The Book of Koli by M.R. Carey

Title: The Book of Koli.
Series: Rampart Trilogy #1.
Writer(s): M.R. Carey.
Publisher: Orbit.
Format: Paperback.
Release Date: April 14th, 2020.
Pages: 416.
Genre(s): Fantasy.
ISBN13:  9780316477536.
My Overall Rating: ★★★★☆.


We are the byproduct of our education. What we learn throughout time is what guides us and limits our knowledge about the world. Suffice to be fed lies and to obliviously obey to authority for one to absorb everything they are fed without second-guessing and to live their life without ever verifying this so-called truth. The frustration that, however, comes with the truth, a truth that is finally discovered and acknowledged, will, fortunately, unveil a whole different shade of the world that will, therefore, lead us down a path where choice becomes a gift. It is when learning this truth that we are offered a  form of salvation for one’s self that is worth hunting down no matter the costs. Author M.R. Carey (also known under the name of Mike Carey) is an acclaimed comic book writer and horror/fantasy writer who now begins his brand-new Rampart Trilogy with a tale of a new dystopian world stripped of its advanced technological past.

What is The Book of Koli about? Being the first book in the Rampart Trilogy, the story focuses on the young Koli from Mythen Rood in a far post-apocalyptic future where the forest around his camp is overgrown and brimming inhabitual vegetation with deadly features. Having thrived his entire life in this small village where everyone is entitled with a role that will assure the survival of one another, Koli is in a hurry to finally join the ranks of the Ramparts, rulers of the village capable of magically awakening old tech, as he approaches adulthood. With or without new responsibilities, he, however, inconspicuously learns the dark secrets of the Ramparts that have been withheld from everyone regarding the past, the tech, and also what is beyond the walls. What comes next is a journey that never thought he’d be able to tell us today.

“Weakness is a matter of context, Koli Woodsmith.

Until it becomes a matter of logistics.”

— M.R. Carey

This coming-of-age dystopian story successfully accomplishes the impossible by plunging readers into a world seemingly archaic resolved in abiding by laws that assure order, discipline, and structure amongst villagers. With traditions and customs that successfully kept these villagers safe from the dangers that lied in the plants themselves and from any human that could be living outside their hold, the story quickly established Koli as a young protagonist with naive dreams revolving around newly-acquired responsibilities that comes with adulthood but also the idea of wielding one of the old tech passed down upon reaching adulthood. However, writer M.R. Carey doesn’t refrain himself from surprising readers with a twist in the world-building with the arrival of Ursula-from-Elsewhere and Monono Aware.

It’s through almost quirky exposition achieved through the aforementioned characters that he fluidly creates a post-apocalyptic world that is magical in its own right. Monono’s character in particular, through some of the most loose-lipped and silly banter, managed to describe a very familiar world that especially technology-savvy individuals today will find engaging and amusing to discover. It is, however, through Koli’s character that a lot of the narrative flows through as his understanding of the world and his unique voice—observed through his narration thanks to his unconventional grammar and limited vocabulary—make him a peculiar and enthralling vessel for this adventure where he learns the importance of a name and the baggage that comes with it, from the story of a person to their place in the world. As danger converges onto him, compassion is solicited from readers for this character who’s innocence is heartfelt and his growth inspiring.

The Book of Koli is an authentic and eccentric story where a bleak post-apocalyptic world filled with killer vegetation meets a technology-heavy past.


Thank you to Orbit Books for sending me a copy for review!



45 thoughts on “The Book of Koli by M.R. Carey

  1. That cover is utterly entrancing… I was hypnotized by it for a bit before getting to your review! I haven’t heard of this book before but I’m adding it to my TBR. The setting sounds really unique and Koli’s character development as he reaches adulthood seems intriguing, especially given the depth of this world. Awesome review!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Right? I love it so much too. And the sequels have similar designs and I adore them for it too! 😀 I’m really happy that this review has got you to add it to your TBR though. I think if anything mentioned here has intrigued you just a little then there’s a good chance you’ll enjoy Koli’s adventure! 😀 Thank you so much for your kind words, Aila!! 😀


  2. I don’t see myself ever reading this. Maybe if the rest of the trilogy really blows people away and I see some stunning reviews, but as much as you liked this, nothing about it made me want to read it.

