The Trials of Koli by M.R. Carey
THE TRIALS OF KOLI
by M.R. Carey
Rating: 4/5 stars
Series: Rampart Trilogy (#2)
Genre: Science fiction, Post-Apocalyptic
Release Date: September 15, 2020
Price: $16.99 (USD)
The Trials of Koli picks up where the first book left off, with Koli, Cup and Ursala travelling to find the lost city London, with the hopes of using any tech they find there to help their declining society. They face even more dangers—shunned men, a sea bear and a deadly choker spring. Meanwhile, back in Mythen Rood, Spinner, Koli’s old friend and love interest from the previous book, starts telling her part of the story, documenting Mythen Rood’s struggle with being down a piece of tech, a deadly disease spreading through the community, and the choker spring.
Wow. This series. I honestly loved the first book, for people who love really voicey writing, this series is for you. I especially love the way the linguistic drift is shown. It does a great job of showing that time has passed and yet still being able to play off the readers own knowledge. Brilliant. Now, this book is definitely a second book. And if you haven’t read the first one… START THERE. I mean it, I doubt you’ll enjoy this one if you haven’t read and enjoyed the first. I loved the continued development of the characters, and I especially loved the sub-plot with Cup. I do wish Cup being excluded hadn’t been used to further the plot, because I want her to have all the happiness, and I think it could’ve been written another way. I do enjoy that Ursala, Koli and Momo are all so supportive of her.
As for Spinner’s inclusion. I was very confused at first, but once I realized what was going on, I really really appreciated the other perspective and finding out what happened with Mythen Rood after Koli left. There are big changes happening in Mythen Rood and it’s so great to see. Also, I guess since we’re still in COVID times… there’s inclusion of a pandemic in the book, just in case anyone’s going to find that stressful to read about. And the worldbuilding. The deeper I get into this series, the more I love the worldbuilding. It’s clear there are so many layers to it, and the way both Spinner and Koli are so unreliable, it’s absolutely fantastic. I can’t wait for the next book. I need to know what happened with the Unfinished War and what happened to humanity!
So, I have one little qualm that I wanna mention. I think I get understandably nervous whenever there’s an Indigenous coded community in science fiction, cause it’s almost always poorly done. And yeah, I got tense when I got to Many Fishes, especially when we were introduced to some of the characters and they used kind of stereotypically native names. But for the most part, it was okay. It’s a community that’s not transphobic, and they seem to be pretty giving and caring people, they certainly don’t fall into many of the tropes seen by this type of community in SFF. But, admittedly, there were two things that bothered me (also spoilers! Skip the end if you don’t want to be spoiled!) first, when Cup’s boyfriend gets ‘questioned’ and beaten, nope didn’t like that, that felt gross. And then there’s the way that the Singer for the community was written. Now, she’s clearly meant to be a healer/spiritual leader… and unfortunately? I don’t think she was written with very much care. It almost felt like the book was scoffing at her beliefs, which… for an Indigenous reader? Didn’t feel great. And really to set up a spiritual, Indigenous coded character as the bad guy like that, in a way in which she’s not even shown as three-dimensional? I dunno. I just don’t think it’s great and it really bothered me. I still loved the book, but yeah, it left me with a bit of a bad taste in my mouth.
Anyway, I’m gonna say, if you liked the first book in this series, definitely give this one ago, and if this sounds interesting and you’re a fan of very voicey and unreliable narrators… WELL. Check out the first book!
M.R. Carey is an award-winning author of comics, novels, and screenplays. His book, The Girl with all the Gifts was nominated for both the Arthur C. Clarke Award and the James Herbert Award for Horror Writing. He also writes under the name Mike Carey. More information about him can be found here.
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** Thanks to NetGalley and Orbit Books for providing me with an eARC of this book**
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