Emmett Atwater is one of ten disadvantaged teens who have been recruited by super-corporation Babel for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity: To travel into deep space to newly discovered planet Eden and mine its incredibly versatile and valuable material: Nyxia, an element that has seemingly endless possibilities (it can be manipulated into weapons, into a power source, into smoke, and much more). Eden is inhabited, and Babel’s first mission there was deadly – the inhabitants of Eden (humanoid aliens) slaughtered most of an Earth crew, except for the one child on board, as they highly value the lives of children and minors. So in order to peacefully mine on the planet, Babel is sending in highly trained teens and has made the stakes high for them: pass the intense training to join the mission and Babel will support their families for life. Emmett has a cancer-struck family stuck in poverty, but he isn’t the only one on board with a sad and desperate case. Indeed, every teen on board has their own difficult reason to want a spot on the crew. But Babel will only take 8 of the 10 recruits, and they won’t play nice when it comes to their training and competition.
A few teens in my library have adored this series and it was nominated for our state high school book award. Others have pitched it as Enders Game meets The Hunger Games and that is a pretty apt meet-pitch. But Nyxia steps it up by investing more in diverse characters (Emmett is black and notes that there’s only one white teen on their ship). I definitely understood why this series appeals to teens. It’s got a lot of action and intrigue. The framework of the story feels familiar and the twists are good. It’s a solid series opener with an ending that both satisfies and intrigues.
As far as character goes, I thought the friendships were written better than the romance was – I didn’t really understand the need for the romance and it feels very underdeveloped.
Unfortunately I am steeped in a bit of a reading slump, so that’s about all I can give for review. I drifted off sometimes during the audio but I liked what I heard when my brain was up for investing in the story.