By: Brendan Reichs
Book #2 in Project Nemesis Series
Content Warnings: Violence, blood, death, language, suicide
Reader beware: While my reviews for sequels often contain minor details from previous installments, one section of this review alludes to spoilers regarding the first book’s big reveal. I’ve marked that section, but please proceed at your own risk.
This book got my heart pumping even whilst I sat perfectly still! Every moment in Genesis is rife with danger testing the characters’ limits. There’s also several reveals that throw them off balance.
What would you do in a situation that promotes survival of the fittest? Would you conform and try to come out on top? Or would you risk yourself by protecting others?
🛑 Major Spoilers Zone: 🛑
For those who haven’t read the first installment, I’ll be as vague as I can: the teens of Fire Lake have found themselves alone and in a video game-like setting. They have to prove who amongst them is the strongest by killing and thereby “eliminating” others. The winners will then move to the next phase of Project Nemesis. Those brought down, however, can “reset” a number of times and get back into the competition. The lack of consequences during this cycle of violence creates an intense and upsetting story.
/You have now exited the Major Spoilers Zone! Please continue to drive carefully.
The story alternates between Min and Noah’s perspectives as it did in Nemesis. It was difficult listening to Noah’s bouts of self-importance, but I think the point was to pit the two characters’ values against each other. Min and Noah are on opposite sides of the natural selection debate. Min wants the students to unite and resist their fate while Noah simply wants to mow down the weak and survive.
There’s constant bloodshed and competition bringing attention to real life issues. One prevalent theme is the impact of monopolies on society. For instance, the most ruthless teens control limited resources to force subservience. They weaken their targets by destroying important facilities.
With all the dark dealings and senseless killings Reichs also manages to flesh out the characters. Everyone makes critical decisions showing who they are by what they stand for and why. In short, I was thoroughly impressed that such an action-packed story also had dynamic and well-developed characters. The only development that still doesn’t make sense to me is Min’s attachment to Noah. Somehow he dominated her thoughts when they’d barely spent time together before. Not to mention their fundamental differences created more friction than chemistry.
All in all, Genesis is probably my favorite installment of the Project Nemesis Series. I question Min’s choices in the romance department, but she makes a decision at the end that really made the book for me. It bathed a tragic setting with hope.
More Musings & Magic
Have you ever read a book that was so intense and action-packed it made your head reel? That was Genesis for me! Honorable mentions are the The Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo and parts of The Licanius Trilogy by James Islington.
Please keep the magic alive and share your comments below!