The Girl With All the Gifts and The Boy on the Bridge were books that I loved and that have stayed with me. Now, Carey has a new trilogy, the first of which is The Book of Koli.
Koli begins by telling us that he has to start at the beginning to tell his tale. He then recounts his life in Mythen Rood, a small village that struggles to keep safe in a post-apocalyptic world.
At first, he is Koli Woodsmith, and describes his family, friendships, and much about how the village operates. Then, at fifteen young people take a new name, and he becomes Koli Waiting. Those who turn fifteen take the name Waiting as they are housed together waiting for the test that will determine whether of not they become Rampart. Most young people desperately want to become Rampart because a Rampart can "awaken" the few pieces of tech that have survived. The Ramparts have a rarefied place in society and are charged with the protection of the village in several ways because certain tech weapons have "wakened" to them.
The beginning is a little slow, but as Koli reveals information in his own particular order, mentioning characters and events, then saying he will get to them later, as he attempts to tell his story in a chronological frame. Gradually the narrative picks up speed and interest until the reader is immersed in Koli's world and events.
Koli suffers a disappointment at the Testing and realizes he is not able to become a Rampart, and when this is followed by another disappointment, circumstances combine to reveal a shocking truth: the Testing is not fair and has never been. Koli, frustrated and angry, makes some choices that will have consequences and long-term effects.
There is an honesty to Koli's account of events. He includes his mistakes and his shame for some of his behavior, even though he acknowledges his youth, his immaturity, and his lack of knowledge (a result of the isolation of the village). He gives accurate descriptions of his friends and fellow villagers instead of vilifying them. The coming-of-age element is an important part of the narrative, especially as Koli meets Ursula and Monomo, and begins what Joseph Campbell refers to as the hero's journey.
OK. The Book of Koli was a fascinating beginning to the Rampart Trilogy, and if you have enjoyed M.R. Carey's previous books, you may find this one as intriguing and thought-provoking as The Girl With All the Gifts and The Boy on the Bridge. I can't wait for the next one. Recommended!
Dystopian/Science Fiction. April 14, 2020. Print length: 416 pages.