The Trials of Koli by M.R. Carey

“There can’t be any rules in the telling of stories…as to the happiness or sadness of it, that depends on where you’re standing.”

The Trials of Koli by M.R. Carey

Please note I was gifted this ARC from a friend.

I’m attempting to write this review having finished The Fall of Koli as well. I’m going to do my best to contain this review to the second book of the Rampart trilogy, despite the fact that I want to ramble and gush about how amazing this entire series has been.

As I mentioned in my last review, the Rampart trilogy is set in a dystopian world where nature is a predator that humans have to guard themselves against. Trees drop choker seeds that can kill you just by latching onto your skin and monsters stalk the forests. But the environment isn’t the only danger. With tech being a rare commodity, other villages will do anything to possess as much of it as possible.

In the second novel of this series, we get alternating points of view, flipping between Koli and Spinner. Koli is traveling with Ursala, Cup and Monono to London, following a signal that Monono has picked up. Spinner remains in Mythen Rood with her husband Jon. I absolutely loved getting Spinner’s point of view in this book. She was not my favorite character in book one. I liked her, but I found myself upset with some of her decisions. I knew she didn’t marry Jon because she loved him. She married him because he was a Rampart, and she didn’t choose Koli because she didn’t believe him to be strong enough. Yet my opinion of Spinner drastically changed with this book.

In Mythen Rood, Ramparts are named when the tech answers to them. But what the people of Mythen Rood don’t know is that most of the tech will answer for anyone if you happen to understand it. This is what got Koli booted from Mythen Rood and named Koli Faceless in the first book. But in this novel, Spinner makes the same discovery when Rampart Remember asks for her help using his tech. Time is running out for the people of Mythen Rood. A virus is beginning to sweep through their village, and Spinner is the only one who can help save them. But to do that, she must learn the truth about the Ramparts and break all the rules she’s ever known.

Meanwhile, Koli and the others continue to travel to London, following the signal Monono found. They are hoping to find the city, but along the way they encounter many hardships. They also begin to learn a lot more about the world around them and themselves.

I definitely struggle with writing book reviews that don’t spoil too much. This book was absolutely freaking fantastic. It’s pure perfection. I loved watching the characters in this book grow and develop. Koli becomes so much stronger in this book, and his passion for those he cares about bleeds into every page. There is a moment- and I don’t really want to spoil it (so I guess you’re going to have to read it)- where Koli defends Cup to Ursala in a pretty big way. This is hands down one of my favorite moments in the series, and I love that Koli’s reaction in this scene was without hesitation. He sees people and tech like Monono for who they believe themselves to be and not what society believes that they should be. I’m ugly crying just thinking about it.

And speaking of Ursala and Cup, my favorite relationship was between the two of them. They went from hating each other profusely to bonding in a way I only hoped for but never imagined. It was stunning, honestly.

I’m pretty much obsessed with M.R. Carey and his writing style. I cannot even fathom the words it would take to describe his genius and talent. He is on an entire other level. This book is full of such complex, well-developed characters who feel so real to me. This world that they live in is not the Earth that I want to live in, but I definitely felt as if I were stepping through their journeys with them. And this book definitely gave me more questions. Trust me, you get a lot of answers to certain questions in this book, but you come up with even more questions that will drive you to read the third book.

Again, I don’t really recommend buying The Book of Koli without also buying The Trials of Koli and The Fall of Koli at the same time. Just do yourself the favor so you’re not waiting for the next two. I will be reeling from the emotional impact of this series for a long time to come.

“There is a game that old people play that really is no game at all. They look at how the world is now, and remember how it was, and those two things come more and more to seem like a hell and a heaven.”

The Trials of Koli by M.R. Carey

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