KINDLE GIVEAWAY and REVIEW: Peaceful Genocide by JA Reynolds
Published on November 25th 2013 Genres: Dystopia, Science Fiction, Thriller, Young Adult
Seventeen-year-old Mitzi and Deuce can recall how many drops of water were on a leaf from a rainstorm five years ago and conversations from last week, month, or year. They have the ability to remember every second of everyday—since birth.
This gift has blessed Mitzi with a history of being sexually assaulted by researchers and abused by her own parents. She trusts no one. Likes no one. Deuce, however, is a high school standout. His gift has made him a superstar on the football field and his memory promises him endless opportunities.
When they both end up at an Alzheimer’s research facility under false proviso, they quickly realize this place isn’t what it seems to be. They endure crazy military-style tests, are forcefully drugged, and complete real-life simulations that haunt them.
Mitzi and Deuce have no idea what the researchers want to do with them or their memories. But one thing is clear: the researchers will go to any lengths to get what they want.
Peaceful Genocide is a young adult dystopian-ish SF story that centers around two central teenage characters. Mitzi and Deuce. Mitzi is as damaged as they come, while Deuce is as normal and well-adjusted as a teen can possibly be. While Mitzi has been abused by pretty much everyone she ever trusted, Deuce has lived a life dictated by football. He’s a team player. Mitzi… is not. Deuce is practical… Mitzi is paranoid. Deuce is calm… Mitzi is emotional, relational, and angry. Deuce is open to working with people, sees the bright side, and genuinely tries his best to be the strongest link in the chain at all times.
Mitzi… not so much.
So Mitzi and Deuce, along with two other characters, Paisley and Ralph, both of whom are much younger than our hero and heroine, find themselves in a top tier, but secluded, research facility where they say tests are being run to combat Alzheimer’s disease.
The four kids have special memory retention powers, in addition to other things, that allows them to have perpetual memory. This is explained in the book as the ability to recall every moment and detail of their lives, even from infancy.
Of course, the scientists are always bad. I really don’t mind the scientist always being bad, it’s just a little bit cliché and it makes some of the storyline predictable. The “team” has to endure a lot of really strange tests, and this part was very original and well thought-out. I did not have much trouble picturing the tests, even though they had quite a bit of science to them and the worlds they were dropped into (simulations) were strange and filled with bizarre tasks. The world-building was excellent, and in a SF book, that is crucial.
The ending was also well-done. It is a cliffhanger in a way. The kids do resolve their main conflict of this book, but for me, the plot really started getting interesting once they actually took some action. I don’t think this book qualifies as a thriller because it’s just not fast-paced enough. The tasks, while interesting and necessary, took a long time to complete. And both of the main characters were frustrating. Mitzi because she was so combative in the beginning – it was annoying. And Deuce because he was so complacent. So it took both of them a fairly long time to reverse those character flaws, but once they did, things got more interesting.
Even though the ending is rather abrupt, I liked it. It had just the right about of success, mystery, danger, and uncertainty to keep readers engaged for the next installment. I’ll definitely keep my eye out for the next book and it will be interesting to see how Mitzi and Deuce get themselves out of the danger they find themselves in.
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