Size Doesn’t Matter (190): Nyxia; The Shattered Warrior

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Size Doesn’t Matter (190): Nyxia; The Shattered WarriorNyxia by Scott Reintgen
Narrator: Sullivan Jones, Dominic Hoffman
Length: 10 hrs, 7 mins
Series: The Nyxia Triad #1
Published by Listening Library on September 12, 2017
Genres: Science Fiction, Adventure
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
AmazonThe Book DepositoryAudible
Goodreads
four-stars

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.

Forever.

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.

Somehow Nyxia managed to fly almost entirely under my radar. I saw the cover because Cover Snark, but I’m really hesitant to pick up book authored by men, so I really hadn’t looked at it too closely. When the audiobook showed up in the PRH email, though, I realized the MC was a POC so I decided to give it a shot. Nyxia‘s mega diverse (something sci fi isn’t always great about—or any genre really) with badass female characters and an exciting plot.

Sullivan Jones does a fabulous job narrating as Emmett Atwater, one of ten teens selected to battle it out for eight jobs for Babel Communications. The winners will be mining the mysterious substance Nyxia on an alien planet, because the aliens will only suffer children to live. As a basic premise, it’s not something completely new. Even from what I’ve read lately, it’s like a mix of What Goes Up (read this!) and Armada (do not read this!), and Ender’s Game is an easy comp too. However, Reintgen manages to take familiar sci fi tropes and make them feel fresh.

Basically the whole of Nyxia consists of the competition to be one of the ones going down to the planet. The first and most obvious way this book differs from similar titles is the sheer amount of diversity. Only one of the ten teens is white. The MC, Emmett, is black. He suspects that Babel chose these specific people from all over the world because, on top of being brilliant, they’re all hungry for this opportunity; they NEED it, because they’re all poor and struggling. Emmett’s mother has high medical bills they can’t afford to pay, and he has to win for her.

The competition itself puts forth unique challenges which are a preview of what will happen on the planet. So, though it’s not the only space competition book out there, the actual way they battle for slots differs from anything I’ve seen before. There’s a nice variety of challenges, so you don’t feel like you’re reading the same thing over and over, and they all seem to relate directly to the job the teens would need to perform. Obviously, I also love that several of the best competitors and strategists are POC girls.

I was a huge fan of this book, and I’m really looking forward to the next one. I will absolutely stick with the audiobook, and I really hope Sullivan Jones sticks around.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

 

Size Doesn’t Matter (190): Nyxia; The Shattered WarriorShattered Warrior by Sharon Shinn
Published by First Second on May 16, 2017
Genres: Science Fiction, Romance
Pages: 246
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
AmazonThe Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars

It's been eight years since Colleen Cavenaugh's home world was conquered by the Derichets. These aliens are bent on harvesting the planet's resources to fuel their warships, no matter the cost to its human natives. Any defiance of the Derichets' rule--the smallest step out of line--can get you beaten, sent to a work camp, or even executed.

Colleen's family is gone, killed in the war. She lives alone, far from the chaos of the city, far from the alien overseers and the dangerous gangs. Her only friends are the other humans who toil in the Derichet factory and, against all likelihood, a Derichet overseer. Colleen knows the safest thing to do is comply with the Derichet regime...until the day when the recklessly brave Jann and a violent gang of rebels called the Chromatti invade her quiet rural home. Now Colleen must decide if it's worth risking the survival of her newfound family to join the growing underground revolution against the Derichets and help free her world.

It shouldn’t be a surprise that I’ve developed a Sharon Shinn obsession this year. Summers at Castle Auburn was the cutest thing ever, and all of the Elemental Blessings books were thoroughly delightful. Shinn’s well on her way to taking over a full shelf in my library. Shattered Warrior isn’t as good as her novels, but I very much enjoyed it.

While I love graphic novels, a single standalone graphic novel of 246 pages isn’t enough space for a particularly elaborate story. As it is, I liked it quite a bit, but, with double or triple the length, Shattered Warrior could have been truly outstanding. This graphic novel feels like a beginning more than it feels like a complete tale, especially given the open ending.

Shattered Warrior is a sci fi story, where humans have been taken over by vaguely humanoid aliens called the Derichets. The Derichets force the humans to work for them in mines and factories, producing what the Derichets need to further expand into the solar system. The heroine, Colleen, joins the resistance. She also meets a cute boy named Jann, who I’m pretty sure is bisexual, though it’s not explicitly stated. The romance is cute, but it’s not life-destroying in the best way like most of Shinn’s ships, because, again, the brevity means that nothing gets as well developed as it could have been. Given that Shinn excels at slow burn romances, this isn’t the ideal format for her work, sadly.

If you’re a fan of Shinn, it’s worth reading, but it probably won’t end up on your favorites list. If you’re more generally looking for more graphic novels, this is one of the best I’ve read from First Second, and it would make a nice follow up to Marissa Meyer’s Iko books if that whet your whistle for a new format.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

2 responses to “Size Doesn’t Matter (190): Nyxia; The Shattered Warrior”

  1. Befrore even reaqdin either of them, I put Nyxia and Dare Mighty Things (an upcoming book that also follows young people competing for a place on a space mission) on my blog list of books that could become TV shows. SJ Kincaid’s Insignia was the other SF option on the list.

    Anyway, after finally reading it, I mostly enjoyed the story and am definitely looking forward to the rest of the series, though I had mixed feelings about how one character conveniently stepped up to replace another towards the end of the book.

    • Christina Franke says:

      I agree about that. If it weren’t for that, I’d have given the book a higher rating, because I was really into it, but that left a bad taste in my mouth.

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