Book: Nyxia (The Nyxia Triad #1) by Scott Reintgen
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: September 12, 2017
Rating: 4-4.5 / 5
This book was a lovely surprise in a year of fairly strong sci-fi offerings in the young adult department. The main reason I requested an ARC of this book? Having known nothing about the author, it only took that blurb recommendation from Marie Lu: “A high-octane triller. Nyxia grabs you from the first line and never lets go.” Could it live up to that? I had to see for sure.
Nyxia begins on Earth but quickly transitions to the Genesis 11 which carries our new friends onward through space until they reach a new planet. Ten 10 hopeful teens are all-in for the dream of… well, mostly money. Each of them have their own objective.
They have been specially selected to mine a substance called nyxia which is a material that can be transformed into any number of useful and powerful items. For example, a nyxian mask which attaches easily to a users face and allows for automatic translation of all known languages. Considering the kids are from all over the world, this is a handy feature. And if you know anything about language mythology, you’ll this of one thing when you hear about this… Babel.
For those of you unfamiliar, the Tower of Babel was built by humans to reach the heavens, only to be struck down. By way of punishment for reaching too high, mankind was scattered and given different languages so that they couldn’t attempt such a feat again. In short, anyway. Back to the book, you’ll be interested to know that the company in charge of the mining operations and space travel: Babel Communications.
Nyxia allows for some pretty cool technology on board the Genesis 11, and the teens have to learn quickly how to use it, while also figuring out how to work together, how to work apart, and who are their enemies. Only 8 of them will be selected to go to Eden and receive all the benefits, fiscal or otherwise, that they so desire. Which means 2 of them will be going home.
What does it remind me of?
Nyxia comes off as a mix of many sci-fi adventures before it. Facets of it reminded me of: The Hunger Games, The 100, Ender’s Game, and Avatar. All in good ways, and not so overwhelmingly that it took away from the story.
While there are ten main teens in the first book, the story really revolves around Emmett Atwater. He is a young man from Detroit who is strong and flawed, and hopes that getting to Eden will enable him to help his family… especially his Mom (or as he says “Moms”) who is in dire need of a kidney transplant as she has been ailing for years. Emmett is mostly likable, though I found him annoying at times. Such as when he would “file away” things in his mind repeatedly. That is, at least, until it was finally explained why he does that and then it became less annoying and more sustaining to his character.
The rest of the teens are Longwei, Katsu, Kaya, Azima, Bilal, Isadora, Roathy, Jazzy and Jaime. Remarkably, I didn’t have to look that up. You see their names a great many times in the scoring of the competition, but also in learning more about each of them. It will be interesting to see if their stories expand further over the next two books. Especially Longwei who is ultra competitive but very stand-offish and closed off compared to the majority of them. I’m especially curious about some other characters, but that would involve some spoilers.
Then there are the medical officers, the trainer, and other miscellaneous Babel personnel. For this book you’ll mostly hear about the staff member assigned to Emmett and Kaya and also the trainer Defoe. They serve as the framework through which all of the competitors understand how the competition will run and how they are expected to work with and for Babel. There is a lot of controlled information on behalf of Babel.
Emmett, to me, is ultimately interesting for two reasons. One being that he knows his strengths and weaknesses and has a hard time making the two of them work to his advantage. And two – he is very real and true to life when he is susceptible to his own anger and fear. You feel a lot of things with him. One of my favorite parts is while he and Kaya are exploring the ship beyond where they have permission to be. While some of their explorations bring joy and intrigue, one in particular lights Emmett up with apprehension that stirs up the desire to tell them to GO BACK. My stomach was in knots! And from that point til the end, I could not put the book down.
I NEED TO READ THE NEXT BOOK. The ending wasn’t exactly a cliffhanger, you know most of what is going on, but at the same time… ugh! Just tell me more! I’m dying. I need to know who made it to Eden and where all of this is going. The competition on the ship is over, so it should stand that the winners will now get to be a team and do some mining on the planet. I have to wonder if they will still be competing and what other facets Babel has yet to unveil to them.
Rating wise I have left this as a 4 – 4.5. Nyxia was really enjoyable, but to me the second quarter of the book slowed down a lot as the dredges of the daily competition updates continued on. You need that background info, and I was grateful for it by the end, but in the moment I was really waiting for some action.
Highly recommended read for sci-fi fans!
Thank you to the author and publisher for offering this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I can’t wait until the next one!