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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

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Review: Prison Nation by Jenni Merritt

Prison Nation by Jenni Merritt

Prison Nation #1
Jenni Merritt
Publication Date:December 1, 2011
Publisher: Self Published

In the Nation, no one is innocent - not even the children born behind bars. Millie 942B has spent her entire life locked away with her criminal parents and countless other inmates. She believes in the Nation, in its strict laws and harsh punishments.

But when Millie is released on her eighteenth birthday, she finds things are nothing as she was taught. People vanish, never to be seen again. Lies cover every word. Trust is as fragile as ice.

And then there is Reed. Born and raised outside the Prison walls, his dreams and thoughts cause Millie to doubt everything she has ever believed.

What is truly worth fighting for? If she pushes too hard, she could lose her freedom. If she stays silent, she could lose herself. The clock is ticking, and Millie must find the truth before it is too late.

In a nutshell, Prison Nation is basically where the guilty are innocent and vice versa. The book follows Millie 942B, who's lived in a prison in Spokane her entire life thanks to a crime her parents committed. She sees a psychiatrist often, and is given the chance to be released at eighteen. However, shortly after Millie's released and meets Reed, she begins to doubt if what her parents did was really a crime.

A good part of the book is focused on Millie trying to decide whether or not she wants to work in the prison, or to be released. It's sort of boring, but it seems as though Jenni Merritt is setting up the story and letting readers get a feel of the world, which is basically the opposite of today's laws or it's like the olden days. There are no trials. Essentially if you murdered someone in self defense, well... you're toast.
In Prison Nation, the truth can't set you free.
In my humble opinion, it only starts getting interesting AFTER Millie begins to doubt the Nation, whom she's been raised to believe her entire life. The laws are really strict – very similar to those Babylonian laws (what were they called again?!), although poking someone's eye out wouldn't result in you getting your eye poked out. You would just get to sent to prison for some time. Maybe your entire life.

Prison Nation was also very similar to Branded by Abi Ketner and Missy Kalicicki, in which I didn't exactly like. I was half expecting sins to be around and machines blaring about. In both books, there's a guard. Thank gods Millie doesn't fall in love with the new guard here. He sounds more like a pervert (really, it's a personal vendetta) than a hot guy – have you notice those are almost always with 6 packs in books? – worth considering.
“So,” he hissed in a low voice, “this is what I am thinking. I think you should apply for a job here. I think it would be a very good choice on your part.”
Of course, as soon as I found out it was a personal vendetta, I just wanted to flip the book at the wall. I thought the guard's interest would be something entirely more interesting than someone bent on revenge.

With great world building, Prison Nation will be an interesting read for those who want to read something similar to Incarceron. The only thing though? It felt a bit like a stand alone, but I'll be following the series since it seems to have potential.

3.5 Owls

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Sophia is the owner and founder of Bookwyrming Thoughts, but also found on various parts of the internet. She's a 19-year-old communications major who has weird humor and doesn't fit the Asian stereotype (maybe a little). Books, chocolate, technology, and music are among some of her favorite things. For more of her work, visit her personal website.