Release date: September 12th 2017
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 ten 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.
This book caught me by surprise. I wasn’t too sure about the premise when I picked it up but once I started reading it, I was completely sucked in by the story and the characters. It felt like every time the teens started to get comfortable, something else was thrown at them, and at the readers. It was fast-paced, which made for a quick read, and when I was finished, I really, really wanted the next book.
Emmett had many reasons for wanting the chance to go to Eden. The money Babel was offering, the health care for his family, was too good not to fight for his spot, which became necessary when the group found out only eight of them would actually succeed in being chosen to go to Eden. Emmett was a good guy and I liked seeing the walls he’d put up as he tried to think of the others as only competition start to crumble as they became friends. They became a family, as dysfunctional as they were. He could be very quick to anger and point out when he thought something was unfair but he was also protective when it came to his friends.
There were many great supporting characters and I ended up liking most of the group Emmett was in direct competition with, especially Kaya and Bilal. I also really liked Jaime, Katsu, and Azima. They were a very diverse group but they all had the common goal of being one of the eight selected to go to Eden. The adults on the ship were more suspicious and it was easy to start thinking there was more going on that the teens were told.
The competition aspect of the plot took up most of the book. The teens were pitted against each other at all levels. How they could use and manipulate Nyxia(the substance they were being sent to Eden to mine), how they fought against each other in simulations, how they worked as a team, to the point where it felt like everything they did they were being judged and scored on. It was a constant reminder that no one was safe, no matter how ahead they were in points. It was what made the book so fast-paced and, combined with all the twists, made me so excited for the next book.
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.