Niko by Kayti Nika Raet
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
***** 4.5 Cranky Stars *****
I’ve had this book on my TBR pile for some time now. It’s one of those books I always ‘meant’ to get to, but had to reprioritize for many and various reasons. I finally got to read it on my summer holiday. I’m so glad I did. This is an underrated gem and I would recommend it to any fan of the YA-post apocalyptic genre.
Niko is a seventeen year old living in a world where acid falls from the sky, coating the ground, water is contaminated, and monsters (Slithers) roam making meals of humans.
As the care-giver-provider for her two younger brothers, Niko lives ‘outside’ of the city in a harsh environment where everyone is trying to survive and get by. One night everything changes and Niko loses everything, but a destiny unfolds. She is one of the few people who can kill Slithers and as such, she is coerced into joining a circle in the big city in the hope that she can find a loved one.
There is a lively quality to this work combined with a dry, humorous wit. The pacing is spot on and had me flicking pages until I was sleep deprived. There is enough action and mystery, not to mention interesting secondary characters to keep one engrossed in what it means to be part of Niko’s world. For the record, it’s a pretty dangerous place to be no matter where you are – inside or outside the walls.
Niko is a fantastic main character. One of my pet hates in apocalyptic anything (books, films, TV shows) is when the main character has the type of innocence that gets everyone else eaten because they keep asking questions or don’t realize the monster-thing is dangerous.
This is not the case with Niko. She is smart and resilient and can put the pieces together quickly in order to survive. Her unfamiliarity, however, with ‘city manners’ and ‘conveniences’ made me laugh out loud.
I also loved the diversity in this story. It is presentation without explanation – a world full of characters that just is – and is stronger for it.
I’ve just picked up Harm, the second book in the series. Who needs sleep, right?
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