The Office of Mercy by Ariel Djanikian
My rating: 1 of 5 stars
Normally I don't keep reading books that irritate me, but I just kept punishing myself with this gem of a novel.
I'm always wary of synopsis that promise that fans of awesome book, or awesome author with LOVE this novel. Apparently, fans of The Hunger Games should love The Office of Mercy. Well, I loved The Hunger Games?!?! Ergo, I loved The Office of Mercy. Uh, no. No I didn't.
The Office of Mercy is a dystopian that tells the story of Natasha, a citizen in America-Five. American-Five is a 305 year old post-storm settlement that "swept" 5.9 billion folks from the face of the earth. And by "swept," I mean bombed the earth back into the Stone Age. The Alphas, who established the community and the eternal life of the community, are stoked about this monumental achievement.
Oh, but wait! See, some super smart folks got away and lived. The Office of Mercy (yes, there's an office of just about everything, including government, agriculture, and the dumbest, exit) is changed with sweeping the remaining tribes that near their dome perimeter. The thought is that The Office of Mercy is dispatching the outsiders to a better place where they won't suffer. Gah. *eyeroll*
The premise is intriguing, but the execution is a total fail.
1. The book bugged me immediately. At first it was the name of our protagonist; Natasha. The author overuses the name to the point of distraction. Have you ever met a new mother who finds excuse after excuse to use their baby's name repeatedly because they like the sound of it? Natasha, Natasha, Natasha! I wanted to stab my eyeballs out.
2. There were info dumps concerning the emphatic code that the citizens follow so that they can murder and be super happy. The code could have scared the shit out of me, but instead it was YA simplistic and about as deep as a puddle. Since I'm an adult, and this is published by Viking as an adult novel, I had to rage a bit.
3. The terminology in any sci-fi can be hard to accept. I never accepted the vocabulary choices in this book. The elevator is called "the elephant," there is an office of everything, and they don't abbreviate. Seriously? When the citizens swear, they say, "By Alpha," or some such nonsense. It's truly obnoxious.
4. Natasha is only twenty-four, so it makes perfect sense that her love interest in the book is creepy older guy and her BOSS, Jeffery. Jeffery totes has a thing for Natasha and has since she was a little girl and he gave her extra chocolates. OOOOOH MY GOD! MY MIND!!!!! Jeffery is so not swoon worthy it hurts. I didn't buy their romance AT ALL. NONE. NO. Natasha is such a freaking Mary Sue and then she goes off with Jeffery and I had to scream. I didn't think her choices could get worse. I didn't, but then JEFFERY the creeper.
5. I haven't read pseudo science this bad since Feed, by Mira Grant. At one point, Natasha is injured and they doctor from the Office of Health tells her that she gave Natasha a few dozen bundles of nuero-synapses and 40 billion fresh blood cells. Wow! That sounds technical and completely legit.
6. The book has nothing new to offer us. 15% in and I was sure it was a bad rip-off of Under the Never Sky, which I loved. In UTNS, the protagonist lives in a dome, post-storm, has interactions with outsiders, and has access to a virtual world called The Realms. The Office of Mercy has The Pretends. Again, the name alone is painful.
7. Where is the scary murder government? Apparently, the same folks who built the dome don't keep tabs on their citizens very well because Natasha and friends can go in and out without detection. Really? These are the guys that killed everyone, but a handful of disenters and allowed to hold meetings in the library and nobody is monitoring the exits? Mmm, kay.
If it's post-apocolyse/dystopian you're looking for, just skip this one. There are so many good dystopians out there. This just isn't one of them.
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