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The Office of Mercy

3.20  ·  Rating details ·  1,009 ratings  ·  265 reviews
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 ar ...more
Hardcover, 305 pages
Published February 21st 2013 by Viking
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3.20  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,009 ratings  ·  265 reviews

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Alisha-Dear Constant Reader
Normally I don't keep reading books that irritate me, but I just kept punishing myself with this gem of a novel.

I'm always wary of synopsis that promise that fans of awesome book, or awesome author with LOVE this novel. Apparently, fans of The Hunger Games should love The Office of Mercy. Well, I loved The Hunger Games?!?! Ergo, I loved The Office of Mercy. Uh, no. No I didn't.

The Office of Mercy is a dystopian that tells the story of Natasha, a citizen in America-Five. American-Five is a 305 y
Apr 09, 2013 rated it it was ok
I was excited to see this book at the library, as the jacket blurb made it seem like it was right up my alley. From the get go, however, I was pretty disappointed. The internal logic is flimsy, the writing alternates between overly florid and choppy, the main love interest is totally creepy, and the world building is haphazard and shallow.

We're introduced to America-Five and their perfect life. There's no hunger, no poverty, no want of any kind. Sexual relationships are discouraged by the founde
Jan 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I was fortunate to receive an advanced copy of this book. The summary hinted at The Hunger Games, so I was both excited and skeptical.
Like THG, this is set in a futuristic America. And that's where the similarity ends.
This book is HEAVY. From the first pages, it will cause your mind to bend in ways you don't expect from fiction. It will test your sense of morality. Make you question right and wrong at every turn of the page.You'll pass judgement (I think that's what the author intends), and y
Edward Santella
Feb 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“If they cannot be made good they must be killed.” A Federal agent spoke those words to the Sac and Fox Indians during their removal from Illinois. More than a hundred years later and half-way around the world we ‘destroyed villages in order to save them.’

Ariel Djanikian moves this meme into a post-apocalyptic future in her first novel, The Office of Mercy. The ‘good guys’ are the technologically advanced people living inside America-Five, a domed city, whose Alphas had unleashed the apocalypse
Amber Polo
Feb 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
Here’s a braver new world with somewhat less sex and more psycho-soma. Examining the high price of paradise, "The Office of Mercy" forces the reader to see war and eternal life from another prospective as the truth of America-Five unravels. Natasha learns at what price "sweeps" bring peace and that the reality of eternal life is not for all, and we see her world as heartless and controlling. (I'd like to see a book telling the stories of the Alphas.) I found the ending heavy and, yes, the book m ...more
Jan 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Had put this on interlibrary loan reserve so long ago that I forgot what this book was about. Basically it's about brainwashing and social conditioning leading people to believe they are being "ethical" and "merciful" - when they're actually being murderous.

TRIGGER WARNING: Genocide, "re-education".
All Things Urban Fantasy
Review courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy

I’m going to be completely honest here and say what we’re all thinking – a comparison to both George Orwell and Suzanne Collins in the same sentence doesn’t exactly make sense, does it? And while I appreciate the publisher’s desire to pull in THE HUNGER GAMES’ audience, if you go into THE OFFICE OF MERCY looking for another Katniss, you’re going to be disappointed. Not because THE OFFICE OF MERCY is in any way inferior to THE HUNGER GAMES, but it’s a t
Dec 20, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: laura, sf-book-club
I'm going to give this one my "Yeah, no" rating. I started composing pans of it in my head while I was reading it, which didn't seem very fair... but I'm finding it hard to feel regret on that score. It just wasn't very believable, in kind of a lot of ways. Perhaps the one that irked me the most was (view spoiler). But that's just one example in a long list.

I also got progress
Nov 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Much, much less corny than I would have thought from the premise.
Mar 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
Haunting, spellbinding and thought-inducing.

