Actual Rating: 4.5
Wow, this was amazing, and to be honest, really not what I expected! It’s got a bit of a dystopian feel to it, and there’s that same competition aspect that we’ve seen in typical YA novels like Divergent, Throne of Glass, or The Hunger Games– but I will admit that it continues to be one of my favorite cliches, and believe me when I say this book made it work.
Nyxia is a substance that competitors can manipulate, and only the strongest can make it to Eden, a new planet. The kids have got to run through obstacle courses, fight one another, and train with Nyxia – which turns out to have some unfortunate side effects. Emmett is desperate to get to Eden – but so are many others – and as the line between right and wrong become blurrier, he’s got to choose between staying true to himself and getting the life he’s always wanted.
I loved the variety of characters, and one thing that really stood out to me about the characters was that there was so much diversity. They came from all around the world, and believe it or not I feel like this actually added to the “space” feeling of the book, because it emphasized the earth as one and unified people with a common goal.
I saw some people in other reviews comment on the lack of the “space” feeling, and I actually do have to agree with that. The book was still interesting and unique, but there wasn’t that many extraterrestrial encounters or observations about the universe. I do understand that this book is the just the first in the series though, and I can tell it’s going to get much more into all that in later books.
The plot was super interesting! I wouldn’t call it full of action exactly but it kept me intrigued with a sort of anticipatory curiosity. That’s not to say that there weren’t any surprises though, as the book definitely threw lots of curveballs. I was really interested in Emmett’s mental growth throughout the story as well, and I really liked that, unlike lots of teenage main characters who simply learn how to fight and look badass, Emmett learned strategy and how to think for himself and make hard decisions.
The writing style was that of any other YA novel, but because the main character developed so well the narrative was engaging and thoughtful. Overall, I’d definitely recommend this book to any readers of YA or the dystopian genre, and I hope you all enjoy it as much as I did.