The Book of Koli by Mike Carey is a dystopian novel mixed with elements of sci-fi that absolutely blew me away. It paints a vivid picture of a world in which humanity has been sent back to primitive times living in small tribe like communities. Climate change and wars have destroyed the world and trees and nature have become our biggest enemy due to scientists playing God. Who would’ve thought vegetables would be out to kill us.Technology as we know it has been reduced only to relics that only work for a chosen few. These technologies of old are essentially what keeps the balance between life and death for the communities in question. However, it’s only a selected few who handle these weapons and are known as Ramparts.
The story is told through the perspective of a young boy called Koli who lives in the village of Mythen Road with his mother and siblings. Mythen Road is basically a reimagination of a post apocalyptic England in the long distant future. Koli like many of the people of Mythen Road is illiterate which is due to not being taught to read or write properly. This is shown very well in the dialogue between the characters and through Koli’s thoughts.There are walls built around this small village of Mythen Road due to the dangers that lurk outside of it. The world as we know it has changed drastically as nature has basically taken over. Trees come alive and try to eat you, choker trees release seeds that get into your skin causing plants to push outside of your body and many more terrible things ready to kill you. That’s why Koli has never ventured outside of the walls as he knows that if he wants to survive as long as possible, venturing outside of the walls is a grave mistake.
There are those who have ventured outside of the walls. Many of these people though have been expelled from their villages and thus become known as “Shunned Men”.
When Koli discovers that the Ramparts and those in power have been hiding secrets from the village, he is soon in the position of those who have been forced to leave the village. Now exiled and deemed a “Faceless Man”, Koli must do all he can to survive in this scary and changed world.
So The Book of Koli is the first time I’ve read anything by Mike Carey. My good friend Nils told me she loved his previous novel The Girl with All the Gifts and I also recently learned he writes comics too! I’m happy to say that I wasn’t disappointed and can’t wait to read more of the things he has written.I’ve always been a fan of dystopian novels in general so it was a real treat to be given the opportunity to read this early. I loved how the world has basically gone backwards, it was like pressing the restart button and returning a device to it’s factory settings lol.I thoroughly enjoyed how gloom and doom everything had become as it made it super interesting to see how people are surviving with the common technology we use in the real world today.
It also in all honesty made me so frickin scared that we ourselves might be headed in the same direction as this story if we don’t do better to stop climate change and playing around with nature
.I also really enjoyed all of the characters especially Koli, Ursula and Monono. Koli is a really likeable character and although he is illiterate, he is really intelligent. I thought the dialogue used to portray Koli as being illiterate was really well done and shows how primitive things have become. I actually felt pretty sorry for Koli as he goes through a lot in the story and is essentially the underdog.
The character of Ursula was very very interesting. Ursula is basically a doctor in this world and brings along with a machine called “The Drudge”. It holds everything from medical supplies, equipment and even a trusty gatalan gun 🙇🏽♂️. She soon becomes Koli’s mentor in a way by sharing what’s going on in the outside world and makes him aware of the technology the Ramparts are hiding. I am really hoping we find out more about her backstory in the second book. She has this mysterious thing going on that has me intrigued.
But the star of the book for me was definitely Monono, a piece of tech that Koli discovers that soon becomes Koli’s truest allies. Monono is basically a really intelligent AI music player that Koli finds. But as we find out she is more than just a music player, much more. The dialogue between Koli and Monono was brilliant and
I thoroughly enjoyed Monono’s sense of humour and witty remarks. Monono’s dialogue allows her to be differentiated between others which was really cool.So yeah overall a fantastic read. The friendship that blossoms between both Koli ,Monono and Ursula was really touching and I can’t wait to see what more adventures the three of them get up to 😊. I feel that there is so much more ahead and just know that the next book is going to be even better .Thank you to the absolutely wonderful Nazia and the Orbit team for sending me an early copy. The book is out in the UK on the 16th of April!