Review: Nyxia by Scott Reintgen

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Nyxia by Scott ReintgenNyxia by Scott Reintgen
Pages: 384
Published by Crown Books for Young Readers on September 12th 2017
Series: The Nyxia Triad #1
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Fantasy
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Goodreads
four-half-stars

Every life has a price in this sci-fi thriller that has the nonstop action of The Maze Runner and the high-stakes space setting of Illuminae. This is the first in a new three-book series called the Nyxia Triad that will take a group of broken teens to the far reaches of the universe and force them to decide what they're willing to risk for a lifetime of fortune.

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.

Review

Are you a fan of Ender’s Game? Read this book.
Are you a fan of YA Science Fiction? Read this book.
Are you a fantasy fan who is willing to try a book that happens to take place in space? Read this book.

I’ve been reading a lot of YA science fiction lately and am in awe of how excellent the field is right now. Nyxia is the perfect example of that. It’s a story at once both familiar and new. It’s also a perfect blending of fantasy and science fiction that I think will appeal to both audiences.

When I first started reading, I was struck by the similarities to Ender’s Game (which just happens to be one of my favorite childhood books/series). However, Nyxia took the good parts – namely the competitions, the lovable characters, and the aliens- and then proceeded to add an additional layer of diversity and depth to everything. There’s cool advanced technology without the technobabble that I know is incomprehensible or intimidating to some readers. Of course, that could partially be due to the fact that the advanced tech is based on nyxia, a substance that seems as if it would be more at home in a fantasy novel.

Most of the plot takes place on Babel’s spaceship, centered around the competition to determine who will descend to Eden. The challenges continually change and it was fascinating to see how the characters adapted to them and dealt with the pressure. The space limitations due to the spaceship setting allowed the authors to really develop the characters and their relationships as well as explore what effects the competition had on them. There were brief sections featuring scenes that took place elsewhere that served to increase the sense of mystery and danger surrounding Babel. The plot was relatively straightforward but certainly compelling.

The true strength of this novel lay in the characters. From Emmett, the flawed but relatable protagonist, to Bilal, the eternal optimist, to Kaya, the brilliant mastermind, you will fall in love with all of them. I did have my favorites (namely the three above) but each character was so unique, I know that other readers will have their own favorites. All of the characters were incredibly realistic and I have rarely seen a more diverse cast of characters in YA science fiction. Even if I didn’t love the storyline, I’d have read this book only for the characters.

Nyxia also has a significant amount of social commentary. The backstory of each character reveals the injustices and inequalities that currently exist in their world (and ours as well). While all of them were thought-provoking, Emmett’s story nearly broke my heart. His family has worked themselves to the bone and have no hope of advancing beyond a paycheck to paycheck existence. His mother desperately needs better medical care than they have access to, which led to Emmett signing up with Babel in exchange for money and guaranteed care for her. Most YA books suffer from missing parent syndrome so it was nice to see one where the parents were so present and had such a strong and loving bond with their son.

Even though Nyxia isn’t out yet, I’m already anticipating the sequel. Nyxia is the perfect combination of science fiction and fantasy with characters that will make you fall in love. Definitely one of the best science fiction books I’ve read lately.

four-half-stars

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