Book Review: Nemesis by Brendan Reichs is a Holy Cow Read

If you are looking for a roller-coaster ride of a book, this is it. If you’re looking for a mystery wrapped up like a science fiction novel, this is also it. If you’re looking for a coming-of-age story mixed with elements of the movie Transcendence and San Andreas (because who doesn’t happen to be looking for just such a combination?), this is also it. Nemesis is about two teenagers in the sleepy Idahoan town of Fire Lake who are murdered every two years but somehow come back to life afterward, every time, without a scratch on them, and a Doomsday comet that is projected to destroy all life on Earth. Sound like a head-scratcher? It kind of is, and that’s what intrigued me about this book: I wanted to see how Reichs would combine two such wildly disparate elements, each epic in their own right. He does combine them, but it’s not until the very end of the book. So, if I were to sum up Nemesis in one word, I would say it is: …not possible. I have to resort to two, and they are: holy cow.

The book starts with the murder of Min, one of the two teenagers, by a man in a black suit. It’s the same man that’s murdered her every two years since she was six, and he always apologizes before he kills her. Each time, he does it a different way, and Reich (thankfully) doesn’t go into gory detail. Each time, Min’s consciousness goes black at the point of death, and then resumes the next morning when she wakes up in a cave a mile or so from her house. It’s such a crazy premise that, at first, you feel tempted to stop reading, but Reich does a good job of describing her emotions and her backstory without slowing down the plot. Doing so, in fact, deepens the intrigue. By the end of the book, there is so much intrigue, in fact, that you’re neck deep in it. It was all I could do not to turn to the last pages to solve the mystery, but I didn’t. And I’m glad I didn’t. It ended on a total cliffhanger! Normally, when I come across cliffhanger endings to books, I throw the books down and put any other books by the authors of those books on my “do not read” list (I have a GoodReads list just for that purpose). In this case, though, I realized that the cliffhanger set things up for a sequel that will have an absolutely astounding, totally unique premise.

I’m just about done reading Of Noble Family, the fifth and last book in Mary Robinette Kowal’s Glamourist History series, which I talked about here (hint: Regency + magic = awesome). As much as I liked the first four books, I’m liking this last one twice as much! I’ll put up a review of Of Noble Family Wednesday-ish of this week.

 

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