Review of Nyxia by Scott Reintgen
Shout out to Yallwest and Penguin Random House for the ARC.
I am always slightly irked that my book throne doesn’t have nearly enough YA Science Fiction… How hard it is to create something both foreign and yet believable? Apparently very hard. We had Shadow Run come out this year, and Carve the Mark— Both left me wanting. I finished Carve the Mark, and have subsequently forgotten half of it. Shadow Run I pegged as a DNF.
But then I had the honor to read Nyxia by Scott Reintgen.
First, this cover is gorgeous. Look at it! It’s dark and elusive. Second, it’s YA science fiction. I originally thought it was asking too much *side glare- what lies beneath the cover… To my surprise, this was the book I needed to get me out of my slump. It’s not an exceptional-blow-your-mind type of science fiction, but rather a slow-burning-engaging sort.
Let us start with the basics: Character, Plot, and Craft.
THERE’S A GUY MAIN CHARACTER!!!!!!! Well, now that I’ve shouted that out into the universe… But in all honesty, it was so nice to have a male main character. I’m all for female empowerment, but I feel that that is ALL YA has become— badass ladies fighting with swords. I’m not against it, but some change is nice (HINT, HINT authors). Now, Nyxia does have some pretty badass lady casting, and it just keeps getting better until the end.
Emmett proves a character worth exploring. From start to finish the development put into Emmett is Class-A crafting on Scott’s part. Everyone should know by now I’m really into characters who develop, who change, who transform over the course of the book, and I was not disappointed. The rest of the Genesis 11 cast also surprised me at varying turns. The most memorable moment of characters that will stick with me is a scene in Day 50- page 180ish. Everyone at this point knows Babel chose the misfits and broken for this journey, but none of them have shared how they are broken. This scene is where the recruits sit around playing cards while they tell each other why they’re here, why they need the money to send home, why they’re willing to break themselves for a chance to win. Handled with tact and a delicate hand, the mood changes from funny, to sorrowful, to something inexpressible. It brings to light something that happens everyday, we see people without seeing them, knowing their story; we assume. Maybe it’s just me, but this scene impacted me far beyond the story.
On matters of craft I have one main thing I would like to point out: I DO NOT BELIEVE IN INSTALOVE! Hear me universe? So when an insta-romance happens, I’m cringing. I get it, it feels okay, but I disapprove. And granted, if you’re in space and there are very few people and you’re an emotional teenager… sure, instalove cures all. Moving right along… the characters are the strongest craft in Nyxia; believable, broken, engaging. You feel for every single one of them (even the bad ones).
I won’t say the prose is in-your-face fantastic, but the subtle ways it holds the reader, how it DOESN’T bring attention to itself, is a strong point. I love pretty sentences, don’t get me wrong, but sometimes it’s a struggle to say WOW! LOOK AT THIS SENTENCE and still remain engaged with the characters and plot. (I will be discussing this in more depth when I write my ACOWAR review) One final note about this type of prose… just because I say it’s EASY to read does not equate to bad prose, it means I didn’t stop every few pages and think “what did I just read?”
Now, I went into this not realizing it was a trilogy (yeah, good job Camille- some Empress you are *facepalm. *tears.) So from a plot point I was like… THERE ARE NOT ENOUGH PAGES LEFT! And there are some definite twists I didn’t see coming- but, Spoilers. 😉
Overall, Nyxia gave me everything I wanted in a space read. Spaceship; Secrets; Stolen moments… It was a good read, solid and stable after a major reading slump. In terms of a debut book, Scott Reintgen does a fantastic job, and I am so thrilled to see this trilogy continue and what awaits these characters. (*SPOILER!) – I would love to see the parallel Genesis 12 story. Because I NEED to know what happened on that ship! (END OF SPOILER)
I have to give Nyxia 4 stars, because I feel like I’ll come back to it and find more hidden depths.
(one more thing)
If the Nyxia is a sentient entity… well, I’m both extremely terrified and overenthusiastic to see where THAT leads to!
Now, excuse me while I return to my cardboard spaceship and travel the stars manipulating matter.
Sincerely, Her Imperial Majesty,
The Literary Empress
Ps. This book is Queen Meira approved.