Book review + some other recs: Nemesis by Brendan Reichs

Rating: 4.5 stars

This has been a challenging review to write as I wanted to steer away from any spoilers to give readers a chance to experience the twists and turns of the book and uncover the mysteries of the book on their own. That being said, I will avoid any big reveals and spoilers in my synopsis and discussion of Nemesis.

Picture this: Ever since you’ve turned eight years old, every other birthday becomes a final destination movie for you—you die at the hands of mysterious black-suited stranger for reasons unbeknownst to you. This is what Min Wilder experiences every even-yeared birthday. If you were Min, you probably wouldn’t look forward to your birthday either. In fact, a sense of dread increases as she continuously dies and is no closer to getting any answers as to why it keeps happening. The rest of world goes on while Min dies so it hasn’t been easy trying to hide this secret from her friends and family either. Oh and on top of this, did I mention that it may be the end of the world as an asteroid is swiftly approaching Earth? And yet Min still has to deal with the rigid social structure and drama of high school. It may be the end of the world, but it’s just another day in Fire Lake, Idaho, a quiet town near the mountains that also happens to host a top-secret government base. Cue twilight zone music.

Noah Livingston just wants to feel alright and at peace, but his constant anxiety and nightmares prevent that from happening. Plagued by these thoughts, Noah maintains a strict routine in the hopes to maintain some order.  As catastrophes start happening, Min convinces Noah to help her uncover what’s going on around them, including figuring out what’s really going on in the town of Fire Lake. Everything is connected and it is Min and Noah’s job to figure out how before it’s too late.

Plot + initial reaction

My initial reaction finishing this book was something between awe and dumbstruck. It is because of these feelings that I’ve delayed writing the review, as I needed to absorb everything that I’ve read. One thing I was sure of was that I was hungry to know more about the world and the characters. The ending of Nemesis is not the penultimate end, in fact, the sequel to Nemesis, Genesis, is expected to be released March 2018.

I found that while there were questions answered at the end of Nemesis, there were plenty of new questions replacing the old ones. At times, I couldn’t help but echo Min’s questions of “why” and “how” (I’m trying to be ambiguous as possible here because of spoilers), and it’s these sort of questions that fuel the intrigue of the novel. Nemesis is an intricate tale with twists and turns expertly weaved by Brendan Reichs. The reader receives breadcrumbs throughout the book to help connect the plot points, but there are plenty of surprises to keep one guessing. There are many unresolved questions at the end, but it’s just enough to convince me to get book two and find out what is next for the characters.  There is so much potential for book two and I look forward to seeing where the story will go from here.

Characters and Formatting: Nemesis is told from the dual points of view of Min Wilder and Noah Livingston. It was interesting to see that the first two parts are told solely from the POV of one of the characters (part one was in Min’s POV and part two is entirely from Noah’s POV). At first it was a bit confusing to understand if the two parts were coinciding timelines or if part two events were happening after everything that happened in part one, but Reichs does explain how the two parts are related in time. Following the second part of the book, chapters alternate between the two MCs. One thing that I found truly interesting was that while we see inside the MCs, I was still surprised by some of their actions, making the story even more alluring.

I enjoyed the dual perspective as it allowed me to see more of what’s going on in Fire Lake within the same time frame. It was interesting to see contrasting and mirroring  between the two MCs. I especially enjoyed Min’s POV as she seemed like an all-around good person. I also really liked how supportive Min and Tack were for one another. Tack also helped provide some comedic relief in some grave circumstances. Noah’s POV was interesting because I was guessing how he may react in situations, as he seemed to continuously have a lot of internal debate going on in his head.

Additionally, another strength of this novel was incorporating transcripts to explain the characters’ back-story. Rather than only having flashbacks, the transcripts illuminate important information into the characters’ background.

The reader’s knowledge is limited to only what is experienced by Min and Noah, and their interactions with others. With an unique story line like this, it was difficult to predict how the book will end. That being said the reader is able to pick up breadcrumbs to piece parts of the mystery together. If you expect to have all your questions answered by the end of the book, this may not be the book for you, however if you enjoy a good sci-fi thriller with a of top secret government experiment and a dash of Lord of the Flies, you may enjoy Nemesis.

TL;DR: Nemesis a dual POV sci-fi YA novel by Brendan Reichs involving: a mysterious man who shows up to kill Min on every other birthday, a secret government project, small town drama, and the end of the world.

Liked Nemesis? You might also like:

A small town mystery involving a missing kid, a telekinetic girl, and alternate dimensions, Stranger Things is show not to be missed. Season 2  of Stranger Things returns end of Oct. on Netflix

Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency (BBC)

It’s hard to explain this show because it is such an outlandish and original show. One thing I can say for sure is that fans of Dr. Who may enjoy this show. There’s goofy, endearing characters, a strange mystery involving a corgi, and an overall theme of the inter-connectedness of everything. Season two will be returning next week on the BBC.

Tanis (podcast)

This fictional podcast follows a journalist in search of discovering the myth of Tanis. It connects lore of the Pacific Northwest with current events, and other strange happenings. There’s even a huge following of fans on reddit who discuss on-going theories of what exactly is Tanis.


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