I received this book via Netgalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of this review.Nyxia by Scott Reintgen
Series: The Nyxia Triad #1
Published by Crown Books for Young Readers on 2017-09-12
Length: 384 pages
Reviewing eARC from Netgalley
Reading Challenges: #NGEW2017, 2017 New Release Challenge
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.
I really, really wanted to like Nyxia by Scott Reintgen, but sadly it was not my favorite read this year. I have found that I love the scifi genre this year, especially those that fall into the space opera category. I set my expectations too high for this book. That doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it. On the contrary I did enjoy some parts, other parts not so much.
Nyxia by Scott Reintgen is the first in a new series about a group of teens that are sent to an alien planet to mine an all-purpose mineral. Why send teens? Because the aliens are hostile towards adults but favor children. Seems sketchy? Yeah that’s because it is. As the book unfolds, more secrets are revealed and the less you like the company the teens are there to work for.
What I enjoyed
I really enjoyed the Hunger Game vibe I got from the competition these teens are in. When they are first hired for the job, they don’t realize that they are competing for one of 8 spots to go down to the planet. If they are chosen, then these teens will be rich beyond measure. If not, they will still be rich, just not as rich. The competition itself is really a teaching tool so the teens will learn what they need to know about Nyxia (how to use it, mine it, etc) and the planet Eden. It’s high stakes, adventurous, and fast-paced. I caught myself holding my breath and cheering the characters on as they competed.
I liked Nyxia itself. The mineral is alien and foreign. It’s almost like it is symbiont, thinking and adapting to its environment. I loved what the teens learned about the mineral and how they learn to control it. Personally I wouldn’t mind to have my own stash of the mineral. It would definitely come in handy. There would be no need to buy appliances anymore if I could make my own with a thought.
The diversity!!! The ten teens were from all over the world. There were Africans, Americans, Japanese, a Swede, Brazilian, Middle Eastern…you get the picture. And with the exception of a couple of characters, the teens worked together towards a common goal. I liked this! I liked how their cultures were subtly added to the story rather than it being an info dump.
What I disliked
Nyxia….so as cool as this mineral is, it was hard to imagine it. In a way, nyxia became a scapegoat for the answers to all the questions the teens brought up. Why are they not experiencing zero gravity? Nyxia lines the space craft. How do teens from all over the world speak the same language? The masks they wear are infused with nyxia. How can they travel thousands of light years in a months? Nyxia. Do you see where I’m going with this? One of the reasons I love sci-fi is the blending of current science/technology with fictional technology that is believable.
Emmett. While he is the main character, I had a hard time liking him. Maybe it’s because he started off playing the race card right from the beginning of the book without knowing anything about the other characters except their skin color. I think this was done intentionally to show character growth and thankfully he does grow throughout the book, but it was hard to like a character that would see me and dislike me because we are different on the outside.
Slow pace. While the action (when it was happening) was fast-paced and exciting, the rest of the story dragged on. Maybe it was my own expectations that caused this but I struggled to finish the book. I kept waiting for answers to questions that Emmett and other characters would bring up about the aliens, the planet Eden, and why we wanted Nyxia. I struggled guys, really struggled and finished it with no answers and a lot of build up to essentially nothing.
Overall while I enjoyed some aspects of Nyxia, others I struggled through. I think that this book is a good set-up to the series and maybe would have worked better for me if it was a shorter, prequel novella to the series rather than the first book. The sequel has a lot of work cut out for it in building the alien-world and fleshing out the characters more, specifically the insta-love that felt rushed in the last third of the book. If you enjoy sci-fi, maybe you’ll enjoy this one. It just wasn’t for me.