As a long-time fan of M.R. Carey (since ye olde Lucifer graphic novel days), I was looking forward to this new release, and wondering where it would take us, as his books can be so very different. This is a dystopian/post-apocalyptic almost YA-ish yet epic fantasy.

Koli is a young boy on the precipice of adulthood and the changes that brings. He lives in a village of 200 people, somewhere in the middle of a broken, post-apocalyptic England. The world outside its walls is a terrifying place, with trees that can move and kill you, rats the size of dogs, and shunned men that hunt down anyone they can find.

The only tech they have is remnants from an old society no one remembers, and hardly anyone can use it. In his village, Mythen Rood, only the ‘Ramparts’ are allowed to use said tech. Everyone is tested when they are 15 to see if they have the knack of using it, but it’s only ever the same family that passes. Koli sets to wondering why that is, and that’s where the trouble begins…

Koli’s got a unique voice, telling his tale to us in a sort of dialect I guess, slightly different from our own (because he’s illiterate and none of the villagers can read or fully understand text from the past). It may take a little while to get into the book because of this (or it could turn you off entirely), but it’s worth persevering because he tells a strong story. Yes, it ticks off a bunch of YA dystopian tropes, but so what, I like ’em!

I will warn you that it’s the first of a trilogy and very much reads that way. It’s a lot of set up and by the time I got to the end I was raring to get further into the plot, and unable to do so! But it just means I’m really looking forward to the next one coming out.