Author: Scott Reintgen
Series? Yes, a trilogy
Publication Date: September 12, 2017
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers (under Random House Children's)
Source: I received a galley of Nyxia via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you!
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.
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.
The book gives off a "Hunger games in space" type of feel. Ten people compete with each other on a spaceship headed towards Eden, an Earth-like planet where Nyxia, a substance people can manipulate with there minds, is readily available. The species living on Eden have easily killed every human who has visited Eden, except for children, whom they revere. Adamites, the species on Eden, are not able to procreate anymore and they love children because of it. All 10 are vying to make top 8 (there are scoreboards all around the spaceship) so that they have the chance to go to Eden. By doing so, they get more money they can imagine.
What I loved about Nyxia was the high-stakes of it all and the unpredictability of what would happen next. Emmett, the main character, was a great person to be in the mind of. He's highly capable and a good leader, but due to some circumstances is in the bottom for essentially the whole entire book. I loved being in the mind of someone who wasn't certain about their future.
There is the great turn-around in the book that took the plot in a direction I was not anticipating around the 70% mark. I thought I knew how the story would end, and BAM! the book took a completely different turn. It's been a long time since a book has caught me unawares like that, and it was so refreshing!
As for the other characters, I really enjoyed them all. They all had distinct personalities. While at first it was hard to keep track of who's who (there are approximately 15 characters all introduced at the same time) it wasn't a problem by the 20% mark. Emmett has unique relationships with every single person, so it was easy to differentiate everyone. I was also able to empathize with all the characters as well. There are two characters, Isadora and Roathy, that basically hate Emmett's guts the whole entire time. And yet, Reintgen did a wonderful job of still giving them characterization and a backstory to the point where I sympathized with them. Emmett does a great job of narrating because even though he knows that everyone on their ship is battling each other, the real enemy is the company that sent them there, Babel. He's (for the most part) able to keep a clear head and I loved his narration.
Even though all the characters are away from their families and homes, there is still a bunch of familial relationships and culture injected in this book. All of the characters have some reason that they are on the ship and willing to go to such extremes, and delving in to everyone's backstory was really interesting. If there was anything I would change in this book, I would like to see a couple more scenes where we get more background in some other characters.
As for my favorite characters... they would definitely have to be Longwei, who is the best on Emmett's ship; Bilial, the kindest of all the competitors; and Isadora, a girl who is very antagonistic. There are other characters introduced in the book later on, but I won't talk about them because of spoilers.
To be honest, there is next to nothing I can complain about. Nyxia is one of the best debut novels I have read, and one of my favorite books I have read this year. I never knew what would happen next, and I cannot wait until I have my hands on the sequel. If you are a fan of YA science fiction, or want to dip your toes into it, I highly suggest this book!
With that, I give this book
4.5 out of 5 Stars!