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The Nyxia Triad, Book 1
Description⎮Reviewed Jan. 2018
Narrators: Sullivan Jones, Dominic Hoffman
Length: 10 hours 6 minutes
Publisher: Listening Library⎮2017
Synopsis: Every life has a price in this sci-fi thriller that has the nonstop action of The Maze Runner and the high-stakes space setting of Illuminae. This is the first in a new three-book series called the Nyxia Triad that will take a group of broken teens to the far reaches of the universe and force them to decide what they’re willing to risk for a lifetime of fortune.
Emmett Atwater isn’t just leaving Detroit; he’s leaving Earth. Why the Babel Corporation recruited him is a mystery, but the number of zeroes on their contract has him boarding their lightship and hoping to return to Earth with enough money to take care of his family.
Before long, Emmett discovers that he is one of 10 recruits, all of whom have troubled pasts and are a long way from home. Now each recruit must earn the right to travel down to the planet of Eden – a planet that Babel has kept hidden – where they will mine a substance called Nyxia that has quietly become the most valuable material in the universe.
But Babel’s ship is full of secrets. And Emmett will face the ultimate choice: win the fortune at any cost or find a way to fight that won’t forever compromise what it means to be human.
3.75★ Audiobook⎮This was a solidly good story. It wasn’t fantastic, just “good”with a few great moments thrown in. I did put it down for a couple of months before coming back to it with the determination to finish it. Even though it didn’t blow my mind, it’s still worth a listen. In my opinion, the narrator gives the audiobook the edge over the traditional book (more on that later).
I had this nagging feeling the entire time I was listening to Nyxia that I had heard it before. Or, at least, something very similar to it. Nyxia felt a lot like two or three different existing stories patch worked together. The literary déjà vu sometimes stemmed from memories of The Hunger Games and at other times Nyxia was reminiscent of The Maze Runner. The good news is that I love both of those series. The not-so-good news is that they made the plot and some of the characters of Nyxia feel stale by comparison.
That’s not to say Nyxia didn’t have its own original elements. The protagonist, for example, felt very original. When reading the author’s bio, it’s easy to understand why Emmett seemed so real. Apart from the narration, it was the best thing about Nyxia. Honestly, I think the story would have fared a lot better if more of a focus had been on Emmett and his background. He was a wonderfully developed character, but we seem to have only seen the tip of his iceberg. Everything about his background is told in retrospect. I would have loved it if more of the story had taken place into Detroit prior to Emmett’s journey.
Speaking of Detroit, I know that Nyxia takes place at some point in the future (I’m still unclear on exactly when, which says a lot), but future Detroit seems a lot like present-day Detroit. At one point, Emmett and his father even discussed the current NFL draft. This raised questions about Reintgen’s world building. Again, actually seeing Reintgen’s future (but not futuristic?) Detroit would have probably filled in a lot of the gaps. This seemed like a missed opportunity on the part of the author.
The other point that was really original to Nyxia was the Nyxia itself. This powerful and rare substance was unlike anything I’ve heard of before. I don’t want to spoil anything, but let’s just say that the mystery and originality of the Nyxia substance opens a lot of plot avenues for Reintgen. I like what he’s done with it so far.
I originally gave Nyxia 4 stars, but after a few days of reflection, I’m dropping it down to 3.75. The rush of action at the end really had my blood pumping and temporarily blinded me to the story’s weaknesses, which are now more prominent in my memory. Only time will tell if I wind up continuing with this series. I don’t foresee myself spending an Audible credit on the next installment, but I won’t rule out borrowing it from the library, if the mood strikes me.
Narration review: Sullivan Jones was my favorite part of the Nyxia audiobook. At one point, my mom overheard part of it and even commented on Jones’ voice. His voice is deep and rich. It’s the kind of voice you can sink into, like a waterbed. He provided subtle characterization for the majority of the characters and excellent characterization for a few. For the most part, it wasn’t the best characterization I’ve heard, but it was enough to get me through the story. He excelled at providing vocal distinction for the younger characters, especially those with well-defined personalities and backgrounds, but the distinction waned slightly when more than one adult character was involved in a conversation. Luckily, the majority of the characters were younger and several were from locations with distinct accents. Overall, there were a lot of characters in this story and Jones handled them all with aplomb. I will be actively seeking out his work in the future. ♣︎