The Fall of Koli by M.R. Carey science fiction and fantasy book and audiobook reviewsThe Fall of Koli by M.R. Carey science fiction and fantasy book and audiobook reviewsThe Fall of Koli by M.R. Carey

The Fall of Koli (2021) is the third and final novel in M.R. Carey’s RAMPART trilogy. The first book, The Book of Koli, was one of my favorite books of 2020. In my review I said it has “pretty much everything I want in a novel” – lovable characters, intriguing setting, captivating storytelling, and a great sense of humor.

The second book, The Trials of Koli, was entertaining but definitely felt like a middle book, so I was hoping for a return to form in the final book, The Fall of Koli, and I was not disappointed. If you haven’t read the first two books yet, I suggest waiting to read my review until you have. There will be some (slight) spoilers for those first two novels here.

The Fall of Koli begins right where The Trials of Koli ended, with Koli, Cup, Ursula, and Monono on a boat and confronting a voice that claims to come from the interim government. Then they are lifted out of the sea and onto a huge battleship called The Sword of Albion where they will meet three new characters who have an agenda that deviates significantly from that of Koli and his colleagues.

Usually in a review I’d tell you a little more about this, but in this case it’s so surprising that I’d rather not spoil anything for you. I’ll just say that in this novel, Koli and his friends spend most of their time on this ship and, at this point, the story turns in a completely unexpected direction. The Sword of Albion is another of Carey’s fantastical post-apocalyptic settings and Koli and his friends are in a lot of danger, but they’ll have the opportunity to save the world.

The Fall of Koli by M.R. Carey science fiction and fantasy book and audiobook reviewsMeanwhile, back in Koli’s village, Mythen Rood, we continue to get Spinner’s story. The village is being threatened by outside forces, only some of which they are aware of. Because of her actions in the previous installment, and her general cleverness, Spinner is gradually taking on a leadership role as the citizens of Mythen Rood attempt to prepare for unknown enemies. Koli’s mother, also a clever woman, has, unfortunately, been ostracized due to Koli’s alleged transgressions, but she will have an important role to play nonetheless.

It’s probably not too much of a spoiler to say that eventually these two storylines meet up and, again, Carey surprises us with an ending that is as emotional as it is unexpected. I loved it.

The Fall of Koli is a spectacular ending to Koli’s story. This book is exciting all the way through. The story is not complex, but it is imaginative and fresh, and full of likable and memorable characters. I also really appreciate that the entire trilogy came out within one year. Thank you, Mr. Carey and Orbit / Hachette!

If you’re thinking about reading the RAMPART trilogy, which I urge you to do, consider the audio versions by Hachette Audio. They are read by Theo Solomon and Saffron Coomber, and they’re terrific.

Published in March 2021. What will the future hold for those who are left? Koli has come a long way since being exiled from his small village of Mythen Rood. In his search for the fabled tech of the Old Times, he knew he’d be battling shunned men, strange beasts and trees that move as fast as whips. But he has already encountered so much more than he bargained for. Now that Koli and his companions have found the source of the signal they’ve been following – the mysterious “Sword of Albion”—there is hope that their perilous journey will finally be worth something. They’re searching for a way to help humanity fight back against nature. But what they’ll find is an ancient war that never ended…


  • Kat Hooper

    KAT HOOPER, who started this site in June 2007, earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience and psychology at Indiana University (Bloomington) and now teaches and conducts brain research at the University of North Florida. When she reads fiction, she wants to encounter new ideas and lots of imagination. She wants to view the world in a different way. She wants to have her mind blown. She loves beautiful language and has no patience for dull prose, vapid romance, or cheesy dialogue. She prefers complex characterization, intriguing plots, and plenty of action. Favorite authors are Jack Vance, Robin Hobb, Kage Baker, William Gibson, Gene Wolfe, Richard Matheson, and C.S. Lewis.