The Office of Mercy is the type of book where just when you think you know which side you stand on everything shifts and your left wondering whose opinions are the right ones. While this dystopian novel mirrored many young adult novels, there was an added elements that made it stand on it's own. It was the first adult dystopian novel I read so some of the situations were a bit more mature, but I think it would be a novel that any adult or teen would en
Unnerving and powerful, but ultimately too bleak for my taste, The Office of Mercy is at first glance your typical run-of-the-mill dystopian sci-fi novel with a strong female lead. What's unique about it, though, is that it can challenge the thinking of pacifists and militants alike when it comes to the ethics of violence. Djanikian forces readers to reconsider the cost of utilitarian thinking (maximizing the happiness and minimizing pain/suffering for as many people as possible), yet offers no ...more
Mar 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
Apparently I'm big into the dystopian future thing this year. The Hunger Games, Monkey House, this. I suppose it's about time I revisit Orwell. It's been about 10 years...

My critiques of this are similar to that of The Hunger Games series: when the author is making a point, she beats you over the head with it. "The road to peace is lined with corpses," or something to that note, among others. I personally like agendas to require a little more thought than that, but maybe that is my years of trai
A dystopian utopia; as is typical of the modern dystopia, this is a world that believes itself truly ethical and right... until one looks beyond the surface. It's clearly a debut novel in terms of prose and pacing, with kinks that need to be worked out. It's also compelling, in that it provides quite a bit of space for thinking about the ethics of suffering and, in particular, a jumping off board for discussing euthanasia. Djanikian does a great job of creating likable characters who hold tightl ...more
Dec 20, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I’m drawn to post-apocalyptic stories, so I really started out wanting to like this book. But I couldn’t understand the people in the settlement. Their belief system and values were not internally consistent. Did the author want me to think that all humans had gone crazy after the storm? I couldn’t figure out how the author wanted me to see Natasha, the female lead—strong, vacuous and waffle-y, whiney? Even to the very end I was hoping to discover some truth that would make it all make sense. Th ...more
Dark Faerie Tales
Review courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales.

Quick & Dirty: This was a good YA Dystopian novel that really left you thinking, but it was slow moving and a little hard to get into.

Opening Sentence: The sun sank behind the trees, and the blue-black shadows of the forest encroached farther down the sloping beach.

The Review:

Natasha Wiley has grown up in America-Five. America-five is one of the many facilities in the world where groups of people live. The facilities are run by the Alphas who have lived
2.5 stars This was an interesting concept in a post apocalyptic / dystopian world where survivors live in underground settlements (a bit reminiscent of Wool by Hugh Howey), but I just couldn't connect with Natasha or any of the characters. I'm not sure how I'd change the story, but I definitely wish it ended on a more hopeful note.
D.L. Morrese
Mar 24, 2013 rated it liked it
The setting is the mostly depopulated eastern portion of North America a few centuries from the present in a bunker/city known as America-Five. Other Americas are said to exist, but they do not factor into the story.

The backstory, revealed appropriately in bits of conversation and introspection, suggests that most of humanity was intentionally exterminated by the Yangs, the group that originally built and populated the America bunker cities, and perhaps other places. Who exactly the Yangs were,
Jessica Strider
Feb 09, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: dystopian
Pros: thought provoking ending, didn't read like a dystopia but ended like one

Cons: protagonist is very naive and makes some questionable decisions

Natasha Wiley lives in America-Five, one of several enclosed cities set up by the Alphas to protect the people from the evils of the outside world: suffering and death.  She works in the Office of Mercy, whose job it is to end the suffering to the tribespeople living outside their walls, by giving them a quick, merciful, death.

But she starts to doubt
Randee Dawn
Unique premise, with a bit of a twist I admit I didn't see coming.

And yet it didn't feel fully three-dimensional. I had a lot of questions about the worldbuilding, and the characters felt underdeveloped and more designed to move plot around than individuals of their own. I also couldn't stop feeling "Brave New World" comparisons.

Again, worth a read but not something that resonated deeply with me.
Feb 01, 2013 rated it really liked it

The citizens of America-Five don’t know joblessness, starvation, or poverty. They live in a technologically advanced underground settlement where their only encounter with the world outside—nature, with its sky and plants and animals—is through the windows of the compound and the cameras placed throughout the perimeter providing video feeds to their computer screens. Twenty-four-year-old Natasha has always longed to go Outside and she gets her golden opportunity when she is selected by her
Office of Mercy is novel that asks what would utopia look like? What would it cost to achieve that utopia? And once achieved, would it be worth living in? Office of Mercy is a book that seemingly attempts to be akin to 1984, Brave New World, Fahrenheit 451, and Never Let Me Go. The setting is an indoor settlement called America-Five which is able to satisfy its citizens (supposed) every need. There is some vague allusion to a post-apocalyptic event that ended the prior outside habitation of the ...more
Jan 15, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2013, dystopic, arc, adult
World Peace . Eternal Life . All Suffering Ended

