He killed me. He killed me not. He killed me. It’s been happening since Min was eight. Every two years, on her birthday, a strange man finds her and murders her in cold blood. But hours later, she wakes up in a clearing just outside her tiny Idaho hometown—alone, unhurt, and with all evidence of the horrifying crime erased. Across the valley, Noah just wants to be like everyone else. But he’s not. Nightmares of murder and death plague him, though he does his best to hide the signs. But when the world around him begins to spiral toward panic and destruction, Noah discovers that people have been lying to him his whole life. Everything changes in an eye blink. For the planet has a bigger problem. The Anvil, an enormous asteroid threatening all life on Earth, leaves little room for two troubled teens. Yet on her sixteenth birthday, as she cowers in her bedroom, hoping not to die for the fifth time, Min has had enough. She vows to discover what is happening in Fire Lake and uncovers a lifetime of lies: a vast conspiracy involving the sixty-four students of her sophomore class, one that may be even more sinister than the murders."
Author: Brendan Reichs
Series?: Project Nemesis #1
Genre: YA, Science Fiction
I've been in a bit of a reading slump over the past month. Recently I've been reading a lot of thrillers, and they all seemed to follow a similar structure. I wanted to read something a bit different and Nemesis was suggested to me - it was definitely different!
I was completely drawn in by the mystery of the concept. How is it possible for her to repeatedly die and come back? Why is she being killed? Who is the mysterious assassin? Reichs balances maintaining mystery with releasing knowledge, so the reader can still speculate to the truth while being satisfied at the pace of plot development. Even when the truth is revealed, the excitement sustains and leaves the reader hungry to discover what will happen next. It's also significant that Reichs brings Science Fiction to YA without feeling the need to "dumb down" the technical details. The concept is well thought-out and scientifically explained, interesting older audiences as well as YA.
I am a big supporter of a multi-character narration, and it worked excellently with Reich's concept. We saw the scarring impact Project Nemesis had upon both Min and Noah, but also how this trauma influenced their action in drastically different ways. I personally connected with Noah more than Min; she seemed too pious for me, whereas Noah's emotions felt raw and devastating. The use of these contrasting characters meant the story wasn't one-sided and the global events of the novel weren't limited to one person's experience. Tack was also an enjoyable character for me, bringing humour and comradery to a sinister Lord of the Flies concept.
However, I am glad that I knew it was not a stand alone novel before I started. For me, 80% of this book was setting the scene and exploring the characters; similar to the way The Maze Runner series is set up, where the majority of the first novel is shrouded in mystery about the Maze, and the action only begins in the final quarter of the story. Whilst the end of Nemesis clears up some of the mystery, it isn't completely fulfilling. It leaves you wanting to know more, and excited to see what the sequel, Genesis, will offer.