Nyxia - a strong YA trilogy
Emmett is smart enough to know it sounds too good to be true, but he's desperate for money and being one of the first humans to visit another planet would be really cool. Still, he doesn't trust the slick corporate mouthpiece and once he's in space he would have no way of knowing if his mom was getting the medical care they promised. Then the guy's ring starts changing shapes, a ring made out of Nyxia, a substance Babel Corp found on the planet they call Eden, and Emmett is hooked. Besides, the contract looks legal. Naturally there's a catch or three, or maybe ten. First, the planet Eden is already inhabited by humanoids, but they say its not a problem because they have an agreement, not to mention the wildlife which killed most of the survey team. But they wait until Emmet and the other nine recruits are on the ship to reveal the most immediate catch. Only seven of them will actually be going down to Eden and so the trip will be spent in physical training and learning to manipulate Nyxia with their minds to prove themselves worthy of risking their lives for an enormous sum of money. However, not even Babel Corp is prepared for the really big catch that may kill them all.
Who trusts a company called Babel Corporation that named their secret planet Eden? The place is bound to be a death trap and there are plenty of plot twists along the way. One competition leads to another and the mining mission itself makes little sense. It's on too small a scale when Babel obviously wants as much as it can get, but the natives supposedly insisted on only seven young adults. The natives also claim that they are hoping some of the team will be interested in staying because our races appear genetically compatible and they are dying out. Emmett is pretty angry when he learns about that, mostly at Babel for lying to them; however, it's all a lie. Babel is merely using the kids as a distraction to get into Eden's cities so they know where to drop the bombs. But these natives not helpless and they've been lying to Babel from the beginning as well, so they too are willing to endanger Emmett's team to get what they want.
Nyxia, Nyxia Unleashed, and Nyxia Uprising follow what is now a common path in YA fiction. There's an obviously unscrupulous corporation, plenty of unwelcome surprises, and a strong chance of death. Really, a street smart guy from Detroit should know better. Rather than ignoring that problem Reintgren works with it by giving Emmett motivations beyond the money and saving his mom's life. It is Eden, the inhabitants, and the really cool Nyxia that draw him in. It's a lot more exciting than similar trilogies that have received a lot of hype and the original sci-fi setting makes it memorable. With Nyxia it takes on some aspects of super hero action and book three has plenty of battle action both on the surface, in the air, and in space. The best twist was turning the idea of a more advanced culture destroying the primitive people on its head and then some.
The audiobook version of thes series is narrated by an ensemble cast across the books and their performance is well rated.