Nemesis is a thrilling novel about a girl and boy in the midst of a government conspiracy in the tiny, isolated town of Fire Lake in Idaho.
Min has been murdered on her even numbered birthdays ever since she was eight. A man in shiny leather shoes and reflective glasses always comes to kill her, doesn’t matter how. Yet hours later, she wakes up in the woods without a scratch on her or a tear in her clothing.
This has been happening to Noah as well. He’s plagued by these murders and doesn’t handle it as well as Min does, if being put on pills and going to a psychiatrist counts as “handling it well.”
When these two teens discover the conspiracy in their tiny town and how it connects to their biannual murders, the approaching doom of human life on Earth, and the other students of their sophomore class, secrets will be revealed and haunting truths will come to light.
Here’s the official summary:
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.
This book was so intense and I loved every minute of reading it. It might have just been because I was hiding in my closet with bottles of water and packets of food as Hurricane Irma raged outside my house, but I could feel my heart pounding as I flipped the pages of this novel.
The plot was very engaging–there was never a long stretch of pages that felt boring or tiring for me to read, I was always hanging onto the sentences trying to figure out the mystery of the conspiracy. Whether it was well-structured flashbacks of birthday murders or break-ins, I found myself speeding through the pages. The action isn’t gory but instead is done with finesse and style as they keep a fast-pace and tight-grip on the reader.
Nemesis just sucked me in and I’m still waiting to be spat out (I’ll have to wait till 2018 for the next book 😭).
The main characters (and side characters) were all enjoyable and never annoying to read about.
Min is a fierce YA female protagonist and she’s probably one of the best examples I’ve seen. Making strong female protagonists is tricky because sometimes authors write them as overly cruel to make them stronger, which isn’t any better.
But Min is headstrong, compassionate, and smart. She’s basically perfect, which is the reason why I had such a hard time connecting to her.
I think Min would be an awesome best friend, but I couldn’t connect with her as well as I could with the other characters. She just seem so unflawed and amazing and that makes her a little less perfect to the reader because she’s harder to relate to.
Min’s character & her lack of flaws is why I felt the need to take off a half star. She’s more of a main character than Noah is in this book, but I connected more with Noah than I did with Min.
Her perfect-ness is what I found imperfect about this book. I hope that in the second novel, some of Min’s flaws will be revealed and she’ll become more human.
It impacted her narrative because she never got to feel profound guilt or regret, which is something I wanted to see from her.
Before I continue with their characters, it’s good to note that this novel is told through alternating POVs of Min and Noah, Min for the first fifth, Noah for the second, and chapter by chapter alternations for the rest.
Noah, however, is a character that I adored. He’s flawed and insecure and doesn’t make the right choice sometimes and is imperfectly perfect.
He comes from a rich family and a father who’s never around but marries a lot, and he’s somewhat a lone wolf that hangs with the bullies. He’s cowardly at times, especially in those group settings, which make the societal aspect of the conspiracy so interesting.
Throughout the novel, his character takes a 360 and he changes a lot. He’s way more dynamic than Min and his struggles were much more real to me.
I connected a lot with him and his insecurities, especially when he compared himself to perfect Min. It’s so refreshing to see flawed male characters instead of just that hot guy over there.
Noah is complex and I still haven’t figured him all out, but the dynamics of his character change were very entertaining and it made him such a nice character to get into his head.
I can’t spoil everything about Noah, but he’s such an interesting character that I can’t wait to see more of in the sequel. The changes in his person that occurred near the end of the first book have me so excited for the second!
Noah is almost an antagonist at times and I’m a sucker for anti-heroes and anatgonists, like Adelina from The Young Elites. They’re such interesting characters that you can’t help getting sucked into the twisted ideas in their heads.
The side characters were all formed nicely, Tack and Ethan as the most notable.
Tack is Min’s best friend and a really cool side character. He’s got a big mouth and doesn’t always think things through, which makes him so endearing. His juxtaposition with Min is actually really sweet because she’s always rescuing him from when he gets in trouble when he talks back.
Ethan is Noah’s “friend” and he’s basically the head of the bullies at their tiny school. That’s about where the trope ends and he becomes this self-entitled delusional rich kid who is much more than just ‘a bully.’ Going into Ethan’s character would spoil things, but I think he’s another complex character that I want to see more of.
Min and Noah’s possible romance (what type of YA book is this if there isn’t a possible romance?) is nicely done. It’s not like they’re going to start attacking each other’s lips at any given moment, and I honestly wouldn’t even call it a romance. It’s more like gentle flirtations that may or may not mean something.
And Min and Tack might be a thing or they might not? There’s no love triangle, but these character dynamics are setting up a lot of interesting ideas for later book(s). Honestly I’m not really shipping any of the characters because they’re sixteen and truth be told, most teenagers don’t fall in love.
Oh, and the end of human life on Earth. How could I forget that teeny detail? The end of the world (whether in the form of Anvil, a giant asteroid, or other things) is thought-provoking as any other you’re-about-to-die novel and sends us all into a frenzy. (Who remembers Dec 2012 when the Mayan calendar ended and we all thought the world would end? 🙋🏻)
I mentioned this earlier, but the societal aspect of the conspiracy and who ends up on top of the society is thought-provoking. A group of 64 teenagers that are the center of the conspiracy is bound to get spicy (and it does!).
This book reminds me a lot of The Maze Runner series (James Dashner) and the middle grade science fiction series, Atherton (Patrick Carmen). Conspiracies are hard to execute, but I think Reichs does a fantastic job because everything was justified.
Some of the stuff happening seemed like it could realistically happen in real life, and that’s what I love about science fiction. And the plot twists that formed the conspiracy as Min and Noah tried to figure things out were all so clear at the end of this novel.
I can’t believe I have to wait until March 6th, 2018 to read the second book because I know I’ll be so excited to continue with Min and Noah’s journey in this intricate ploy.
Have you read Nemesis or anything by Brendan Reichs? What did you think?