Review: Nyxia Unleashed – Scott Reintgen
by Scott Reintgen
Series: The Nyxia Triad #2
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: July 17, 2018
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
I received an advance review copy of this book from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Getting to Eden brought Emmett and his crewmates one step closer to their promised fortune. But surviving Eden may be the biggest reward of all. Discover book two in the trilogy Marie Lu called, “a high-octance thriller.”
Emmett Atwater thought Babel’s game sounded easy. Get points. Get paid. Go home. But it didn’t take long for him to learn that Babel’s competition was full of broken promises, none darker or more damaging than the last one.
Now Emmett and the rest of the Genesis survivors must rally and forge their own path through a new world. Their mission from Babel is simple: extract nyxia, the most valuable material in the universe, and play nice with the indigenous Adamite population.
But Emmett and the others quickly realize they are caught between two powerful forces—Babel and the Adamites—with clashing desires. Will the Genesis team make it out alive before it’s too late?
Yes, this is what everybody who read Nyxia has been waiting for! Our combined band of Genesis teens finally gets to land on Eden and use all that knowledge that Babel beat into them – including meeting the mysterious Adamites. And let me just get this out of the way so you know – yes, there is ANOTHER cliffhanger ending. But before we get there, there’s a deliciously twisty plot full of lots of surprises, excellent world-building, and all the characters we’ve come to know and love.
“I never asked for any of this. At the beginning, I fought hard against it. But now that they’re mine, now that I’m theirs, I’d do anything to keep them from being taken.
I can feel the weight of the night in the air. It’s like a sixth sense. Something instinctual that says we’re standing on the edge of events that will change the rest of our lives.
What happens next will change the fate of worlds.
We are the Genesis.”
There’s not as much of an Ender’s Game vibe in this one – for the most part, the competition is over, and everyone is working as a team with the mission of defeating Babel. If we’re keeping up the analogy, this does feel, in a way, much more Speaker for the Dead in the sense that we finally get to find out more about the Adamites. Yes, we finally get away from a lot of the ridiculous biblical Babel terminology (another pet peeve from the first book). They call themselves the Imago, and they’ve appointed several of their warriors to watch over the various teams as they mine the valuable nyxia, the teams’ sole reason for being on the planet. With their new friends, Emmett and the rest are finally able to start sorting out the lies they’ve been told. But Babel doesn’t know everything (OR DO THEY???), and the Imago are not the perfect allies that the Genesis team has hoped for. Can they untangle the lies from the truth before Babel’s true plan succeeds?
Emmett is such an amazing character. He’s a poor black teen from Detroit and the success of the team is partly based on the things he’s learned growing up there – about family and friends sticking together, and understanding what it’s like to have the goal line moved or obliterated even if you’ve followed all the rules. His love interest is Morning, a Latina teen from California, and the group’s leader. I absolutely loved her – she’s amazingly kickass while also being a thoughtful leader. While I complained about their relationship in the last book – I felt like it came out of nowhere – I was surprised how much I liked it in this book. As you might expect from a bunch of teens stranded in a life or death situation, there’s quite a few more pairings that form up in this book, including one m/m one. The characters feel detailed and distinct, and the world-building is also excellent, from the strange flora and fauna to the culture and history of the Imago.
“I was worried before,” he says. “I thought you were just another broken boy we needed to look after. But you’re not. You’re a weapon. Babel put you through the fire and you survived. They shouldn’t have made us this way. They’ll regret how sharp we are now that we’re aimed at them.”
There’s one particular line that struck me, as it’s referenced in the book at two important parts – “I am more than what you will make of me” – and it’s echoed in the quote above and many others like it in the book. Babel has taken these poor, broken, forgotten kids and reforged them, but rather than the loyal tools they’d intended (OR DID THEY???), they’re weapons whose only goal is taking down their makers. I think it’s a good reminder that while we may not always be in control of our situations that shape us, we can control what we do with it.
Overall, if you like YA sci-fi, just go read this series. As for me, I’ll be impatiently waiting for the third book!