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.
The Office of Mercy is speculative fiction at its best with a deeply imagined, lush world, high-stakes adventure, and romance that will thrill fans of Suzanne Collins, Margaret Atwood, Justin Cronin, and Kazuo Ishiguro.
©2013 Ariel Djanikian (P)2013 Tantor
The Office of Mercy presents a dystopic, post-apocalyptic vision of man's attempts to reestablish civilization following catastrophic societal disintegration. The tale picks up about 300 years after the collapse in a tiny oasis of civilization called America 5. This group represents several hundred inhabitants with advanced technology, including organ replacement offering near immortality. Despite, their advanced state, the colony lives within a confined space ringed by sensors on the alert for roaming tribes of other, less civilized humans migrating through their region. Our heroine, Natasha, works in the Office of Mercy, a euphemism for the group that tracks and kills these people ostensibly due to an ethical imperative that is so focused on eliminating suffering, that mercy killing (for all those outside the colony) is consider humane and noble.
Natasha struggles with the ethics as well as romantic love interests both inside and outside the colony and makes plenty of mistakes along the way, Besides the warped philosophy leading to strained ethical conclusions (since the tribes' people may suffer in the future, it's better to kill them now to relieve that potential suffering), the story suffers from multiple inconsistencies. For examples, with only several hundred people (the zetas, the 6th in line, only number around 80), it's hard to imagine how this installation can maintain their high tech medical facilities, computer systems, sophisticated electronics for peripheral sensors, as well as high tech weaponry that are essentially cruise missiles. There are references to other similar type colonies, but in over 300 years no attempt seems to have been made for contact. It's also hard to imagine individuals remaining complacent about being cooped up for decades in what is essentially a dictatorial regime that they have no say in (what's the point of immortality if someone else will always tell you what to do?). Finally, the main infodump occurred nearly at the end, was unimpressive as far as providing necessary background, and amounted to badgering an impressionable, confused young woman.
The narration is adequate, but unremarkable.
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