Published January 13, 2014
HARM is the fast-paced, thoroughly engrossing second installment in Kayti Nika Raet’s The Outsider Chronicles and picks up right where NIKO left off, leading readers through the stressful twists and turns of Niko’s journey after her narrow escape from Amaryllis City.
Traveling with Ben and her brother, with hopes of making it to Ben’s hometown of Cherai City, the trio encounter all sorts of obstacles prior to their arrival at the city gates, only to be turned away without a thought when they fail to produce the requisite entry fee. Deciding their best chance to get inside is to split up, Niko goes it alone on the outside, traversing the slums, encountering evil gangs, unscrupulous boot-sellers (trust me, you need some boots!) and finally meeting Songhay, a mysterious boy with some serious fighting skills. Songhay saves Niko, now calling herself Harm, from a rather horrible situation and together with Songhay’s sister, Roosevelt, the trio learn to (kind of) trust one another and survive.
As exciting and unique as the first installment in the series, NIKO, I especially enjoyed Harm because of the character Songhay. He is the one person in Niko’s life who seems to soften her a bit, humanize her in ways that not even her brother, Jared, can. I have no idea whether Songhay will play a more important role in Niko’s journey, but I do appreciate his ability to get under Niko’s skin and peel away a bit of the cold, calculated veneer she shows the rest of the world. (And I know Niko needs to be cold and calculated to survive this deadly landscape of acid rain, Slithers and corrupt individuals at every corner, but it’s nice to see there is someone with whom she can let down her guard and genuinely smile, even if it’s only for a moment.)
As with NIKO, Harm is action-packed, full of exciting fight scenes, witty banter and general feats of Niko-badassery. Fans of the first book will not be disappointed with Harm, as Raet continues weaving her web of intrigue around Niko. This original, engrossing, quick read takes you on one hell of a ride, leaving you wondering what secrets book three will uncover and expose, and hopeful Niko’s soul can survive them.
So what are you waiting for? Grab a copy, fix yourself a drink, and settle in for this wildly entertaining, second installment of The Outsider Chronicles.