Nemesis (Project Nemesis #1)
By Brendan Reichs
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Genre: YA Sci-fi
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.
Nemesis was beautifully successful for me in an area that has been predominantly a miss for YA; It offers a complex and rewarding science fiction experience that feels not only well fleshed out, but incredibly entertaining. It was a welcomed change of pace that I openly embraced and look forward to continuing with the sequel. I recently shared a playlist as part of the tour, which can be found here if interested.
Best left to exploration and revelation, I am choosing to skip the traditional recap and fast forward to exactly what worked for me so well in the young adult, science fiction story.
Character development is a steady somewhat slow process as there is a mystery shrouding both of our protagonists Min and Noah. But it is also equally rewarding. Left to uncover secrets of their own pasts that they soon find will cross, there is something to be said for the leisurely approach Reichs has created. It is a well-balanced blend of getting to know who Min and Noah are while vying to learn why.
There is enough complexity contained within the overall storyline to boast Nemesis as a clever and often surprising experience. The reader is provided with just enough details to facilitate multiple theories while encountering a nice dose of the unexpected. I hold a certain appreciation for authors who refuse to spoon feed readers while also avoiding unnecessary and inconsequential details. Here Reichs has created the perfect mixture, and it goes down so well!
The writing is smooth and knowledgable. Alternating perspectives are presented in a very concise and effective manner that help fuel the mystery and lead to a successful conclusion that feels gratifying while still accommodating an easy segue into the sequel. I find books that feel well researched to be extremely rewarding, adding the solid structure and execution of Nemesis, the end result is certainly so. My only small complaint would be how much I favored one character over the other. But even that served its own purpose in the end.
Nemesis will definitely find a welcoming home among the shelves of sci-fi fans old and young alike. I would love to see this one adapted into a series!
*I want to thank the publisher for this copy. The above review is my own, honest and unbiased opinion.
Devoured over several cups of Darjeeling!
About the Author
Brendan Reichs was born and raised in Charlotte, North Carolina. He graduated from Wake Forest University in 2000 and The George Washington University School of Law in 2006. After three long years working as a litigation attorney, he abandoned the trade to write full time. He is the author of Nemesis, and co-author of the Virals series, written with Kathy Reichs. Brendan lives in Charlotte with his wife, son, daughter, and a herd of animals that tear up everything.