With an Ethical Code like that where the main goal is to keep suffering to a minimum, it’s hard not to assume you’re jumping into a utopian fiction, right? However, Ariel Djanikian alters just the right amount of elements in her story to shift this utopian focus into a dystopian nightmare. Absolutely fascinating world building that’s wrapped around a truly plausible plot.

In the Office of Mercy, we meet Natasha that has lived her 24 years in America
Feb 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own, first-reads
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Alex McGilvery
Mar 04, 2013 rated it liked it
The Office of Mercy is set in the a future after a small group of people wiped out the world’s population to stop suffering. They and their descendants live in a dome that is isolated from the outside world. Through their technology they have unlimited lifespans. Natasha works in the Office of Mercy. The work of this office is to track the tribes who come within the perimeter of their influences and sweep them. The idea is part of the ethical training which abhors suffering and seeks to eliminat ...more
Jul 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned
Natasha grew up in America-5, one of many glass domes that shelters survivors of a mysterious apocalyptic event referred to as the Storm, 300 hundred years after it happened. The community is composed of multiple generations of humans that have been bioengineered and cultivated by the initial survivors, and they have lived for so long through strives in bioreplacement, making them nearly immortal.

It all seems reasonable, except Natasha works in The Office of Mercy, a group of workers whose job i
Feb 18, 2013 rated it it was ok
This is a post-apocalyptic novel which really sounded better than it actually was. I was truly hoping this one was going to be one of those books that knock you over with its originality, but all I got was the same old ideas rehashed.
We’ve all read at least one of these after-nuclear-war, after-a-zombie-attack, or in this case, after-the-Storm, novels. Something horrific happens on the planet and the human races struggles to stay alive. Well, in this version, the humans in North America have fo
Karl Geiger
Mix one part Phillip K. Dick paranoia with two parts John Boorman Zardoz to get The Office of Mercy. A post-apocalyptic high-tech string of settlements stretches across the American continent. They see their highest ethical duty is to alleviate suffering among the humans left Outside: they "sweep" the primitive survivors with rifles and nova bombs. Our protagonist, Natashia, develops second thoughts about this practice and her role as Monitor in the sweeper's Office of Mercy.

Natashia's flits fro
Gerry Vogel
Feb 25, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: scifi
I sure read this one quickly. Spoilers that will not stop you from reading it: Yes, I like books like this but I hoped this would have ended differently. But this is mostly about the ethics of human existence. Take a fanatical devotion to the idea of humanity living well and ending suffering results in a 'storm' that leaves 70 billion dead "useless eaters", a few (self)-chosen experts left mainly to extend their own lives and to 'sweep up' the primitive tribal people left outside. Not sure I lik ...more
Feb 06, 2017 added it
This is a book that I read.

I thought it was for grown-ups.

It mostly isn't.

The plot gathers enough steam, but the ethical debate at the novel's heart is flimsy and unconvincing, which leaves the conclusion flat and unsatisfying, though I did (minus one distracting parenthetical) love the novel's last sentence.
Feb 26, 2013 rated it it was ok
This wasn't a total loser, but it was pretty bad.
I think it started out ok for me, I kept waiting for it to pick up some speed, and for the characters to become more alive and interesting, but it was not to be.
By the middle of the book I felt like everything had been so telegraphed, there was little point in reading, and as I feared, it was so.
The stab my eyes out now point came in chapter 15. This chapter was painful, and really the part about turning off the backup generator was horrifically p
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Anything Goes Boo...: The Office of Mercy by Ariel Djanikian 1 17 Mar 05, 2013 08:25PM  

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Ariel Djanikian is a Philly native who's also lived in Ann Arbor, MI, Madison, WI, and Irvine, CA. Her newly adopted city is Chapel Hill, NC, where she lives with her husband and daughter. Her writing can be found in The L Magazine and The Paris Review Daily. The Office of Mercy is her first novel.