The Book of Koli (Rampart Trilogy, #1)
The Trials of Koli (Rampart Trilogy, #2)
The Fall of Koli (Rampart Trilogy, #3)
By: M.R. Carey
My Rating: Four out of Five Stars
Best For: Adults
I had sky-high expectations for The Rampart Trilogy, and it delivered…mostly. I loved the world, I loved the characters, I loved the story, and I loved the conflict. But it was unexpectedly preachy, and I don’t love my fiction to preach to me. Despite how much I enjoyed the story, I feeling that lingers days after I closed the last page is disappointment.
The Rampart Trilogy is a dystopian series that breaks open the genre and spills it’s guts on the ground to be eaten by trees and beasts while you watch with big eyes and a goofy grin and all you can say is, “Must…have…more!”
This is our future: the world was destroyed by the science that tried to make it better and the wars that made it worse. Set in England nearly 400 years after the end, Koli’s entire universe is the walled village he and 200 others call home. It’s a world where “everything that lives hates us.” The walls protect from the man-eating beasts and trees that can move and kill living things–all descendants of the genetically modified creations of humans who tried to improve on nature. Cities are gone, science is extinct, and only remnants of the lost world remain: names of places, religion, knowledge, even society are shadows of what was. The rare remaining weapons and gadgets from the world that was are mysterious, misunderstood, and coveted “tech.” Who holds the tech, makes the rules. Stay inside the walls. Respect the tech. Survive.
Holy cow, I loved this world! It’s a completely unique take on a dystopian future that tells it’s story with a careful blend of light science fiction and subtle fantasy. Koli’s story is full of imagination–yet freakishly plausible. There are thrills and surprises, plus subtle nuances in language and the use of words and dialect that delighted me on every page.
I just wish the author would have left the commentary on current social issues out of it. I don’t mind a discussion on contentious topics, and even welcome different perspectives in my stories…it’s how we see new perspectives and learn things we didn’t know we didn’t know. But in this series, the issue of gender identity is a leading conflict and takes center stage, particularly in books 2 and 3.
It’s very in your face and very one-sided. It centers on a 13-year-old who identifies as a girl but was born a boy. The story culminates with the primary adult performing gender reassignment surgery on the child. I found the treatment of this topic too shallow, the depiction of the complexities of the topic far too basic, and the resolution not plausible.
Other content watch outs include non-descriptive violence, the use of four-letter words that get more significant as the trilogy advances, mild non-descriptive sexual content, and mild descriptions involving the practicalities of being a transgendered person.
The Rampart Series is a fantastic story that had a hard time staying in its lane.
Best for adults.