MARS, 2075 C.E. Isaak has returned from Iamos, but life hasn't exactly gone back to normal. In what felt like a month to him, two years passed in the world he left behind—and now that he's home, he's not sure if he knows what home is anymore. Mars has become a world of riots and police states, with GSAF doing everything in their power to clamp down on the burgeoning rebellion started by Isaak's once-best friend, Henry Sandhu. It doesn't take long before he realizes that maybe coming back to Mars wasn't such a good idea. But unless they can find a way to get to the time postern—currently guarded by heavily-armed GSAF agents—Isaak is stuck in the future... and so is Nadin.
Nadin thought that the future would hold her answers, but everything changed the moment they passed through the door. All she wants now is to return to Iamos and make sure that her partner, Ceilos, is safe. But once her identity as a native Martian gets out, she finds herself caught in a political struggle she doesn't understand, with both factions trying to win her over to their side. And when GSAF learns that Nadin holds the key to deciphering the mysterious System, they'll stop at nothing to keep her on Mars—permanently.
Lyssa Chiavari is an author of speculative fiction for young adults, including Fourth World, the first book in a sci-fi trilogy set on Mars, and Cheerleaders From Planet X, a tongue-in-cheek send-up of all things sci-fi. Her short fiction has appeared in Wings of Renewal: A Solarpunk Dragon Anthology, Brave New Girls: Tales of Heroines Who Hack, Magic at Midnight: A YA Fairytale Anthology and Perchance to Dream: Classic Tales from the Bard’s World in New Skins. Her first published story, “The Choice,” was named one of Ama-gi Magazine’s Best of 2014. Lyssa lives with her family and way too many animals in the woods of Northwest Oregon.
Trigger warnings: violence, shady government shit, abduction by government???
I absolutely loved the first book in this series and the cliffhanger ending meant that I was desperate to read this one. And it didn't disappoint. It was great to have Nadin in the modern world, getting to find the words to describe her identity. It was really interesting to see Isaak struggling to fit back into a world that's moved on without him. And I really enjoyed how much the political side of things was ramped up here.
In short, this was really freaking solid and I'm thoroughly looking forward to the final book in the trilogy when it's released.
New World, the second full-length novel in Lyssa Chiavari’s YA sci-fi series, The Iamos Trilogy, picks up where the last story left off. [IF YOU HAVE NOT READ THE FIRST BOOK IN THE SERIES, FOURTH WORLD, STOP RIGHT HERE BECAUSE WHAT FOLLOWS WILL INCLUDE SPOILERS FOR BOOK 1].
After being whisked away from his mid-21st-century Mars colony home, Isaak spent three weeks in a strange world full of advanced technology and dark secrets—Iamos—that was actually Mars from the ancient past. But something wiped them out—and the cataclysm not only destroyed their civilization, but had world-shattering consequences that rendered Mars a lifeless planet and altered the makeup of the Solar system. Now, he’s back—and he’s brought one of the Iamoi, Nadin, with him. Only a lot more time has passed in his world than he experienced—two whole years. His friends, who thought he’d been captured by the sinister agency GSAF, have moved on with their lives—one becoming a pop star, and one becoming a revolutionary. The Mars he’s returned to has become a police state, and those in power seek to use the technology of Iamos to solidify their power. Meanwhile, Nadin hopes to bring her people into the future so that they might survive the cataclysm, even if their homes are destroyed. But GSAF sees her as their ticket to Iamos’ technology and aims to use her as a political pawn.
New World deals directly with the fallout from the first book—both for the plot and for the characters. I really like how it took the time to explore the impact losing two years had on Isaak and his relationships with his friends. At the same time, the ever-present danger of the increasingly dystopian world keeps the tension high. Like Fourth World, New World is split into two distinct acts. Without giving too much away, let me just say that Act 2 really takes off, sending the characters barreling down a perilous path. While New World takes place entirely in the future Mars world, it also expands a bit upon the history (and mystery!) of Iamos’ past, offering tantalizing glimpses at what’s to come.
The world-building in this series is truly phenomenal. Both Mars and Iamos feel like fully realized civilizations, and it was easy to get lost in their worlds. My favorite part about the Iamos stories, though, is the characters. Isaak and Nadin, who alternate POVs, are both fantastic protagonists. Isaak’s the ordinary teen who got pulled into an adventure he could never have prepared for, and Nadin’s the child of an oppressive system who’s finally breaking out and finding her own way. I really enjoyed reading their character moments and getting invested in their relationships, their inner struggles… all the feels! Not to mention the asexual rep (Isaak identifies as demisexual; Nadin explores her asexuality). It’s easy to fall into a book when you really care about the characters and what happens to them.
New World ends on a heck of a cliffhanger, which teases at an exciting conclusion to the trilogy. I’ll be here waiting patiently to find out how it all ends…
This was one of the most validating books I've ever read! Ace representation is so rare, and there's so much variety on the ace spectrum as it is, but reading this--particularly seeing Nadin's experiences-- I saw myself. And I just...wow. is this how allos feel all the time? All this ace representation wrapped in a gorgeous story with fascinating characters has me dying to read the next book! I'm so glad I found this series!