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Nil Unlocked (Nil Series) by Lynne Matson

Nil Unlocked (Nil Series)

by Lynne Matson

Series: Nil (2)

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Boy, what an emotional roller coaster! Lynne Matson took me on a nail-biting, action-packed adventure that I could never have dreamed up in a million years. Nil Unlocked was the perfect sequel to Nil, and I regret that I put off reading it for so long!

The ground shook like Hadies had lost his temper.

Or his favorite toy. Or both.

Nil Unlocked began on Nil in the exact place we left off in the previous book, with a stunned Rives and an angry grizzly bear. It was wonderful to be back on the island, but it soon became clear that Nil has changed in scary, unpredictable ways. As exciting as it was for me to be back, with Rives as Leader of Nil City, fear and anxiety soon warred with my excitement as my concern for the characters grew. Nil is no longer what it used to be and all the rules that the teenagers learn to survive by seem to be changing drastically. While I was overjoyed by the happy ending of the first book, it brought about some irreversible changes to Nil that the teenagers have to survive, along with Nil’s unexpected and seemingly deadly reaction to Skye’s sudden presence.

While Nil Unlocked is very similar to its predecessor, it’s very different in the best of ways.

For one, the island felt like a completely different place. The havoc Nil wrecks in this book made Nil island of book one look like cake compared to this one. It was like coming home one night to finding your house changed into a huge ass mansion, and you have to learn how to navigate it all over again. It’s not a bad change, but its a hell of a surprise that makes you wonder if you’re really just going insane.

Unsurprisingly, the edge-of-your-seat danger sky rocketed (no pun intended) and the complex and impossible mission Skye an Rives faced made for a slower building romance than the first book offered, which I totally understood. They had a few more concerns that were more important than playing kissy face. It gave me more time to get to know Skye and Rives as separate main characters and I began to question who really was the bigger bad ass; the new Leader of the city that is determined to make sure every one of his charges survive or the newest addition to the group who seems to have more skill, bravery, and self-awareness than any teenager in her place would?

Not only is there more danger and romance, but a new group of Nil inhabitants are revealed to the survivors that adds more complexity to the mysterious existence of Nil (as if it weren’t complex enough to have a random island that doesn’t show up on a map that magically kidnaps teenagers) and with the new inhabitants, came new questions about the origins of Nil. So much happened in Nil Unlocked that I would have felt lost and confused with a less talented author, but Matson managed to reveal answers, new challenges, and more questions in crazy complex world-building, but easy to follow writing. It couldn’t have been an easy feat and I’m mightily impressed!

Also, I’m more than slightly book hung over and worried that this review makes absolutely zero sense. (Oh, well. What’s new?)

This is the second novel I’ve read from Matson and its becoming clear that she enjoys creating heroines that are bad-ass but down to earth enough to enjoy. Skye recently moved in with her astrophysicist father after her mom left for a new dig in Africa. Her father is also a survivalist obsessed with the weird and unexplained, which so happens to help Skye adapt to living on a nonexistent island where your days are literally numbered fairly quickly. She understands Nil and it was nice to have a main character who knows what she wants and has a no-nonsense attitude about going after it.

I’d now spent 241 consequative days in this deadly arena, more conseqative days than I’d spent in any place ever. Staying in one place so long implied roots, at least to me.

But I damn sure wouldn’t call Nil home.

Rives has been a fast favorite of mine since I met him in Nil. He’s a handsome devil who has a wicked sense of humor that is unfortunately dampened a bit in Nil Unlocked. I wasn’t disappointed, because who wouldn’t find face a personality change in a new and intense responsibility. Oh and don’t forget that impossible new mission that he’s supposed to help with – before his 365 days are up. He is dealing with a painful loss and a new, and fierce attraction to someone who seems to have more secrets than Nil. This boy does not have it easy, I’m afraid.

As you can tell, I really loved this book. I loved the crazy new changes that I didn’t see coming, the character development, the world building and most of all, I loved how personified Nil became as the story developed. I learned a lot about the characters and the island and I’m impatient (and terrified) of what Matson has planned for the characters in Nil on Fire. This book was fantastic and I recommend it to any and all readers who love adventure, danger, romance, and adversity.The year has just started but I can already tell Nil Unlocked is making it on my 2016 Top Ten Favorites list! ( )
  One_Curvy_Blogger | Feb 16, 2016 |
NIL Unlocked is everything that I had wished NIL would be! The romance is much less the focus, and instead everyone is trying to figure out what is going on with the island and how to defeat it. I liked the main couple a lot more (no girl-bashing this time around) and read it in a day front to back. You honestly don't even need to read book one, just skip to this one if you want YA Lost without the romantic angst ;-). ( )
  anyaejo | Aug 12, 2015 |
I wanted to read Nil Unlocked because I liked the world building and plot for the first, and wanted to get inside the heads of others on the island. For the first I do remember the thing that bothered me was figuring out how the island came to exist, how the kids get there, and who choses. I lost myself in the story, and I understand that the kids wouldn't know anything, but I just kept thinking, where on earth is this, and how does it work. This didn't really take away much from my enjoyment, I was immersed in Charley and Thad, their chemistry and their fight to survive.

It was nice to get the perspective of Rives. He is the leader now, and he is more driven than ever to find answers. He is one of the ones who thinks of Nil as sentient and that Nil is calculating. He meets what seems to be a native of Nil and he has even more questions than ever. He is taking risks, following leads, and still trying to keep order in the City.

Skye is the other new character and she is actually on the outside, Her dad has been researching Nil for the longest time, based on the journals of his brother who has since passed, but was on Nil and then deemed crazy when he tells about the island. Skye has been training for the longest time, because her dad wants her to be prepared in case she is taken, and when he shows her her uncle's journals she is skeptical, but more and more begins to believe that its a real place and her dad is on to something.

This was as addictive as the first, and fast paced. I didn't want to put it down and couldn't wait to find out more about the island, and hope for the best for the characters I grow to care about who are in danger on this island with a 365 day time limit to get off or face certain death.

The build up and addition to what we know about Nil is greatly improved by Rives' nearly manic desire to find answers and push the boundaries to get those answers. Skye is hard core and the chemistry not only physical but mental compatibility and how they challenged one another and gave a new perspective to what the other has been reaching for.

Like the first encounter with Nil, we are left with hearts pounding, and the bittersweet victory dampened by the huge amount of grief for the ones who didn't make it. It's also clear that Nil's story no matter how it may have seemed to the characters, isn't over. I will def read the third book and can't wait until its out.

Bottom Line: Fast paced delving back into this beautiful but dangerous island. ( )
  brandileigh2003 | Jun 1, 2015 |
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Trapped on the island of Nil in a parallel universe, Rives is the undisputed leader of Nil City but raiders, non-human inhabitants, and new arrivals make it ever harder to maintain order and Rives teams up with Skye, a new arrival with a mysterious past, in a desperate race to save all the residents of Nil.… (more)

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