Noah Livingston and Min Wilder rage against the machine.
The star-crossed lovers have been separated by betrayal and despair in this sequel to Nemesis (2017). Now that Noah, Min (both evidently white), and their classmates know that they’re trapped in some sort of Matrix-esque computer program, chaos reigns as different factions squabble over supplies and territory. The Program’s environment is the small isolated mountain town where the teenagers grew up. This grounded setting is a blessing to the novel, a stuffed tome with a turning wheel of power structures that endlessly entertains. Each time a teen is killed they reset in one of several established points on the outskirts of town, but the rules are starting to change: some teens are dying and not coming back. Additionally, a killer who knocks a player off the boards gains strength and speed. The author crafts a heck of a page-turner, chronicling Min’s and Noah’s emotional and physical journeys, alternating between their perspectives each chapter. Violence, tactics, and politics crackle through the novel. Fans of The Hunger Games novels and the CW series The 100 will discover much to enjoy here. The book reveals the Program’s purpose and also provides some startling revelations about the Guardian’s back story before moving its characters aggressively forward in the final pages. A sequel looms, but readers will be thoroughly satisfied with this entry’s contents.
A cracking good yarn and excellent sequel. (Thriller. 12-16)