When her farming community is consumed in the ruthless jaws of a corporate monster, 16-year-old Merit finds herself face to face with a different kind of beast, one possessing a human form but a mind bent on one thing and one thing alone: her destruction. Then a chance encounter with a legend turns her mad dash for survival into an odyssey of revenge as she sets out to hunt down the men who destroyed all that she loves. But in pursuing the monsters, will she become one herself? Is it possible to embark on a journey of destruction without digging your own grave?
In her beginning lies their end.
Plot: Zienty's plot proceeds at a furious and exciting pace as Merit flees—and is pursued—through the bleak, dangerous New American Midwest. In a world governed by phobias and laws, her quest to find her purpose is successfully fleshed out in a meticulously imagined world.
Prose: Zienty's prose is skillful, subtly introducing readers to futuristic elements in a way that feels organic. Like the protagonist of the novel, the narrative voice grows more confident as the story progresses.
Originality: The author creates a fresh-feeling dystopian wonderland. Merit's struggle to escape the circumstances she was born into is a familiar one, but in Zienty's hands, Merit's story is nevertheless riveting and haunting.
Character Development: The characters (both the ones that are subjugated and the ones that break free) are well fleshed-out, emotionally true, and memorable.
Date Submitted: August 28, 2018