Hi everyone, I have another book review for you today. This one was an ARC from NetGalley, and I loved it …
About the Book:
‘A captivating start to what promises to be an epic post-apocalyptic fable’ Kirkus
EVERYTHING THAT LIVES HATES US . . .
Beyond the walls of the small village of Mythen Rood lies an unrecognisable landscape. A place where overgrown forests are filled with choker trees and deadly seeds that will kill you where you stand. And if they don’t get you, the Shunned men will.
Koli has lived in Mythen Rood his entire life. He believes the first rule of survival is that you don’t venture too far beyond the walls.
The Book of Koli begins a breathtakingly original new trilogy set in a strange and deadly world of our own making.
‘Narrator Koli’s inquisitive mind and kind heart make him the perfect guide to Carey’s immersive, impeccably rendered world’ Kirkus
‘Carey writes with compassion and fire – strange and surprising and humane’
Look out for the next novels in the trilogy: THE TRIALS OF KOLI and THE FALL OF KOLI
Many thanks to NetGalley and the publishers, Little, Brown Group UK–Orbit– for a free ARC of this book.
The cover intrigued me, mostly due to the lack of anything much other than creeping vegetation. And the title made me wonder, what’s this going to be about? So, I gave the description a once over … EVERYTHING THAT LIVES HATES US … ooh, now, I liked the sound of that. And I adore post-apocalyptic fiction. So, I requested The Book of Koli and duly received an advanced copy. I’ve never read anything by M R Carey before now, so I had no idead what to expect.
The narrative pulled me in from the first line of the first page and never let up until the end. Because this is the first book of a planned series, it ends where the next stage of the story will continue in book 2, so is a little open-ended due to that, but the threads from this first book are, by-and-large, tied up nicely.
I connected with all the characters, who are well drawn and realistic, and I care what happens to Koli and Ursala, as well as certain others, whom I don’t want to mention here so as not to put in spoilers. I hate spoilers. The world-building was excellent, and I’m intrigued as to what happened to bring the world to its present state in this story. I expect we’ll find out in book two.
As other reviewers have commented, the narration in the voice of Koli takes some getting used to, but very quickly, I found that I enjoyed the alternative way of speaking and the rythym. Here are a couple of examples …
‘She didn’t say knowed, she said known, …. It was how they said those things in the old times.’
‘… my ma sometimes called the engine Summer, …’ (for indian [injun] summer!)
And lots of English place names have been subtly altered, such as Half Ax, Ludden, Burnt Lea, etc.
Here are a couple of lines that I loved …
‘… or else a hollow in the ground and a hope that was hollower still.’
‘I seen now that dying wasn’t just one single thing that happens one single time. A little of it comes with every ending, collecting in the heart of you like rainwater in a barrel. This was a big lot of dying all at once, and it daunted me.’
This tale brings us a boy just coming of age, who has so far lived a sheltered life within the walls of his village. But his thirst for knowledge and wanting to get his hands on old tech propell him into places he never knew were there. The dystopian element is limited in this first story, but the post-apocalyptic element is huge and enjoyable. We have trees that move to trap unwary humans for food, as well as dropping seeds that burn into a person, and don’t even ask about the wild animals! It’s great to watch Koli grow as his story unfolds, and I look forward to reading more about him and his adventures in the coninuation of this series, which I’ll be looking out for.
I don’t want to say anymore here, because that would bring in spoilers. Suffice to say, I loved this book. It gets a solid five stars from me. The only reason I didn’t read it in one sitting was because real life has a way of demanding your attention for other things.
NOTE ON RATINGS: I consider a 3-star rating a positive review. Picky about which books I give 5 stars to, I reserve this highest rating for the stories I find stunning and which moved me.
5 STARS: IT WAS AMAZING! I COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN! — Highly Recommended.
4 STARS: I WOULD PULL AN ALL-NIGHTER — Go read this book.
3 STARS: IT WAS GOOD! — An okay read. Didn’t love it. Didn’t hate it.
2 STARS: I MAY HAVE LIKED A FEW THINGS —Lacking in some areas: writing, characterisation, and/or problematic plot lines.
1 STAR: NOT MY CUP OF TEA —Lots of issues with this book.