Published: March 21st, 2017 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers | Series: Book 1 in Nemesis series | Length: 464 pages | Genre: YA, sci-fi, thriller | Source: I received an eARC through Penguin’s First to Read program. | Possible Triggers: Mental health (but no self-harm or suicide), murder, death, violence, child abuse (not detailed, but hinted at)
Summary from Goodreads:
Orphan Black meets Lord of the Flies in this riveting new thriller from the co-author of the Virals series.
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.
I hadn’t heard a lot about this book before I started reading it and I wasn’t quite sure what to expect since I haven’t read anything by this author before. But it sounded like a great sci-fi thriller and I wasn’t at all disappointed by it.
Nemesis is broken up into 5 parts: Min, Noah, Project Nemesis, Fire Lake, and The Guardian. The first two parts are told in the POV of the title character and the other three have alternating chapters that switch between Min and Noah’s POVs. I really liked both characters and I also enjoyed both POVs. Min and Noah both have very different connections in town and thus were able to offer interesting information that the other character wouldn’t know. Through their POVs we also see how the same very traumatic experiences can lead to incredibly different responses: Min is very strong and willing to face anything head-on whereas Noah struggles with accepting himself and deals with a lot of anxiety as a result of his experiences. Min has been told her murders were delusions and Noah was told his were nightmares, but only Noah believes what he’s told and it results in very different experiences for them. Noah blames himself for being “weak” whereas Min resents those that don’t believe her. I really liked this because it’s a (necessary) reminder of how the same experiences won’t lead to people reacting the same way.
I absolutely loved the corruption and conspiracies that were thrown into the story and I loved how difficult it was to figure everything out. Until it was revealed, I honestly had absolutely no idea what could possibly be going on and I loved that. There were one or two smaller twists/mysteries in the story that I did end up figuring out, but overall, this book really kept me guessing and had me scratching my head. It made it incredibly difficult for me to put this book down for any considerable amount of time because all I wanted to do was keep reading and figure out what was happening.
I also felt that the pacing for this book was impressive. It was a lot more balanced than I’d expect in a book like this. In my experience with thrillers, you’ll have a steady plot throughout most of the book and then a huge amount of information is thrown at you at the end. While this is still true to an extent for Nemesis (as you don’t find out what’s going on until the last section), I found that it wasn’t nearly as bad as it could’ve been and I appreciated that Reichs divulged a good amount of information steadily throughout, rather than throwing it all at the reader at once.
Edit: I forgot to include that the ending to this was kind of strange. This paragraph will contain spoilers so skip ahead if you don’t want to read them. I mentioned before that Noah struggles with anxiety as a result of his experiences, but at the end of the book his anxiety just kind of disappears. It was pretty bizarre, truthfully. Something happens and he feels like he has a place in the world for the first time and he suddenly just isn’t anxious at all. This is ridiculously unrealistic (and yes, I realize that I’m complaining about realism in a sci-fi book) and just isn’t how anxiety works at all. This is probably my main complaint of the book.
Nemesis ended on a huge cliffhanger which has me very eager to read more. I kind of panicked at first because Goodreads doesn’t list any series info, but the author did tell me on Twitter that this is, in fact, a series (THANK GOD). I’m really excited to see where Reichs takes this, as I think there’s a lot of potential for a very interesting story to unfold. All in all, Nemesis is a very strong novel that I think a lot of people will enjoy. If you’re a fan of sci-fi, thrillers, or both, you should definitely pick this up when it comes out in a couple of weeks.