Published: September 22, 2014
If you’ve been following my book reviews, then you know I’m kind of in love with Kayti Nika Raet’s* unique, fast-paced, thrilling series The Outsider Chronicles.
I read NIKO and promptly fell in love with a badass girl and her killer baseball bat. Then I snagged HARM and fell even harder for Songhay. And now I’ve read OUTSIDER twice.
Oh yeah, you read that right. Twice, bitches, cuz it’s just that good.
OUTSIDER is the third cycle in Raet’s The Outsider Chronicles and I have to say, it’s her best so far. The novel represents a two-fold evolution: Raet’s prowess as a writer and her main character Niko’s growth as a woman. The rhythm of the novel feels almost languid compared to the first two books and this is a good thing, as it is perfectly pitched to Niko’s state of mind: contemplative, distraught, conflicted, determined.
The story opens with Songhay and Niko entering Cherai city as Grey-men, the drugged slaves working within the city walls. Quickly reuniting with Ben, Jared, and their allies, the group plot to free the Grey-Men and wrest control of the city’s water supply, thus revolutionizing the lives of many.
And that’s about all I’m going to say about the plot.
Actually, I lied. I’ve got one more thing to say about the plot: there are Slithers. Of course there are Slithers. Freaking nasty pieces of work which, by the way, are becoming smarter by the day. Dudes are talking and strategizing.
Shit’s about to get real up in here.
As always, Raet delivers with the action as her crew battle Slithers and race to gain control of the water supply. This is where Raet excels and seems quite at ease as a writer – girlfriend knows her way around a deadly fight. Where she surprises the reader and proves her writing skill are the moments of quiet reflection, tenderness, and despair. Her love triangle is fraught with wonder, surprise, and awe; her lovers are wrapped in a bittersweet, ever-encroaching anguish. Their kisses are full of tightly-wound sexual tension, released sparingly and with such effect the reader can almost feel a brush of lips along a clavicle and a touch along a hip.
It’s sexy and sweet and sad.
And then there’s Songhay.
About him, all I’m going to say is this: “we don’t always get what we want.”
Go buy the book. Now. I’m not playing. Snag a copy this minute. You can thank me later.
*Full disclosure, Kayti and I have become friends ever since she reviewed THE GIRL, interviewed me, and then I reviewed NIKO. But seriously, that matters little. This series is fierce and I would not lead you astray. Also, Kayti and I don’t have one of those relationships where we are afraid to call each other out on the not-so-good-stuff in our work. I’ve criticized her spelling errors and she’s been honest about parts of my books she doesn’t like. Which is another way of saying I’m not sitting here, sugar-coating shit to make Kayti feel good. I mean, yeah, she’s probably feeling good right about now as she reads this review, but she earned it.
This. Book. Rocks.