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The Trials of Koli

von M. R. Carey

Reihen: Rampart Trilogy (2)

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Man I'm just zipping through this trilogy...now I have to wait until March to read the next one!
I like getting to hear Spinner's perspective in this one - it's helping me to understand Koli a bit better too. He truly is an oblivious do-gooder. I'm glad Spinner's getting fleshed out more too, in the last book she did just seem like a personality-less prize that Koli and his friend were sort of competing over.
I'm also interested in the idea of being crossed - trans in our terminology. It seems like humans gon human, because there are some groups/villages who will say you're not normal and will try to convert you back to being "normal", and some who are cool with it and feel like it's just another way that people can be. ( )
  katebrarian | Jan 5, 2021 |
The Trials of Koli is the second book in the Rampart Trilogy by M.R. Carey. I read the first book, The Book of Koli , earlier this year. (my review) I've been eagerly awaiting the next tale.
I don't read a lot of sci fi or fantasy, but if the setting is post apocalyptic, it's one I definitely want to read. I am fascinated by the imaginings of what the world might be like if....

In Carey's book, it is sometime in the future and the human race has been decimated. Small pockets of survivors live in their own fortified villages and encampments. Society has reverted to a much earlier time with survival being the goal. Nature has turned on humans, with predator plants and trees. Tech from the past is revered. And more.

Koli from Mythen Rood is the protagonist in this trilogy. Without spoiling things for a new reader, Koli has left his village and is travelling with his compatriots towards a signal. Who could be still broadcasting? Is it simply a computer still functioning somewhere? Or could it be a group farther along in rebuilding than those in Koli's sphere?

The great thing about post apocalyptic books is you have no idea what to expect. The plot could go anywhere - and I really like being unable to predict a book.

Koli is a great protagonist. He's still young and not as jaded as his elders. He sees and thinks and still hopes. It is his voice that drove the first book. I was happily surprised to find in this second book that there is an alternating narrative - that of Koli's friend Spinner, back in Mythen Rood. She too is facing trials - mostly from within even as Koli weathers what is outside the gates and beyond.

Danger is ever present and the book is action filled. I stayed up late quickly turning pages. And the ending? Nicely set up for the The Fall of Koli, the final entry in this trilogy, due out in March 2021. That's a bit of an ominous title isn't it? I'm quite eager to see how the journey ends.

The Trials of Koli was addictive reading for me. I enjoyed the speculative writing of Carey... and tried to keep my mind from wondering 'what if' in these crazy times... ( )
  Twink | Nov 19, 2020 |
I am a huge fan of M.R. Carey's writing so when I saw The Trials of Koli on Netgalley, I jumped at the opportunity to read it. I didn't realize it was the second in a series but it turned out it didn't matter because I loved it even with the references to the first novel. As in Carey's other books eg The Girl with All the Gifts, the story is set in some dystopian future and the world-building in this future Britain is fascinating right down to nature, the remnants of tech left from some ancient (but future for the reader) before period, but especially the characters who make it completely unputdownable. This is one of my favourite books so far this year and I recommend it highly but I suspect you might want to start with the first. I have already purchased it and now I'm just waiting impatiently until the next in the series comes out.

( )
  lostinalibrary | Oct 30, 2020 |
A simply terrific follow-up to the first book in the trilogy. Lots of action, lots of character development, and finally more details about the killer trees. As in the first book, I loved the AI character, and in this edition, we get Koli and Cup maturing a bit and cranky Ursula softening a bit. I wasn't so sure about adding Spinner's perspective, but loved it in the end. Can't wait for book #3. ( )
  RandyRasa | Oct 25, 2020 |
I received this novel from the Orbit Books, through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review: my thanks to both of them for this opportunity.

When I saw in my inbox a very unexpected email from Orbit announcing the ARC’s availability for the second book in M.R. Carey’s Rampart trilogy, I did not hesitate in requesting it because The Book of Koli, the first volume, was one of my best 2020 discoveries so far, and I was more than eager to learn how the protagonist’s journey away from his home village progressed. In the second volume, the focus on this post-apocalyptic world widens a little as Koli, Ursala and Cup travel in the direction of London, but character evolution remains front and center, with some interesting shifts in the interpersonal dynamics that offer promising developments for the future.

