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“If mankind requires what we were forced to endure in order to survive, then maybe it deserves oblivion,” Min. –Genesis
Project Nemesis #2
by Brendan Reichs
AR Test, Diverse Characters
Noah has died again. Now he is determined to live. After an asteroid destroys the Earth, the planet is left in the hands of Fire Lake’s sophomore class. After being murdered and uploaded into a simulation, the group of 64 students is left to duke it out and hopefully make it through the Guardian’s game. There are no rules, but repeatedly dying has trained Noah. Now, he plans to lead the strong into the future. At any cost.
Min Wilder knows that survival isn’t enough. In a world where violence is king, Min rebels against allowing others to determine who lives and who dies. She will fight for what is right. She will fight against anyone who stands in her way.
The second book of Project Nemesis follows the same group of kids, alternating perspectives between Min, Tack, and Noah. The kids are told by the Guardian, the one in charge of the computer program, that they must fight each other to make it through the program and eventually return to real life. He claims that the simulation will only allow the strongest and smartest to return to the real world. This spurs the kids to form groups and turn on one another as their existence becomes a fight for survival.
Min, Tack, and Noah all take separate journeys and handle the violence and new reality differently. Min refuses to bow to the moral pits that the violence keeps tugging the students into. Tack completely gives himself over to the violence, willing to do anything to make it out alive. And Noah believes completely in the program’s rules, until Min reminds him of his humanity. All three teenagers’ journeys spotlight different ways of handling grief, trauma, and catastrophe. The students’ struggle with whom to trust and what to believe is both interesting and thought-provoking.
In order to fully understand Genesis, readers need to read Nemesis first. Reichs does an excellent job of incorporating past events from Nemesis into the story; the short reminders help the reader stay engaged. However, what makes the reader keep turning the pages are the intriguing situations the students face—the story has non-stop action and startling surprises.
Genesis is extremely violent and has an outrageous storyline. While it takes some faith from readers, this story does an excellent job navigating this unique plot. Genesis will keep the readers guessing until the very end. Readers who enjoy suspense and adventure will enjoy the plot twists and action sequences. Readers who are fans of Maze Runner will want to pick up the Project Nemesis series.
- Tack says Noah is “too busy roasting people like marshmallows, or making out with his hunting knife” to look for him and Min.
- Toby volunteers to take Min back to the jail in town. Min says, “Screw you, Toby.” He replies, “You offering?” As they start back into town, he “put a hand to the small of my (Min’s) back. He left it there for a few paces, then ran his fingers up and over my bra strap.”
- Min announces that she’s willing to sacrifice herself so the group can make it to Phase Three. Noah is filled with emotion and insists that she’s their leader. Noah then kisses Min “in front of the others. His touch was electric, and soft, and sad.” Noah insists that he should be the one to sacrifice himself. Min says, “‘Don’t leave me, okay? I forgive you. I . . . I love you.’ I kissed him then, hard on the mouth.”
- Right before Noah and Min get in their tubes to be regenerated, they share a kiss. “Then Noah’s lips found mine and I wrapped my arms around him, squeezing, losing myself in his warmth. . . I grabbed him again and mashed his face with another kiss.”
- A group of kids is ambushed as they are sneaking through the woods. Their rivals who ambushed them start shooting. “Zach dropped like a puppet with its strings cut, a dark stain spreading. . .Morgan’s body jerked . . .Then she slumped onto her butt, blubbering, glossy liquid spilling from her mouth.” Later in the scene, the rest of the group gets away and sets fire to a cabin with the rivals inside. The people inside screamed and were locked inside as the cabin burned down. The people are not described as they are dying.
- Chris and Mike kill Min by locking her in an elevator and blowing up the cables. “The wall exploded, shards of metal lacerating my arms and legs. Flames licked my skin. . . My legs smashed up into my body. The roof slammed down on top of me.”
- While on their way to the Silo, Min and Tack run into Neb who is staying at a summer camp with four others. While talking, “Neb spun sideways. . . gasping in confusion as a red bloom spread across his chest.” Two kids are attacking the camp, and one shoots Min and Tack with an assault rifle. It is not depicted in any detail.
- Min is ambushed. When the three assailants try to capture her, one “caught a fist in his teeth for his trouble.” They put a bag over her head and tie her up.
- Devin drops some food, and Ethan overreacts. “. . . he raised his gun and shot Devin in the stomach.” Devin doesn’t die immediately, so Ethan shoots him again. This is all done with the understanding that he will revive at one of the reset points.
