It’s been happening since Min was eight. Every two years, on her birthday, a strange man finds her and murders her in cold blood. But hours later, she wakes up in a clearing just outside her tiny Idaho hometown—alone, unhurt, and with all evidence of the horrifying crime erased.
Across the valley, Noah just wants to be like everyone else. But he’s not. Nightmares of murder and death plague him, though he does his best to hide the signs. But when the world around him begins to spiral toward panic and destruction, Noah discovers that people have been lying to him his whole life. Everything changes in an eye blink.
For the planet has a bigger problem. The Anvil, an enormous asteroid threatening all life on Earth, leaves little room for two troubled teens. Yet on her sixteenth birthday, as she cowers in her bedroom, hoping not to die for the fifth time, Min has had enough. She vows to discover what is happening in Fire Lake and uncovers a lifetime of lies: a vast conspiracy involving the sixty-four students of her sophomore class, one that may be even more sinister than the murders.
Release Date: March 21, 2017
Holy hell, I don’t even know where to start.
There is SO MUCH HAPPENING in this book. Let’s see, if you came here looking for a book about a serial killer, you found it. If you came here looking for a post-apocalyptic book, you found it. If you were looking for a government conspiracy novel, you found it. I went into this book woefully unprepared for the story I got, but in a good way. I love it when a book takes me by surprise and keeps me on my toes. Honestly, I could have read this book in one sitting if it wasn’t for the pesky thing called work that gets in my way most days.
The novel is separated into parts, but the most interesting part isn’t necessarily the rotating narration between Min and Noah, but the different structure that their narration takes individually. Both are being treated by a psychiatrist for their condition (not even sure if that is an appropriate way to describe being murdered on your birthday, but I’ll go with it for now), but Min’s story is filled with italicized flashbacks to her traumatic experiences, while Noah’s includes a transcript from his sessions with their psychologist. Personally, I really liked the addition of the transcripts because it gave a really eye catching change to the novel. But the whole structure was well done.
I can understand why this book was compared to Lord of the Flies, but only in the sense that it really showcases the different ways humans can act during times of distress. Although I will say that Tack was by far the best secondary character in this book and I can tell you exactly why: one of my best guy friends in high school was totally the same. Always mouthing off when it wasn’t necessary, but in a witty and sardonic way that begged attention. He was a very good comedic relief in a lot of ways for this book, as it’s pretty heavy and his humor is welcome levity.
Freaking never-see-it-coming twist at the end, Batman!
You will not see this coming. I’m still coming to terms with it. I think readers will be pleasantly surprised that they were duped the whole time, I certainly was, especially if they read a lot of books, this twist was never something I’d considered or seen before.
I don’t even know how to talk about it without giving any of it away, so I’m just going to say I had the chance to ask Reichs about it during our interview (which is below), but it was off the record because SPOILERS.
There are still a lot of questions to be answered and waiting the next year for the sequel will be almost unbearable because I NEED TO KNOW.
Overall, I’m giving Brendan Reich 4 Bards! Look for my coverage of his Launch event with Renée Ahdieh and our interview, coming up in a few minutes!