The Trials of Koli by M. R. Carey is an aptly titled books as that is what Koli and his group face, as they try to make it to London. The Trials of Koli is book the second book in the Rampart trilogy. The first book, The Book of Koli, was brimming with heart and the second one is too. Koli is trying to figure out a world he was sheltered and lied against by the village of Mythren Rood. The second book picks up a second narrator Spinner, who is the woman he wanted to impress that lead him to stealing the tech that got him banished, that fills in all that went on in the village of Mythren Rood since Koli was vanished. This book filled in one gap that the first book did not, they’re locked in this village because trees can now kill, but the first book doesn’t show us, then comes the introduction to the choker trees and their seeds. Choker trees are trees that shed and drop seeds every couple of years, if the seeds touch body in flesh they will immediately take root in a person’s body. I think the people at Netgalley and Orbit books for giving me ARC for The Trials of Koli that is published on 9-15-20. The Book of Koli made it into my top ten of best books last year.
The plot of The Book of Koli – the world we know has long been dead nature is what most are afraid of as a type of tree can walk and kill. Most stay protected in their little village, Mythren Rood and are forbidden from leaving the protection. Koli is a woodsmith in a family of woodsmiths that works at the lumber mill. When he is older he plans to take a test to be a rampart. A rampart is special class of citizen that rules the others, they use tech of yester-years to protect the village. To become a rampart you have make the old tech work on first touch. The tech is a flame thrower, a laser, bolt gun, and some other devices. Koli and his best friend Haijon dream of being ramparts, Haijon’s mother, aunt, grandfather, and cousin are all ramparts. Koli is tested with four other young adults with Haijon being the only one who can make the tech work, becomes a rampart, and gets Spinner the girl he wanted to wed. Koli is devastated, thrown into wood work, this all changes when Ursula a visiting healer, who is charge of pregnancy and other abrasions, uses and knows tech she scavenges is saved by Koli holding back a rampart from accidentally hurting Ursula. She tells him how tech really works through access codes and fingerprint analysis and that the ramparts are rigged. Koli knowing this is determined to be a rampart, breaks in to the hold and steals a piece of tech that is not exactly a weapon, that he gets to work. Under the rampart rules he is a rampart, but if the ramparts are rigged what will they do when they find out what Koli has done? They vanish him one of the Rampart that wanted more power grabs the tech that Koli stole and demands he make it work or will kill him. Koli figures he’s dead anyway and uses the tech to over power the rampart killing him and Koli is reunited with the tech. The noise draws in a group of shunned that capture him and want him join their cult. Koli finds that Ursula has been kidnapped as well. they escape and end up taking a prisoner in Cup and decide to go to London.
The Plot of The Trials of Koli this books take right off where the last one ended, with Ursula, Koli, and a still bound Cup heading for London and a beacon that is still up and running. They don’t make it very far until they run into Half-Ax who scour for new tech and claim this land as theirs, as they escape Koli cuts Cup’s bonds which lets her flee and Koli get caught. with Ursula and Cup escaping Cup and Ursula hate each other so he has no chance in them working together to save him.
Spinner is a girl that Koli once mated with and is the main reason he wanted to be a Rampart to begin with so they can wed and not his former best friend Haijon. We see through Spinner’s eyes as Koli displays the tech he got to work at her wedding, to all the rumors surrounding him. We get to see the fall out after the Rampart that Koli killed and their tech destroyed, effects Haijon since the tech was going to go to him and Spinner. Spinner finds out the deadly secret that Ramparts aren’t called upon to use the tech, but chosen by the Ramparts already. A plaque has effected the village of Mythren Rood they’re looking to Rampart Remember who uses a tablet for information, he is suffering from dementia, and with the help from Spinner uses the technology in secret, as more people die. Rampart Remember decides to give her the tech as he has an old non-working one to fool the other Ramparts. She solves it but as she does she is busted with the stolen tech, will she suffer the same fate as Koli?
What I Liked: The heart of these book sticks out more and more, we all want to see the world as Koli. The book dealing with Cup who is transgendered during the Apocalypse, and what that is like. The villages acceptance of Cup and how they explain it is beautiful. The rescue attempt at the Half Ax and the plotting leading up to that. Spinner and her story development was exciting to see. The sea bear fight was a highlight. I liked seeing the traditional healer’s jealousy at Ursula and her tech healing and the trial she makes for Ursula. The big show down with Half Ax was great. I liked the dual storytelling at first I was on the fence, then I started enjoying Spinner’s story more than Koli’s.
What I Disliked: The pacing was not always great, the middle stalls for a bit with the Koli storyline. I wanted to see more of Koli and his thoughts, I felt Cup kind of took over at the back half of the book.
Recommendations: This is turning out to be a pretty good trilogy with the unlikeliest of heroes and weapons. Spinner storyline was a breath of fresh air. The story ends with a pretty good cliffhanger that can change everything. I rated The Trials of Koli by M. R. Carey 4 out of 5 stars.