. Some things might change in the final copy.

After seeing some nice reviews of this book on goodreads, I decided I should give it a go. Apparently if you tell me a book is a SciFi set in space with a diverse cast of characters, I’m in!

I can say that I understand why people love this book, I had a good time reading it. Mostly, I wasn’t disappointed because I knew what to expect from the reviews I read: mostly a story of trials and competition in a Hunger Games/Ender’s Game fashion. It is one of these books that I could see becoming an Ender-style blockbuster movie. One I’d like to see succeed because of its very good cast of characters and some clever bits.

“They’re really going to have us fight each other. I glance over at Jaime. It wouldn’t surprise me if we get matched against each other. That’s how it happens in movies.”

The novel had a bunch of very cool moments, but it was still a bit predicable at times and ended up being repetitive.
Its strengh definitely lies with the characters, who all quickly gain a distinctive voice. It is one of those cast where everyone will have a favourite character! I personally loved Bilal, the nicest of all, and all the girls were awesome. I also love that the author made sure to describe each character early one through his main character eyes, each of them from a different part of the world (from the top of my head: Nigeria, Brazil, Switzerland, Japan…!), different ethnicities and skin colours. The main character is a black teen from Detroit in the US and I really liked to read about the complexity of his thoughts, his introspection and struggle, as well as his lovely family that we only have glimpses of.

[Mild spoilers for this paragraph]
There are some characters death that happen late into the book, I was sad and disappointed about it because they were character who I feel could have been really interesting to follow for a bit longer in the next book. At one point I also felt like it was at the verge of the “woman dies to further the male main character’s struggle” trope but it is also kind of addressed so?? I wish no one had had to die, but I guess I can’t always have what I want!

The romance also came very late in the novel, which I think was good. There wasn’t time for a romance earlier. But once it was there it went too fast for my taste, but it is still understandable. While the diversity in ethnicities is grand, there didn’t seem to be any LGBTA+ character (yet?), or at least it wasn’t mentionned at all. There were only f/m relationships that I could see. I’m only mentionning this because I saw a lot of reviews talking about the “diversity”, and I don’t want anyone to be going into this expecting LGBTA+ rep when there isn’t (as of yet.)

A thing that made me wince was how the psychiatrist was written, mostly the old cliche “And how did it make you feel?” question he serves the main character who then shut down completely, which can be understandable. This character grows to be important and not as badly written but that’s really something that made me uncomfortable at first.

“I wanted to go as far away as possible. Where better than a new planet?” Her eyes squeeze shut for a second. “But they don’t tell you the pain comes with you. They don’t tell you that hurt travels at light-speed too.”

Overall this is a nice Young Adult science fiction novel set in a spaceship, not groundbreaking since it resembles some other books greatly, but still manages to grip the reader with a litte bit of mystery and hints at something bigger, and make us care for the characters a lot. I’m really looking forward to the next book to finally set foot on the mysterious planet and have a better look at those aliens.

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