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The Book of Koli by M.R. Carey

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The Book of Koli by M.R. Carey
UK Publication Date: 16th April 2020
Reviewed by: Book Worm
Rating: [★★★★]

This ARC was provided by Little Brown Book Group UK (via NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review.

Welcome to Ingland in all her post-apocalyptic glory…

Synopsis from Goodreads: Beyond the walls of the small village of Mythen Rood lies an unrecognizable world. A world where overgrown forests are filled with choker trees and deadly vines and seeds that will kill you where you stand. And if they don’t get you, one of the dangerous shunned men will.

Koli has lived in Mythen Rood his entire life. He knows the first rule of survival is that you don’t venture beyond the walls.

What he doesn’t know is – what happens when you aren’t given a choice?

The first in a gripping new trilogy, The Book of Koli charts the journey of one unforgettable young boy struggling to find his place in a chilling post-apocalyptic world. Perfect for readers of Station Eleven and Annihilation.

Book Worm’s Thoughts: One word review = WOW. Recommendation = Read it!

This book was just what I needed to take me away from the reality that is a world fighting Coronavirus.

Goodreads mentions Station Eleven and Annihilation neither of which I have read instead I personally felt like I was back on a journey with my old friend Roland Deschain. The world Carey has created feels like it could exist on one of the crumbing beams that lead to the Dark Tower.

I have read some reviews that complain the language the author writes in is gimmicky and this turned them off the book. Fair play, I can respect that. For me it was this language that dragged me head first into the story from the opening line.

“I got a story to tell you. I’ve been meaning to make a start for a long while now, and this is me doing it, but I’m warning you it might be a bumpy road. I never done nothing like this before, so I got no map, as it were, and I can’t figure how much of what happened to me is worth telling.” And bang I was hooked. Who is the you the story is being told to? Where are we? How did we get here?

The book moves along at a fairly slow pace but as this is a character study and a book about world building that didn’t bother me in the slightest. I wanted to learn about Koli’s daily life; his hopes and fears and his friends and family. All of this detail enabled me to imagine the village and the world outside. At the half way point things pick up and pace and bam there is a whole other world outside the gate just waiting to be discovered.

I love the philosophical thoughts:

“There’s only ever one day that matters, and it moves along with you.” Truth!

And the way storytelling is explained:

“It’s so their names won’t fall out of the world and be forgotten. I owe them better, and so you do.” 

“Most things in a story got to stay in their right place, or they won’t make no sense at all. But there’s other things that only come to make sense a long time after they’re done with.”

“It never stops amazing me how a story can deliver you out of your own self, even in the worst of times.”

And on top of the writing that transported me away from the 4 walls that have constituted my life under lock down we get to meet the probably the best AI character I have ever encountered. Monono Aware. A Japanese woman who is so much more than what she was designed to be.

My one complaint about this book? I have to wait until September for Book 2. I mean really M.R. Carey could you not work from home a little harder and give this reader a very early Christmas Present? Pretty please.

Who would like this? I would recommend this to fans of Post-apocalyptic fiction that is not too violent. Those who enjoy novels about people and world building and anyone who wants to revisit the Beam in a different way.

We want to hear from you! Have you read this book? What did you think?

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