Title: The Book of Koli.
Series: Rampart Trilogy #1.
Writer(s): M.R. Carey.
Release Date: April 14th, 2020.
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!