The first in a gripping new trilogy, The Book of Koli charts the journey of one unforgettable young boy struggling to find his place in a chilling post-apocalyptic world.
Beyond the walls of the small village of Mythen Rood lies an unrecognizable world. A world where overgrown forests are filled with choker trees and deadly vines and seeds that will kill you where you stand. And if they don’t get you, one of the dangerous shunned men will.
Koli has lived in Mythen Rood his entire life. He knows the first rule of survival is that you don’t venture beyond the walls.
What he doesn’t know is – what happens when you aren’t given a choice?
Hi and welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Book of Koli! Huge thanks to Tracy Fenton for the invite and to Orbit for the gorgeous review copy!
The first thing you should know about The Book of Koli is that this is the book of Koli. No, seriously: it’s written like a kind of memoir. Koli is a teenager in a post-apocalyptic world and this is his story, seen through his eyes, written down by him. Which brings me to the one little gripe I had with this novel… Koli lives in a world where survival is key, and language is anything but. Spelling, grammar, they don’t matter much. This entails that Koli’s writing – and therefore The Book of Koli – isn’t flawless. There are a lot of – intentional, obviously – grammatical errors. The Book of Koli is rife with things like teached, knowed, the boots was and – worst of all for me – would / could / should of. My eyes hitched on every blatant error, especially the ofs, which slowed down my reading speed considerably, and also somewhat diminished my reading enjoyment. It took me a while to get used to, but then both my speed and enjoyment picked up. To be clear: this is a stylistic choice the author has made, and I appreciate the reasons why, and you may have zero issues with it, but for me it was something I struggled with at first, so it’s something I felt I needed to address. If you’re afraid you might struggle with it, I’d suggest you check out the audiobook, as I suspect a lot of the errors will go unnoticed in the narration, and you won’t have time to dwell on those you do still notice.
Let there be no mistake, despite what I’ve just told you, I did enjoy The Book of Koli tremendously. I deducted half a heart in my rating here on the blog for the issues I had at first, but in the total scheme of things, that one little gripe didn’t amount to all that much. What is much more important is the world-building and the characters.
The Book of Koli has excellent world-building. Having read The Girl With All the Gifts, The Boy On the Bridge and Someone Like Me, I was expecting nothing less, but with The Book of Koli, Mr Carey has outdone himself. So let me tell you a little something about Koli’s world.
Koli lives in the village of Mythen Rood, which is walled in and protected. Everyone has a job, Carey has created a whole system here, but the most coveted job of all (to Koli at least), is the job of Rampart, because these are the people who can wake up and operate the technology that is left, little as there is. Rampart Fire has a kind of blowtorch, Rampart Knife has a kind of laser beam thingy. These devices operate on solar energy, they are vital to the village’s survival but they won’t work for just anybody, which means the Ramparts are Mythen Rood’s elite.
Why is defence so important? In Koli’s world, flora is mankind’s biggest worry, and scariest adversary. Years after our deaths, and years before Koli was born, Earth was withering away and scientists genetically manipulated trees and other plants to withstand extreme temperatures and the like. Plant-life thrived. However, it acquired a taste for blood, and became vicious, murderous, extremely dangerous.
The first part of The Book of Koli is establishing Koli’s world. The more I read, the more I became impressed with the cleverness of it all, the minuteness, the intricacies. In short and without revealing too much: political games come to light, and Koli gets mixed up in it all and is forced to set out on an adventure. For me this was highly reminiscent of the final instalment of The Lord of the Rings, where Frodo is out in a hostile world all on his own, and the vibe is very bleak. The Book of Koli is not that kind of adventure at all, there are no evil wizards or Orcs (although I’ll take the Ents over Koli’s trees any day of the week), but the feeling I got while reading was very similar.
Koli is the protagonist, obviously. He’s young, and stupid at times, but he tries his best, and I adore him for it, yet he is not my favourite character. My favourite character is Monono Aware, and she’s not even a real person, she’s AI. She has a surprising character arc and the interaction between her and Koli is just brilliant.
The Book of Koli is an excellent post-apocalyptic story, ending on a cliffhanger, and I can’t wait to find out how Koli’s story will continue. Clever, intricate, though-provoking and heart-breaking, with a hint of coming-of-age, I’ll happily recommend The Book of Koli to anyone who enjoys dystopian tales!