Published: September 12th, 2017 by Crown Books for Young Readers | Series: Nyxia Triad #1 | Length: 384 pages | Genre: YA sci-fi | Source: Received from the publisher via NetGalley | Content Warning: violence, torture
Summary from Goodreads:
Every life has a price in this sci-fi thriller that has the nonstop action of The Maze Runner and the high-stakes space setting of Illuminae. This is the first in a new three-book series called the Nyxia Triad that will take a group of broken teens to the far reaches of the universe and force them to decide what they’re willing to risk for a lifetime of fortune.
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 a new YA sci-fi book, the first in a trilogy, that features a cutthroat competition set in space. Everything about this immediately appealed to me. While it initially took me a little while to really get into, Nyxia ended up really delivering. If you’re looking for a great YA sci-fi to read, this should definitely be a contender.
One of the things that initially appealed to me was that I saw a few bloggers pitching this as a more diverse version of The Hunger Games. And, well, that’s a pretty accurate assessment. The main cast of characters comes from all over the world. I especially appreciated that the characters weren’t just white American characters given different races or ethnicities. What I mean by this is that the characters hold beliefs and act in ways that are indicative of the culture they grew up in. Obviously, I can’t speak to whether or not everything was actually accurate, but I really enjoyed seeing these different beliefs and values come face-to-face in the competition.
Another thing I really loved about Nyxia was how well Reintgen captured the differences in wealth between lower classes and upper-class people. All of the kids that were chosen for this trip to Eden are poor and Babel completely exploits that to get what they want. Babel wants people who are willing to risk everything to get them Nyxia and they know that these kids are so poor that a lifetime full of riches and luxury is enough incentive to turn them into what Babel wants. Depressing? Yeah, kind of. But it’s so eerily accurate to reality. Reintgen did a truly great job of capturing both the desperation that often drives poor people and the greed that often drives corporations and the wealthy.
The pressure that Emmett feels both to do well in the competition and to still be a good person was another very strong point in the novel. All of the recruits have to compete for their chance to get to Eden and Emmett desperately wants to be one of those chosen to go. His family is very poor and his mom is sick which makes the prizes that Babel is offering that much more important to him, considering that money and access to resources could completely change his life. He sees everyone as a potential barrier to his success, yet certain actions and tasks have him wondering if all of this is really worth it. How far will he go to get money for his family? And is that money worth losing his humanity and the values that his parents have ingrained in him? There are other characters in the competition who are still very kind to the other competitors despite also wanting/needing to do well and this makes Emmett question whether or not he’s doing the right thing by keeping everyone at an arm’s length, seeing them as nothing more than competition. It was incredibly interesting and, at times, heartbreaking to see Emmett grapple with these issues. Again, Reintgen did an excellent job of capturing these issues that can be very relevant to the real world.
Like I said at the start of my review, if you’re looking for a new YA sci-fi book to read, Nyxia definitely should be a contender. With a diverse cast of characters and a cutthroat competition, Reintgen truly manages to capture many of the issues of our world and reflects them in a way that really makes you think, all while being completely entertained by the story you’re reading. Although it missed that little extra something to make this a five-star read for me, I can easily see this becoming a new favorite for many readers.
Thank you to the publisher for providing me with an eARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.