Title: Peaceful Genocide
Author: J.A. Reynolds
Publication date: November 25th 2013
Genres: Science Fiction, Thriller, Young Adult
From the author—
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.
The cruelty that one human can do to another in the name of the common good is at the center of Peaceful Genocide and is built upon the cruelty that one human can do to another in the name of greed. In this story, one seems horrific in the extreme but is the smaller crime perhaps even more destructive to the spirit?
Strong, appealing characters bring this tale to life and I found myself wanting to hug three of the four children who are at the mercy of a nebulous authority. The very likeable Deuce seems to be a fairly well put-together teen, although he shows a bit of vulnerability late in the story, while Mitzi and the two younger children, Paisley and Ralph, are clearly victims of abnormal childhoods. Mitzi, in particular, is severely damaged and the cocoon she has built around her emotions is completely understandable. She’s supremely intelligent, though, and doesn’t let her personal fears get in the way of figuring out what’s going on in this hellhole of a research facility. Mitzi is one of the most evocative characters I’ve come across in quite some time.
On the downside, the construction of this book is somewhat flawed, particularly in the second half. There are fairly numerous instances of incorrect words and typos but the most significant issue is inappropriate use of contractions, of all things. As an example, the sentence, “She would’ve to take her chances with Deuce coming in on her”, clearly is written incorrectly. This sort of thing happens far too often to be just a simple error and is a stylistic oddity that I found grating and distracting.
That issue aside, a believable and exciting plot along with well-developed characters win out and Peaceful Genocide is an intriguing tale that kept me up through the night. I’m really looking forward to the sequel coming sometime in 2015.
Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, February 2014.
About the Author
JA Reynolds lives in the Midwest with a normal family, raising a normal daughter, with some abnormal pets. It’s extraordinarily ordinary.
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