Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Office of Mercy by Ariel Djanikian

The Office of Mercy: A Novel
Weaving philosophy and science together into a riveting, dystopian story of love and adventure, The Office of Mercy illuminates an all-too-real future imagined by a phenomenal new voice in fiction.

Twenty-four-year-old Natasha Wiley lives in America-Five—a high-tech, underground, utopian settlement where hunger and money do not exist, everyone has a job, and all basic needs are met. But when her mentor and colleague, Jeffrey, selects her to join a special team to venture Outside for the first time, Natasha’s allegiances to home, society, and above all to Jeffrey are tested. She is forced to make a choice that may put the people she loves most in grave danger and change the world as she knows it.

This is a post-apocalyptic novel which really sounded better than it actually was. I was truly hoping this one was going to be one of those books that knock you over with its originality, but all I got was the same old ideas rehashed.

We’ve all read at least one of these after-nuclear-war, after-a-zombie-attack, or in this case, after-the-Storm, novels. Something horrific happens on the planet and the human races struggles to stay alive. Well, in this version, the humans in North America have formed America-Five (which implies there are more of them, though we only get the vaguest of hints that there actually are other countries out there). The plot started out pretty nicely, with a good sense of claustrophobia and tension, but it soon unwound into a bit of a mess. The characters are poorly developed, with barely any background that the reader can sink her teeth into, and the twists in the storyline can be seen a mile away.

The writing is fine, though it’s nothing spectacular. There’s no real voice behind the words, so it comes off as something very neutral, and sometimes, dull. Ultimately, that’s what I found: that the book was dull, and purposeless. Most of the characters remain the same. There’s not growth or development that we can really see, which makes you wonder why the hell did we bother to read the book in the first place.

There are a lot of post-apocalyptic novels much better than this one, so I’d choose something else.

1 comment:

Christine said...

I'm glad I read your review! I saw the summary of this book a couple of weeks ago and thought it sounded really good. I added it to my TBR list and everything. I love post-apocalyptic novels and hate when I'm disappointed after spending time reading one that isn't very good.