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"I'm not immortal. At least I don't think so, anyway. I age normally, even though I have this curious habit of dying and coming back to life," Min. ―Nemesis
Project Nemesis #1
by Brendan Reichs
The Anvil, an enormous asteroid, threatens the earth is about to devastate the world. But Min has bigger problems. Min has died – again. Every two years since she was eight, a man in a suit finds her and kills her. Where ever she hides, he finds her. After her death, she always wakes up in the same clearing in the forest outside her small Idaho town. When she returns from her disappearances, no one believes her story and there is no evidence. This year when Min is murdered, she goes on a mission to discover why.
Terrifying dreams of death haunt Noah. Anxiety is his only true friend. Noah tries to hide that he is different by blending in, going along with what others say. When Noah discovers that he has been lied to and his dreams were in fact reality, he vows to be brave and search for the truth.
When the military arrives just out of town, Min and her best friend Tack make an uneasy alliance with Noah. Although they do not fully trust each other, they are determined to find out what has been happening to them. They go on a search to discover the answers to the questions that plague them.
Told from both Min’s and Noah’s perspectives, Nemesis starts with a suspenseful story of Min being murdered and coming back to life. The reader is instantly drawn into Min’s mystery. With detailed descriptions of events, the reader can step into Min’s shoes and understand her feelings. Suspense will grip the reader, who will be surprised by the events in the story.
Nemesis brings the stereotypical high school to life, with the typical cliché groups. The language in the book is a bit over the top, with most of the characters constantly spouting a plethora of cuss words. The ending of the book is similar to Lord of the Flies and just as violent. In the end, a computer simulation talks about saving humanity, but the majority of the characters are so unlikeable the reader wonders if humanity should be saved at all.
- While with a boy Min imagines, “leaning forward and kissing him.”
- Min and Noah kiss several times. They fall asleep on a couch and wake up next to each other. Noah, “buried my face in her neck. Our lips met again, and for a while all other thoughts fled.”
- Two boys fight at school. Ethan slugged “Tack full in the face. . . Tack dropped to the ground like a boneless chicken breast.”
- Min and Tack put an oily rag into a Jeep’s gas tank and then set it on fire.
- Several natural disasters happen throughout the world during a short time period. The events are described on the news.
- In order to save a boy’s life, the sheriff kills a soldier. “He was lying face down on the ground, a dark puddle spreading beneath him.” As the kids run, shots ring out and they know the sheriff had been shot.
- A group of men blows up a bridge. When they attempt to surrender, soldiers shoot them. “A line of bullets tore through the liberty men, cutting them in half. They feel in a bloody mass, each body pierced a dozen times.”
- Tack kicks a soldier “in the crotch. The man dropped, writhing in pain.” The guards wrestle Tack to the ground. “Tack bucking and snarling like a wild animal until one of them struck him on the head with a rifle butt.”
- Soldiers are rounding up a group of teenagers. Some of the teens resist and there is a scuffle. One of the parents tries to fight the soldiers and they shoot him. “Wendell dropped to his knees, then toppled forward and lay still.”
- The military sprays a group of teens with a “thin green mist.” The reaction of the teens as they die is mixed. “Classmates writhed on the ground, tears and mucus coating their faces. The agony was unbearable—a burning, stinging horror that tore at the skin.” One of the commanders watching shots himself in the head.
- When Tack confronts the leader and won’t follow orders, he is stabbed in the heart. Another boy who confronts the leader is killed. “Toby strode to where Benny knelt. Shaking his head, he put a gun to Benny’s temple and pulled the trigger. . . Benny slumped to the ground, a red mess where is head had been . . . Tucker stared at the fistful of hair still clutched in his fingers, then dropped it as if burned.”
- In order to break Min out of jail, Noah attacks the guard. “Noah kicked him in the face, snapping his head back. Toby crumpled against the wall and lay still.”
- Hector kills himself by jumping into a canyon. Hector believed he was already dead and was in purgatory.
- When Min is eight she is murdered. She wanders off with a man, who she thinks is her mom’s friend, and he pushes her into a ravine.
- A man murders Min multiple times throughout the book. When she is shot, she “tumbled to the floor, struggling to breathe, blood bubbling on my lips as I stared up at the drab fluorescent lights on the ceiling. Pain tingled everything red. . . Liquid was filling my mouth, hot and wet. The hole in my chest burned like a sliver of the sun.”
