Long after climate breakdown has ravaged the world and humanity has retreated into small communities, a teenager named Koli dreams of becoming a wielder of the old technology and defender of his village. When he steals an old Sony music player, he sets off a chain of events that sees him forced out into a world where trees hunt, people allegedly eat people, and cult leaders capitalise on a frightened, isolated population.
M R Carey’s The Book Of Koli is the first in a new trilogy. It’s the next in a long line of fiction dealing with the ongoing climate crisis and what might happen to the world after humanity meets the consequences of its actions. It’s certainly one of the more interesting entries, examining the way technology may be viewed in a world without it.
As a narrator, Koli is intriguing; operating in both an omniscient capacity and as an audience entry point into this dangerous new world. It’s a balance that Carey doesn’t always strike, slowing the narrative down in the first half as the reader gets used to Koli’s idiosyncratic narration.
There is a lot of potential though, and when Koli does head off into the world, his story quickens to a climax that sets up the next book in the trilogy. Carey is a writer with big ideas at the heart of his fable-esque storytelling and there’s a mythological quality that starts to emerge in the novel’s finale. It’ll be interesting to see what’s next.
The Book Of Koli by M R Carey is out now from Little, Brown Book Group.