The Office of Mercy
written by Ariel Djanikian
published by Penguin
Why did I pick this book: The publisher offered me a review copy. I happily accepted the offer and agreed to review this book. (I received a copy of this book for review purposes.)
Did I enjoy this book: I did enjoy this book. I read it every free chance I had. I even stayed away from social media and the blog in order to read this book uninterrupted. Well, as uninterrupted as I could with my three kids at home. Bottom line, I didn’t want to put it down for anything.
This review may seem a bit vague but if I say to much, I will spoil the different-ness of this book.
This was a somewhat different twist on the whole dystopia-utopia genre. This is an adult read that any generation (YA, NA, adult) of reader could enjoy. This is also a pretty clean read as well. The story itself is well-thought out and realistic. Scary realistic. Even the eternal life aspect isn’t that far-fetched. The mindset of the Alphas and those below them is interesting and quite reasonable. Natasha is our leading lady, but she isn’t the “usual” dystopian leading lady. For me, she was unexpected, intriguing, and refreshing. She questions, she thinks, she considers. She tries.
The ending was not at all what I expected. I really liked it. The Office of Mercy left me wanting more, but not needing more. I wouldn’t mind seeing what happens next in America-Five, but I’m okay with the scenarios playing out in my mind if there isn’t a sequel.
Would I recommend it: I would recommend this book. It is a decent dystopian read with an unexpected ending.
Will I read it again: I will not.
About the book – from the publisher: The Office of Mercy takes place three hundred years after an intentional global catastrophe, known as the Storm. Orchestrated by a small group of idealistic young people, the Storm was a last-ditch effort to remake civilization—to start over—after conditions on earth had deteriorated considerably. In that sense, the Storm was a success. Today, people live in high-tech, mostly underground settlements, like America-Five, where everyone’s needs are provided for. There’s no hunger, no money; and cell-replacement programs guarantee all citizens healthy, long lives.
On the top floor of America-Five is the Office of Mercy, where twenty-four year old Natasha Wiley works. Natasha’s job is to track and kill the nomadic descendants of the scattering of people who survived the Storm, and who now roam the wilderness in tribes. Most citizens consider the Office’s work of eliminating the rampant suffering outside their walls to be the paradigm of modern, ethical behavior. Yet Natasha harbors growing doubts. When her beloved mentor, Jeffrey, selects her to join a special team to venture outside the settlement, her allegiances to home, society and above all to Jeffrey suddenly collide.
Along with a band of misfits, Natasha enacts a plan to escape the confines of the settlement and uncover for herself the true effects of her office’s policies. She is willing to wager her safety, her promising career and, eventually, her faith in the values that she has worked for and believed in all her life. Available now for the first time in paperback, The Office of Mercy is the thrilling debut novel of a post-apocalyptic world for fans of The Hunger Games.
About the author: Ariel Djanikian graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 2004 with majors in English, chemistry, and philosophy. She holds an MFA in fiction writing from the University of Michigan. Her writing has appeared in the L Magazine and the Paris Review Daily. She lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, with her husband and daughter.