- One time when Min was killed, she is chased through the woods. She falls and is barely hanging on the side of a cliff. “A shiny black boot smashed down on my fingers. I gasp in pain as my left hand loses its grip. I swing wildly, on the verge of plummeting to the white water belong. . . A foot stomps on my right hand. Snapping bones. A rush of air. Then I’m underwater, tumbling and spinning. Liquid fills my nose. My mouth. My ears. Something slams into my side, and ropes of agony shoot down my left arm. . . Pain explodes at my temple. I see and feel nothing more.”
- Another time Min is killed when a man hits her with a car.
- As Min tries to flee her killer, he finds her on the side of a cliff. He throws rocks at her until she plummets “to the boulders below. I land on my back and something snaps.” He then smashes her with a large stone.
- Noah is murdered when a man stabs him. “The A spike on agony . . . blood pumps onto the pavement. Slides down the hill. Cold. Blackness. Nothing.”
- Noah is murdered when a man cracks his skull. “My head caved in! But I didn’t’ die right away. I struggled, by my arms wouldn’t move. Then he hit me again!”
- When Noah is in the bathtub, the man puts a black metal rod into the water and electrocutes him.
- Noah is on the lake in a skiff when a boat hits him. Noah tries to swim but his left leg is missing and he drowns.
- Noah shoots Min. “There was a smoking hole in my chest. . . Tack was screaming, his clothes spattered in red.”
Drugs and Alcohol
- Drinking is mentioned several times, although none of the teens are seen consuming alcohol. One character said the guys would get “Neanderthal drunk.” Another time, Min talks about someone who, “spends most nights outside by his fire pit, drunk off his ass.”
- Several of the adults drink alcohol, which is revealed in the descriptions. “Mom had put away the photo albums and washed her scotch glass . . . She rarely drinks, and never more than one. But she’d refilled her glass several times . . . “ ”
- A character has to step over two adults who drunk themselves into a stupor and then fell asleep by their fire pit.
- After getting in a fight, tack takes Advil.
- Tack’s father is a drunk who hits his son.
- Noah’s father is absent for the entire story. Noah thinks his father is, “busy getting loaded in another hemisphere.” Later in the story, Noah tells his psychiatrist that his dad drank a lot after he divorced his wife.
- A psychiatrist gives two of the characters “little blue pills” to take daily. Neither character is sure what the pills are for, but when Noah is anxious he, “wanted a blue pill in the worst way.”
- One of the characters takes his friend’s ADHD medication.
- Holy crap, crap, damn, ass, hell, prick, jackass, bastard, goddamn, piss
- When a min shoots Min, she “carefully extended my middle finger” and told him to “go to hell.”
- When thinking about the man who keeps killing her, Min thinks, “Wouldn’t let the evil bastard’s shadow every moment of my life.”
- When describing a boy, Min thinks his face, “was gorgeous until you realized what a prick he was.”
- Tack calls other people names including, “jackass, asshole, douchebag.” He tells one boy, “everyone here thinks you’re dumber than crap, I’m the only one willing to say it. None of these people like you, Ethan. You’re a loser and a fraud, just a redneck piece of trash like me. Kill yourself.”
- Noah said his dad was a “drunk a-hole.”
- One of the characters thinks, “Why am I so worthless? God, I hate myself.”
- A parent spits at a soldier and tells him, “Piss on you and your threats. I know my rights, sunshine soldier.”
- Someone accuses Noah of hiding behind a “skank’s skirt.”
- When Min finds the man who has been murdering her, she calls him a “bastard,” and a “son of a bitch.”
- When the world was destroyed, everyone died. “Though your bodies died, the program successfully preserved sixty-four electro-chemical blueprints. These were uploaded into the mainframe on Day Minus-Four after final measurements were taken. You now exist as autonomous lines of code within the MegaCom master program . . . You still must eat and drink. You must shelter from weather, and avoid hazards. You can be injured. You can be killed”
- When the news is announced that the Earth will not be smashed by an asteroid, Melinda’s mom said “Praise God. . . God is good. Everything is going to be okay.”
- When the natural disasters begin, Min’s Mom mumbled about “God’s judgement.”
- Hector, a minor character, is the leader of the youth group. When the students are gassed and come back to life, he thinks he is in purgatory. He explains that purgatory is, “a holding place. Somewhere you’re judged. And tested.” After he jumps off a canyon wall, dies, and comes back to life, Hector said, “God isn’t down with me. It was stupid for me to think I was in control. I won’t defy him again.”