To recap the story so far: a series of environmental catastrophes and the Unfinished War left the world in shambles, and what remains of humanity seems confined only in small enclaves with little or no contact with the rest of the world. In the 200-souls village where young Koli lives the few, highly prized items of technology still functioning are in the hands of the Ramparts, the de facto leaders of the community, whose power is passed on only to the members of the Vennastin family. Once Koli discovers that the ability to wield the old tech is not tied to the Vennastins alone, he’s exiled and left to fend for himself in a world that’s become dangerous in many ways, and only his encounter first with Ursala, a sort of traveling healer, and then Cup, the former member of a death cult, increases his chances of survival and leads him on a coming-of-age and discovery journey toward London, fabled place of tech and progress.

One of the surprises of this book was that the narrative viewpoint is split between Koli and Co. on one side, and his former home of Mythen Rood on the other, through the voice of Spinner, Koli’s old friend and one-time lover, as she chronicles the events following his exile: it’s an intriguing choice, when considering the first book’s single point of view, and also a clever one because it keeps the pace lively by alternating between the two story threads, while showing how Koli’s discoveries have ultimately opened the Pandora’s box of the Vennastins’ secret and hinting at great changes in Mythen Rood’s power balance. Spinner is revealed as a layered character: at first she seems only interested in attaching herself to the Vennastins for convenience, but then she surprises the readers - and herself - by acknowledging how those apparently selfish choices have changed her and the way she looks at the world and her role in it. In the course of the story Spinner undergoes great adjustments which parallel the unsettling transformations in her small community: Koli started to perceive the possibility of a different reality through his connection with the Dream Sleeve, the piece of tech he claimed for himself, and its A.I. Monono, while Spinner here becomes aware of the wider world through a series of events that force her to mature quickly and to understand how the limited vision imposed by village life could be ultimately precarious and deadly.

For their part, Koli, Ursala and Cup (and Monono, as well) have formed an uneasy relationship: the crusty healer does not trust Cup, whose former attachment to a murderous cult makes her understandably suspicious, nor does she trust Monono and the increased abilities gained after the A.I. downloaded additional software - Ursala’s repeated requests that Koli reset the Dream Sleeve to factory standards drive a wedge of uncertainty between them that mars their former teacher/student relationship. The dangers of the road, however, will change this balance and force the four of them to acknowledge the respective strengths, and to depend on each other for survival: the shift from grudging tolerance to playful banter and then to a sense of family is one of the most delightful surprises of the story, as are the growing friendship between Koli and Cup, the latter’s conflict with her sexuality and Ursala’s flourishing “maternal” attitude toward her charges.

Still, dangers indeed abound in the wider world: there are some sections where the small company has to fight for their lives, not just because of the natural perils of the world - like wildly mutated animals and trees - but also because of other humans who have not lost the old, ingrained penchant for dominance through aggression. There are also moments when the catastrophe that obliterated the old world manifests itself in dramatic evidence, as is the case with Koli’s first view of what remains of Birmingham: a huge field of bones that has him reacting in fear and dismay as he contemplates both the amount of people once inhabiting the land and the magnitude of the event that caused their demise, so that he feels overwhelmed by “more feeling than I could rightly manage all at once”.

If The Trials of Koli suffers a little (but only a little) from the dreaded middle book syndrome, particularly in the section devoted to the characters’ stay in the coastal village of Many Fishes, it also sets the stage for what promises to be a momentous conclusion, where hopefully many of the questions concerning the wider world and what really happened to it will be answered: the cliffhanger ending of Book 2 left me with a burning curiosity to see where the story is headed, and I’m comforted by the short interval between the first two volumes but still eager to see for myself where Koli’s journey will move next and how the developments in Mythen Rood will intersect with the main narrative. I’m certain that Book 3 will provide those answers with the intensity I’ve come to expect from this author. ( )
  SpaceandSorcery | Aug 14, 2020 |
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