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Escaping Mercy

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Loved it! 😍

An engaging storyline with strong characters and interesting dilemmas. A must read for any dystopian fanatics.

At the end of the 22nd century, Earth has become an overpopulated and dangerous world. The planet has been exhausted of its resources, and millions of people have been forced into homelessness due to housing shortage and poverty. To reduce the rapidly growing population and restore the earth's resources, a government run programme called Mercy was implemented. Under this law each person's health is closely observed and recorded. If deemed untreatable, the individual is euthanised by Mercy programme methods. The book follows three characters - Cam Atkinson, a lawyer and single mother, Dex Holzman, a marine biologist, and Erik deBaak, the newly appointed world leader.



Escaping Mercy embodies all the elements I love about dystopian novels - government control, the destruction of nature and the environment, and humanity on the cusp of survival. Polakoff has done a brilliant job of securing three strong and distinct characters right from the beginning and throughout. Another successful element in this novel is the pace in which the story is told. Even during the slow moments in the story’s narrative, the energy can still be found in the convincing dialogue or Polakoff’s impressive writing style. Due to this engaging writing style and the engrossing events that occur, the reader will be constantly gripped from start to finish.



All characters, particularly Cam, Dex and Erik, don't fall completely within the brackets of good and evil. They constantly move up and down the moral scale with each decision and action they make. These moments are particularly interesting in the character of Erik deBaak, as although he is considered the antagonist, he has glimpses of emotional vulnerability and inner moral conflict. 



Since finishing Escaping Mercy I have been left with a feeling of emptiness that only brilliant novels succeed in achieving when they end. Polakoff has been undoubtedly successful in creating an immersive storyline with likeable characters, and placing me into a world I thoroughly enjoyed reading.



Reviewed by

Based in Aotearoa (New Zealand), Leigh is a book reviewer, writer, photographer and filmmaker.

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About the author

Sam specializes in writing thrillers with a hint of science fiction to create a unique genre with memorable characters to enhance his stories. ​Sam and his wife, Denise live in the great state of Maryland. view profile

Published on July 17, 2021

80000 words

Contains mild explicit content ⚠️

Genre: Thriller & Suspense

Reviewed by