Blog Tour · Book Review

Book Tour: The Trials of Koli by M. R. Carey

Today I’m taking part in the blog tour for the Trials of Koli, Book 2 in the Rampart trilogy.

The first book, The Book of Koli, was a fast-paced and exciting adventure that followed Koli Woodsmith as he discovered a piece of old tech from a world lost to the village of Mythen Rood, a small human settlement fighting for survival against disease, other humans and killer trees. But Koli is cast out from his village and, alongside Ursula and Cup, he decides to find a way to bring life back to humanity, searching for long lost London, where a mysterious signal is being broadcast.

Title: The Trials of Koli
Series: The Rampart Trilogy #2
Author: M. R. Carey
Pages: 445
Publisher: Orbit
Publication Date: 17th September 2020
Ownership: eARC provided by the publisher and Compulsive Readers reviews

Rating: 4.5 stars

This book picks up immediately where the previous book ended. Ursula, Koli and Cup have decided to follow the signal picked up by the Dreamsleeve Monono and track it to London, which may well not exist any more.

A post-apocalyptic book set in England is one of my favourite things; I love working out the lost locations and changed landscapes and, with more travel across the country, this book definitely didn’t disappoint. I especially enjoy picking out the changes in language, and it’s genuinely a treat to read something with so much broken slang and words in it as it’s like picking apart a puzzle where it’s all about oral history and where the written word has been lost.

Event better, having been introduced to the Mythen Rood settlement in the previous book, we got to go back there, this time from the point of view of Spinner Tanhide, who we’d previously met as Koli’s childhood friend and love interest. And there’s a lot going on back home.

Koli is a great character – he’s a little bumbling and foolish, but is kind-hearted and wants the best for everyone, to the point of being a little selfless. He’s very much an inner voice character, rarely voicing his own opinions but quietly watching and seeing until he understands. It’s great to read a compassionate character’s voice in what can be a harsh dystopian world. And his care for and relationship with Monono is still incredibly adorable, although less significant in this book, which gives a lot more over to Spinner and to Cup.

But to have Spinner as a counterpoint to Koli’s character was even better. She is sharp and quick to pick things up. She has a very different voice and I really admire the way that Carey has created two entirely different narrators. Especially as both are written in the post-apocalyptic slang that makes up the novel, but doesn’t in any way detract from the story. In fact, having lost the words to explain some feelings and ideas, both Koli and Spinner have unique and quite adorable ways of trying to explain what they mean. But Spinner has the hard edge that Koli is missing.

There might even be more action going on this novel, as we switch from Koli to Spinner sections, although it felt a little slower gearing up to the end of the novel. But just like before, the style is incredibly fast-paced, which keeps you hanging on from chapter to chapter.

I especially loved getting to know Cup better too. She really grows as a person, now that she is able to and it is really joyful to read about her growing friendships, and of finding people who are willing to accept that she is trans, or ‘crossed’.

My only complaint from the previous book had been that we hadn’t spent enough time in the ‘world’, especially with promises of killer trees. By the end of this book, we get a much stronger idea of just how dangerous those trees are, not to mention the wildlife…

As always, though, it’s a cliffhanger ending. Perhaps even to the point of feeling a little unnatural. BUT I have no idea what’s coming next but I’m super excited to find out. I hope we get to learn more about what happened to past human society, but I’m especially interested to find out what happens to our MCs.

It’s 4.5 stars rounded up to 5 stars from me!

I received an eARC of this book from NetGalley and the publisher, in conjunction with a Compulsive Readers blog tour, in exchange for an honest review.


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