I received a free digital copy of this book from the publishers via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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.
Nyxia is the first in a new three-book sci-fi young adult series that sees main character, Emmett Atwater, pitted against a number of other contestants in a bid to see who will make it onto the new planet of Eden thus creating a new life for themselves, and their families back home on Earth. Emmett and his fellow rivals must fight against, and work together in a series of tasks that score them points based on wins and losses. They must each prove themselves in some way, whether this be leadership or tactics. At the end of it though, a few of them will not make it onto this new and exciting planet and Emmett will face more than he bargained for, questioning his own development every step of the way.
Young adult science fiction is a genre that is slowly getting better with time. As our generation grows up and teenagers/young adults become more mature, the genre is having to grow with them providing scenarios where younger characters must face the truth of the situation and become more than what they are, taking on burdens and challenges that you would expect of someone older. Nyxia is one of those novels that brings this forward, posing similarities to The Illuminae Files whilst also bringing its own originality in the form of tasks and challenges that pits the contestants on a scoreboard to see who will make it to the end. Nyxia was definitely unique in what it brought to the table and I found myself drawn in almost instantly, questioning everything alongside Emmett in trying to understand why each person was chosen and what they could bring to their future on Eden.
Reintgen brings each character to life with their different cultures, mannerisms, and beliefs. I enjoyed that this novel was multi-racial and that each individual had an interesting backstory and a solid reason for putting themselves at risk in order to help others – it helped to bring a lot more emotion to the story when faced with each character slowly hardening and almost losing all emotion as the challenges progress. Reingten’s writing in bringing these characters to life is simple yet vivid, with no floweriness in description. What you see is what you get. Emmett’s character is by far the most developed come the end of the novel, as he has faced experiences that have hit him harder than anyone else. Throughout the novel there is the question of what is right and wrong, and whether Emmett – in these situations – is just as bad as everyone else. However, it is thanks to communication with his family (though few and far between) that helps him to remain grounded and understand why he is doing this, and what it would mean to those surrounding him. You can also see his changes in the way Emmett sees the competition, at first telling himself that he cannot make friends and looking out for number one, to finding himself concerned for the well-being of others who may have helped him. The majority of the other characters stay resolutely the same throughout, only showing the occasional compassionate or varied emotion at a time when it is least expected.
Though the general arc of the storyline was relatively straightforward and predictable: it was almost guaranteed that Emmett would struggle with his position on the scoreboard – Reintgen did provide a series of twists throughout the novel, particularly towards the end which helped to make the novel more interesting and thrilling. A lot of questions were provided surrounding the company of Babel Communications, moreso towards the end with a lot of these questions left open-ended following the novels finish. With that in mind, I cannot wait for the next in the series and to see how Emmett progresses and changes in Eden considering the way the situation has changed.