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Thanks to NetGalley and Crown Books for Young Readers for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

Release Date: Available Now

400 Pages

Synopsis: Getting to Eden brought Emmett and his crewmates one step closer to their promised fortune. But surviving Eden may be the biggest reward of all. Discover book two in the trilogy Marjorie Lu called, “a high octane thriller.”

Emmett Atwater thought Babel’s game sounded easy. Get points. Get paid. Go home. But it didn’t take long for him to learn that Babel’s competition was full of broken promises, none darker or more damaging than the last one.

Now Emmett and the rest of the Genesis survivors must rally and forge their own path through a new world. Their mission from Babel is simple: extract nyxia, the most valuable material in the universe, and play nice with the indigenous Adamite population. 

But Emmett and the others quickly realize that they are caught between two powerful forces—Babel and the Adamites—with clashing desires. Will the Genesis team make it out alive before it’s too late?

Nyxia Unleashed picks right up after Nyxia’s cliffhanger ending. In the previous book, sixteen-year-old Emmett Atwater, an African American from Detroit, spent the last year with nineteen other disadvantaged teens from all over the world on Genesis, the Babel Communications spaceship. Promised wealth beyond their imagination in exchange for traveling to Eden to mine nyxia, the teens are promised that after a year or so they can return home. But they quickly discovered that Babel care only for their own wealth and power. While they embark on the year long journey to Eden on the spaceship Genesis, the teens are forced into a deadly competition for a coveted spot on the final team that would land on Eden. While the sequel shifts away from the life and death competition that was prevalent in the first book, for me it was even more exciting, as the Genesis teen survivors are now caught between the sinister plans of Babel and those of this new Adamite, or as they call themselves, Imago population.

The teens, caught between the dueling interests of Babel Communications and the Imago, also have to learn to trust one another if they’re to survive on this alien planet. I loved Emmett, the main character and narrator in Nyxia and my feelings remain the same here. While he justifiably harbors hatred and vengeful thoughts toward Babel, he also strives to remain the good person his family raised him to be. Although I wasn’t thrilled with the insta-love between Emmett and Morning, they truly are a perfect match. She’s so powerful yet is kind and compassionate. I don’t usually ship couples, but I’m making an exception in this case. The secondary characters are diverse in terms of race, religion and sexuality. In Nyxia I thought the diversity faded into the background at times, but here it’s front and center. While this is a work of fiction, seeing these young people from different backgrounds, religions, and ethnicities gave me hope. They’re well-rounded and add quite a bit to the storyline. 

The planet Eden/Magnia and its inhabitants have some creative qualities to them, but I wish they were a little more alien. The Imago are very similar to humans as are their society and culture. Additionally, they’re also able to communicate with each other thanks to nyxia, and even breathe the same air and eat the same food. This is a very minor complaint though.

Underlying the fictional story are the realistic issues of colonization and oppression. It also explores social classes with some fortunate to be born into the right families and with what is seen as physical perfection, and others who are seen as unequal.

Nyxia Unleashed is even more fast-paced as its predecessor and ends with an exciting cliffhanger, which has me anxiously anticipating the final book, Nyxia Uprising, which sadly doesn’t come out until April 19, 2019. In my opinion these books are for ages 16 and up due to its complex and dark themes. In addition to the previously mentioned ones, there’s also: PTSD, torture, genocide, animal death, loss of friends and loved ones. There’s also plenty of blood and gore. But balancing the darkness are themes of support, trust, loyalty, and love. Fans of Nyxia will not be disappointed by this phenomenal sequel, and if you haven’t read these books but you’re a fan of science fiction with wonderfully written, diverse characters and nonstop action, then I HIGHLY recommend you give these a try!