    I do wonder though if that is because somehow I’ve linked this in my mind as the spiritual successor to Day of the Triffids. I did not enjoy reading Triffids even while killer plants is an awesome idea.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hmm.. I can definitely see why you’d hesitate with this one. I personally think you could pass on it for the time being. If anything, I think the best it would do for you is 3 stars. There are a number of things in this story that would’ve totally annoyed you hahaha

      I have Day of the Triffids on my TBR and your comments do make me even more curious about it. Was there something about it that killed your interest/enjoyment with that one? 😮

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks. A 3star read isnt good enough to add.

        I watched the movie “Day of the Triffids” before I ever read the book and was expecting more plants eating people kind of thing. It was more of a psychological look at the collapse of mankind and was just too depressing for me.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Glad to see you also enjoyed this one. It was my first book by the author. I will admit to becoming a bit bored by the character of Koli and village life. But once Monone and Ursula were introduced, and after Koli left the village, that’s when I really started enjoying the story. I’m very curious to see where it goes next.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think you’ll have a good time with his other books if you enjoyed this one. He’s a great writer if you ask me. He makes everything very… cinematic. I hope we both enjoy the sequels when they release now! 😀 Thanks for reading, Todd. I really appreciate the time you put into reading my stuff!


  4. I think this is the guy who wrote The Girl With All the Gifts? I enjoyed that one. The Book of Koli sounds interesting as well, although I am always reluctant to start a new series unless I am fairly sure it will keep up the quality (yes, very risk averse 😉 ) .

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is indeed! This one has a fun premise for this brand-new trilogy even though many will feel like this whole post-apocalyptic thing is overabundant nowadays in fantasy lit (especially YA fantasy lit). But I understand your reluctance though. I think it’s always safe to wait and see how the whole trilogies do before diving into it! 😀 Thank you so much for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. A very thoughtful review, indeed. The part that stuck with me most is the one where you point out that by trying to fulfill his youthful dream of gaining respect and an exalted position, Koli embarked instead in the journey of his life. One I can’t wait to see how it progresses…
    Thank you so much for sharing!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Maddalena. Worth mentioning that your review really did hype me up a lot, especially by how eloquently you made this one sound (and justly too). 😛 Can’t wait to see what the sequel will have to offer us next! Thanks for taking the time to read this review, Maddalena! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  6. It seems (from your comment section) that you’re not the only one who enjoyed reading this.
    I noticed the cover first (duh) and took a moment to stare at it. I’m unable to express why exactly I like it, but I think it’s enchanting.
    The story seems interesting, but overdone, to me.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Oooh, your review has definitely intrigued me. Though, I’m a bit gunshy of Carey’s works. I read about 1/5 of The Girl with All The Gifts and I had to put it down due to graphic violence. But his writing was soooo good! Is this book graphic? I wonder if this is a good way to get back into his works…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ohhhh, I remember so well how reluctant you are about graphic violence in stories. I think you could consider this a bit softer on the overall violence it contains but it still had maybe 3 scenes that might test your limits. It takes time before getting to them though. Otherwise, it’s definitely a good one by Carey! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well, as long as I know there are only a handful of scenes, I might make it this time around! There were 3-4 in the first 50 pages of The Girl with All the Gifts, so I had to DNF it. But 3 total I might be able to handle. I’ll add this to my TBR. Thanks for the heads up, Lashaan!

        Liked by 1 person

  8. After reading your review I gather this doesn’t focus too much on an adventure or monster-plants, so Imma pass. It reminds me quite a bit of Patrick Ness’ Chaos Walking series with the different English, pre-tech world and darker, brutal themes(I found book 1 kinda depressing and wouldn’t have decided to continue it if it weren’t for me wanting to get my sister another book series—it’s a bit of a confusing story how that happened, so I won’t bore you with it 😄).

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahahahah that story with your sister sure does sound like a lot of fun and drama! 😉 Good comparison with Ness’ Chaos Walking series. I read the first book of his series and enjoyed it a lot, which makes sense why I enjoyed The Book of Koli too. Language-wise, Koli is less staggering though hahaha I did laugh at how you would’ve preferred something more “epic” with monsters and whatnot in this one though. I might have went into it thinking that we’d get those too but I was pleasantly surprised by how everything else captivated me hahah Thanks for checking out this review though! I appreciate it a lot! Take care! 😀


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