Nil Unlocked (Nil #2) – Lynne Matson

Nil Unlocked (Nil #2) – Lynne MatsonTitle: Nil Unlocked (Nil #2) by Lynne Matson
Publishing Info: May 12, 2015 by Macmillan
Source: Edelweiss
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: April 28, 2015
Related Posts: Nil (Nil #1), Nil on Fire (Nil #3)

    On the island of Nil, the rules are set. You have exactly 365 days to escape—or you die. Rives is now the undisputed Leader of Nil City, but keeping the City united is tougher than ever.
Raiders have grown bolder, supplies are dwindling, and non-human inhabitants have taken a turn toward the deadly. New arrivals cause rifts within the City, putting the Search system at risk, and calling everything Rives knows into question. Desperate for answers, he teams up with the only other person searching for them: Skye, a new arrival with a mysterious past of her own. Soon the duo find themselves locked in a desperate race to save all the residents of Nil—and possibly destroy the island forever. But at what cost? And who will pay the price?


When I first read NIL last year, I was so pleasantly surprised! I went into the book not knowing what to expect and I ended up really, really enjoying it. It was an interesting kind of science-fiction, focusing more on what sort of phenomena may occur in nature and take the world by surprise instead of a man-made or manipulated experiment. The island of Nil really comes alive in book two (no, really. It’s kind of alive) and it added yet another enjoyable layer to this series!

NIL UNLOCKED is told from alternating point-of-views: Rives, a “Nil survivor” who the readers met in book one, and Skye, a girl whose uncle had survived Nil and whose father is obsessed with finding the island. I did find myself missing the two main characters from the previous book, Charley and Thad, at the very beginning but the book quickly swept me away and I was anxious to see what other mysteries Nil had in store. I think my only regret is that I wasn’t able to read these two closer together because I had a hard time remember a lot about Rives and the other kids on the island because I was SO focused on Charley and Thad in the first book.

That being said, I really did appreciate getting to know Rives as a main character in this book. I really enjoyed his personal ties to the island (they seemed much more personal than Charley’s and Thad’s) as well as watching him grow into his new leadership position. Then we get to know Skye who is the other half of the story and she was quite the fireball and a great balance for Rives. Their interactions really kept the story moving and they kept each other alert and hungry for answers. But my favorite new character may be the island of Nil itself. NIL introduced us to the mysteries that may dwell beneath the surface but NIL UNLOCKED really allowed the characters and the readers to explore the deeper secrets. The island of Nil started to really come alive and it was so fun to see the way it shaped the book. When done well, I really enjoy when a setting sort of takes on the role of a character and NIL UNLOCKED really nailed it!

I actually didn’t know that there was a third book going into my read of NIL UNLOCKED… and I actually didn’t realize when I finished it either. I’m not quite sure if I’d categorize this as a series since the plot does continue from book one to book two or companions since the main characters are different but any which way you slice it, the two books out so far really do stand well on their own (though I still advise to read them in order). It’s refreshing to have the feeling that the story can continue and yet the reader isn’t left with gaping holes or giant cliffhangers. There’s always more to explore when it comes to Nil but so far these two books wrap up nicely!

If you’re a sci-fi fan (and I won’t tire of saying it… especially if you’re a fan of LOST), you need to check out these books! It was really refreshing to read this corner of science-fiction with more of nature-focus than futuristic and gadgety. There’s so much happening in this book that the feel ranges from sci-fi to thriller to mystery and there’s even a bit of romance. I really enjoy this series so far and I hope others will keep on picking it up!


“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!



Rives // Character Obsessions: Investigating, Nil, Talla, leading, surviving.
I’m really glad I got to know Rives better in this book! I really enjoyed seeing him step into the leadership role and I think it suited him well. Naturally, he takes a few unnecessary risks but leaders also have to do that sometimes in order to keep making progress. I just really liked his overall personality and I thought he was a great new main character!
Skye // Character Obsessions: Mysteries, survival skills, family.
Skye was a great addition to this series. I really like how she had a connection to Nil without actually being on the island and her perspective brought a lot of knowledge to the characters. Loved how tough she was and she brought a great energy to this book.


Kept Me Hooked On: Different realms of sci-fi. I really liked exploring a landscape that presents mysteries like the island of Nil does. It’s great to see sci-fi in a naturalistic sense — exploring natural phenomena, solving mysteries, a less sterile and formal type of investigation. It was really neat!
Left Me Wanting More: In-my-face science. I did like the answers that we received from this book but I’m always thirsty for more twisty scientific explanations! But I also understand that it’s hard to come up with these sort of plots and have it all make sense!!

Addiction Rating
Read it!

This series has been so much fun for me so far. I’m really looking forward to reading the last book when it comes out and it’s one that I really enjoy recommending!



(Click the cover to see my review!)


Hi, I'm Brittany!
Hi, I'm Brittany!

I'm an avid reader, candle-maker, and audiobook lover! Here you'll find book reviews, fun blog posts, and my other loves of photography & craft beer!

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3 thoughts on “Nil Unlocked (Nil #2) – Lynne Matson

  1. Alexia

    I actually had bought NIL last year and when I won a giveaway for an ARC of NIL Unlocked, I decided to binge read them. I am SO glad I binge read them. I think I would have struggled if I read books 1 & 2 a year apart.

    I loved getting to know Rives so much better in this book, and I LOVED reading about Skye’s backstory.

    I cannot wait until book 3 comes out!

  2. Kaitlin @ Next Page Please!

    I really enjoyed Nil and recently finished this book, which I enjoy as well! Nil U and Nil were two very different books. Nil focused more on surviving and getting off Nil. It was more of an introduction. Nil U is basically unlocking her secrets. We find out more about Nil and how there is much more that meets the eye. I am super excited for the next book and stoked to find out what it’s about! Thanks for the great review! 😀


  3. Cassi @ My Thoughts Literally

    I loved NIL too and I totally agree on how creative it is as science fiction. I love that the island is as much a character as anyone else and she is quite a fantastic antagonist. I still need to read this book but your made me so much more excited to pick it up!

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