- Zach, part of the team trying to ransack a store, gets shot in an ambush. “. . . a line of bullets ripped into his jacket.” Then Noah shoots the sniper who killed Zach. The sniper “toppled forward and fell to the sidewalk with a sickening crunch. . . leaving a wide smear on the icy concrete.”
- The convenience store is blown up. A couple of kids standing in front of the store were shot and killed. One of them “had been tossed face-first into the gutter and was smoldering with tiny flames. The victim, a girl, lay unnaturally, her neck twisted too far around.”
- In order to give Min an extra life, Tack tricks her into shooting him and causing him to reset. It is not described in any detail.
- Noah and another kid use machine guns to shoot a group of kids following them. No details are given.
- In order to escape the jail and show up at the reset points, Akio and a couple of other kids used a fork to kill themselves. “The most horrifying jailbreak in history—a human murder chain. . . Ran myself into a wall.”
- Noah and Tack get in a fistfight. Noah’s “left fist flew, striking Tack across the face. . . Punching. Kicking. Clawing. . .” The fight lasts two pages.
- Tack, Noah, and their team try to ambush Ethan’s group but instead get ambushed themselves. “The barrel hit him chest-high and broke open, covering him in flaming liquid. Richie screamed. . . he collapsed in seconds. . . A tongue of red enveloped Jamie. She made a sickly screaming sound, a red stream leaking from her mouth.” Tack and Noah throw grenades, and “Toby’s left leg was missing. . . Toby put his gun in his mouth and calmly pulled the trigger.”Noah gets ambushed. “The first shot took me in the shin. The second struck my side.”
- Min must shoot Noah four times to even her life count. Noah “was lying on the ground in a puddle of warm, slick blood. . . I was down again. The drop cloth was soaked through with dark red liquid. . . I closed my eyes as she thrust the gun barrel against my forehead. . . Bang. Bang. Bang.”
- Ethan’s group and Min’s group attack each other. Over twenty kids are involved in the fighting. “Then Kyle stood over his body, unloading on Chris every time he tried to get up. . . Dropping his gun, he unsheathed a KA-BAR knife from his belt and stabbed Leighton in the chest. . . Before he could fire, Ethan tried to tackle him, but Toby sidestepped in a blink and tripped him, then shot Ethan five times in the back.” The fighting lasts six pages.
- Tack sacrifices himself to get the group to Phase Three of the program. “Tack put the gun to his head and pulled the trigger.”
Drugs and Alcohol
- At the beginning of the simulation, Sarah “destroyed the liquor store the first week. I let Cash and Finn get drunk and smash everything.”
- “Jesus” and “God” are used as exclamations.
- Profanity is used extensively. Profanity includes: “jackass, “ass,” “fucking,” “fuck,” “hell,” “damn,” “crap,” “freaking,” “assholes,” “pissed,” “bastards,” “shit,” “bullshit,” “bitch,” “bitchin’,” “goddamn,” “douchebag,” and “prick.”
- Derrick says, “Sarah’s lost her damn mind.”Casey
- is upset when Noah acts like only the boys are good at fighting. “‘Since when did sex matter?’ Casey shouted. . . ‘Don’t count up penises and assume you know the score.’”
- Ferris walked across the valley to get to Noah’s house. He says that the lake was, “colder than Santa’s balls with that wind.”
- Noah asks Tack to eliminate him. “No way, Noah. . . Fuck you, Noah! You want to play Jesus, do it your goddamn self.”
- In the program, the kids figure out that as they kill each other, they gain strength and powers from the confirmed kill.
- While traveling across the valley to try and unite the groups of kids against Ethan, Tack jokes, “So we’re not seeking converts along the way? . . . This is the worst mission trip ever.”
- Min is worried she will be captured or killed by those after her. “Pray to God Noah isn’t sitting there waiting for me. Pray to God? Or the Guardian?”
- Min says a small prayer because she believes that Sarah cannot manipulate the program.
- Min is nervous when she learns that Sarah actually has the power to manipulate the program on her own. “Sarah was playing God, and there was nothing anyone could do about it.”
- Sarah discovers how to change the program. Derrick says, “Sarah acting like the voice of God.”
- To even people’s numbers, Hector needs to shoot someone. He refuses, saying, “My religion forbids it.”
by Hannah Neeley