YA Weekend: Nyxia by Scott Reintgen

I received a review copy from the publisher. This does not affect the contents of my review and all opinions are my own.

Nyxia by Scott Reintgen

Mogsy’s Rating: 2 of 5 stars

Genre: Science Fiction, Young Adult

Series: Book 1 of The Nyxia Triad

Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers (September 12, 2017)

Length: 384 pages

Author Information: Website | Twitter

I won’t belabor all the reasons why I didn’t enjoy Nyxia, especially since it’s a debut and a mostly adequate one at that, but I will touch upon the major points where this book fell short of my expectations. Admittedly, I am to blame for some of my own disappointment. I was led by the publisher description to believe this would be a book about space, containing all the adventure and excitement about arrival on a new planet. But instead, it turned out to be a more pedestrian tale about a competition, one that lasts the entire duration of the novel, so I didn’t even get the satisfaction of gaining answers to some of my pressing questions.

Anyway, here’s the gist of the story: Ten marginalized teens from all over the world are selected by a rich and powerful corporation called Babel Communications to travel to a newly discovered habitable planet called Eden. Their goal is to harvest and extract a volatile but valuable substance called Nyxia from deep within its mines. Why would a multi-bajillionaire company go with a bunch of kids for a highly sensitive, highly dangerous mission, when they could have easily opted for the more logical choice of a group of experienced, far better-trained and emotionally well-adjusted adults, you ask? Well, the explanation we get is that Eden is already populated, by a race of hostile aliens called the Adamites. Understandably, they’re ticked off about the humans trying to colonize their planet, but Babel has uncovered a weakness in their behavior: the Adamites appear to have a soft spot for children and won’t harm juveniles and youngsters. Babel’s hope is that by sending in a group of human teenagers, they’ll be able to slide under the aliens’ radars to get at their precious Nyxia.

Emmett Atwater is the name of our protagonist who has agreed to Babel’s contract, signing on as a potential recruit. Not only is he leaving Earth to make something more of his life, Emmett is also doing it for his sick mother. If he succeeds, the money he receives will be more than enough to pay for her treatments, as well as set himself and his family up for life. However, Emmett’s path to Eden is nowhere close to being a done deal. While Babel has chosen ten candidates, they only need two less than that for the actual mission. To determine who will continue on and who will go home, they’ve devised a series of challenges in which the contestants will try to earn the most points and beat each other out for the coveted eight spots.

And therein lies my main issue with the plot. There doesn’t appear to be a valid, persuasive reason for a competition, other than the prospect of capitalizing on the success of hit books like The Hunger Games or Red Rising. In what universe would it make sense for a lucrative company to throw untold amounts of money away just to watch a bunch of hormonal teenagers beat the crap out of each other, when those resources could be put to better use on a legitimate training regimen to give those kids—and by extension, their own company interests—the best chance of success on Eden? I even tried giving this novel the benefit of the doubt, thinking perhaps Babel would soon reveal a grand plan that would explain for all their questionable methods, but it was a long wait that led to no satisfying answers.

Still, I might have been more forgiving had it not been for the second half of the novel. The story gave me hope when Emmett and the others finally arrived at their destination, but instead of making it down to Eden so that I could get my fix of exploring a new planet, there came a surprising twist—and not one that made me happy either. By this point, I was already feeling the burnout from all the competitions, and I was looking forward to a nice change of pace. But instead, the story gave us even more competition-ing! Even worse, what follows is a romance with that had me gritting my teeth and fighting the urge not to hurl my e-reader across the room. In the end, I just settled for grumbling to myself about insta-love and other pesky clichés.

There were a few other quibbles I had about the world-building and characterization, but like I said, I won’t be dwelling on the little things. I think I’ve covered the main issues why this book wasn’t my cup of tea, and despite the cliffhanger way it ended I don’t think I’ll be reading the sequel, because I’m just not feeling the characters or the story enough to want to continue. Clearly though, I’m in the minority in my feelings for many others have had a positive experience with Nyxia, so hopefully if you’re looking forward to the book, you’ll have a better time with it than I did.

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29 Comments on “YA Weekend: Nyxia by Scott Reintgen

  1. Reading reviews like this always reminds me of why I’m so reluctant to read Young Adult titles, even when the premise sounds good to me. Do you think this would have made for a better story if it was written for an older audience?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t know really, because to be an adult novel, I think much of the premise would have to be scrapped and rewritten. My guess is most readers who read strictly adult sci-fi would be unsatisfied with a lot of the story’s explanations, and the direction it ultimately takes.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Well, thank you for being honest. I’d seen some really glowing reviews and was thinking “Yes Bookstooge, it IS YA but maybe that won’t bother you this time around.” Ha. Your review highlighted what would have driven me to hating on the book.

    Thanks for taking the bullet on this one…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah I saw all the positive reviews, and for me it was like reading a different book. I just think I’m over this “everything has to be a Survivor-like competition” trend in YA. If you’re going to use this trope, at the very least the reason behind it should make sense.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. It sounds like some of the issues that you had here are similar to ones I’ve experienced reading YA. Just the implausibility of some aspects and the thinly veiled reasoning behind certain ploys. Then the instalove – aaarrrgghghghgh. No. I do love it when I find a YA that I really enjoy but more often than not these days they fail to grab me in the way I’d hoped.
    Lynn 😀

    Like

    • You hit the nail on the head with “implausibility”. This really bugs me when it comes to YA. Younger readers aren’t dumber versions of adult readers, if a certain premise won’t pass muster in an adult novel, it shouldn’t be used in a YA novel. At least that’s how I feel, anyway 😛

      Like

  4. As Lonelyboy1977 said, the tired and overused tropes one risks finding in YA titles are the main reasons for my reluctance with this sub-genre, so I can’t but admire your continuing attempts at finding the gems hidden in the junk. This obviously was not one of them, and I could feel frustration and disappointment coming loud and clear from your words, so I’m sorry this did not work for you…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I loved yer review matey even though I completely loved this book! It’s funny but yer review made me rethink me own reading process. Not that it changed me opinion but I did find it fun to ponder the points ye raised. Lovely review as always. Sad this one didn’t float yer boat!
    x The Captain

    Like

  6. This is one I’ve been curious about. Interesting about the plot twist- I think the arrival at the planet would be something I’d be looking forward to as well, and if the twist affects that I can see where it might be a problem. And yeah the reason for the competitions seems… thin. I read the sample too and while it didn’t seem bad it didn’t wow me. Thanks for a great review, I’ll probably wait on this.

    Like

    • Yeah, I’m a bit curious as to how much the next book will show of Eden, the new planet. I doubt it’ll change my mind to pick it up, but well, I never say never! If book two turns out to be the book that I had hoped for with book one, maybe I could be convinced to check it out…

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: Mogsy’s Bookshelf Roundup: Stacking the Shelves & Recent Reads | The BiblioSanctum

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