“Loka” Review

The cover shows a person and a small machine that looks somewhat like a dog in a valley between cliff sides with large patches of green up the sides. The two figures are in the distance standing on a rock looking upwards at the blue sky visible outside of the valley.  The book title is written from top to bottom one letter at a time and the author's name is at the very top.Full Title: “Loka: The Alloy Era No. 2”
Written by S. B. Divya
Published by 47North, August 2024
367 pages
Completed June 4, 2024

Akshaya is the hybrid daughter of a human mother and an alloy, a genetically engineered posthuman―and she’s the future of life on the planet Meru. But not if the determined Akshaya can help it. Before choosing where her future lies, she wants to circumnavigate the most historic orb in the universe―the birthplace of humanity: Earth.

Akshaya’s parents reluctantly agree to her anthropological challenge―one with no assistance from alloy devices, transport, or wary alloys themselves who manage humanity and the regions of Earth called Loka. It’s just Akshaya; her equally bold best friend, Somya; and a carefully planned itinerary threading continent by continent across a wondrous terrain of things she’s never seen: blue skies, sunrises, snowcapped mountains, and roiling oceans.

As the adventure unfolds, the travelers discover love and new friendships, but they also learn the risks of a planet that’s not entirely welcoming. On this trek―rapturous, dangerous, and life-changing―Akshaya will discover what human existence really means.

This was a great book. It was a very quick read and I enjoyed reading Akshaya and Somya’s adventure around the world. Akshaya is a very typical teenager who wants to be able to make her own choices about everything and not feel forced to conform to what her mother wants for her. Both she and her mother have a lot to learn and do so throughout the course of the book. I really enjoyed the additional aspects of how disability was used. Like her mother Akshaya has sickle cell anemia and must figure out how to work with it on Earth where it’s more disabling than it would be on Meru due to different conditions. The entire story is about self discovery and figuring out where you belong in the universe.

While this book is a sequel to the previous book “Meru” – Akshaya’s parents are two of the main characters from that book – “Loka” works well enough as a standalone novel. I think anyone could read it without having read the first book. Though some plot points might be helpful to know for additional context.

Thank you to NetGalley, 47North and S.B. Divya for access to the ARC in exchange for an honest review.