The Book of Koli

Orbit: Hachette. (Rampart Trilogy, Bk. 1). Apr. 2020. 416p. ISBN 9780316477536. pap. $13.74. HORROR
Teenage Koli lives in a small village surrounded by high walls that separate the people from a postapocalyptic world in which the flora, fauna, and “shunned men” are violent and deadly. When Koli is forced by the village elders into the world outside, he embarks on a dangerous quest to uncover the truth about what caused this nightmarish hellscape. Strong worldbuilding dominates the measured pace of the novel’s first half; the latter half features brisk adventure and a pulse-pounding race toward a cliffhanger ending. Koli narrates this work of sf horror in a peculiar dialect; while readers may find it initially awkward, the language reflects the extreme isolation experienced by the villagers. Told with the same stellar storytelling chops that have rightfully earned Carey (The Girl with All the Gifts) fans across the globe, this is a menacing, thought-provoking tale that asks readers to consider how the past informs the present and how technology affects the natural world—sometimes with dangerous consequences.
VERDICT This first installment in a planned trilogy is a disorienting look at a dystopian future that is firmly rooted in the concerns and issues of our current moment. Likely to appeal to fans of Jeff Vandermeer’s novels and Carrie Vaughn’s “Bannerless” trilogy.
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