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- Publisher: Pelican Publishing Co
- Format: Paperback | 206 pages
- Dimensions: 140mm x 213mm x 18mm | 249g
- Publication date: 1 July 2008
- Publication City/Country: Gretna, LA
- ISBN 10: 1589805380
- ISBN 13: 9781589805385
- Sales rank: 567,877
Building upon the success of This Side of Paradise, which won the 2001 Hal Clement Award for Best New Science Fiction Novel for Young Adults, Steven Layne has written another gripping tale featuring teens battling evil forces. In Mergers, the sinister antagonist is the mastermind behind an engineered society that has wiped away all traces of race. He is intent on destroying Dirk and his friends, who have spent their entire lives in hiding because of their racial identities. Each has extraordinary powers--Nicci, the African Traveler, manipulates time; Mateo, the Hispanic Metamorph, alters his shape; Keiko, the Asian Empath, heals with her hands; and Dirk, the Caucasian Telepath, invades others' minds. In this cautionary tale, the themes of loyalty, leadership, and identity are all called into question as Dirk and his friends struggle to conquer The Merger. When they take a dangerous journey into the past with the hope of restoring the world's natural timeline, each of them must struggle with their own inadequacies and deal with all-too-human failings, despite their special powers. Mergers' riveting plot and supernatural characters will keep teens engaged while reminding them of each individual's potential to change the world.
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By TeensReadToo 28 Sep 2010
Imagine a world where there are no racial differences. Everyone looks exactly the same, with a blending of Caucasian, Asian, African American, and Hispanic American features. This is the world that Dirk Tyrone, Keiko Tan, Mateo Rodriquez, and Nicci Golden are born into. The minute they are born, they are in immediate danger. They are the first children to be born with distinct cultural characteristics since the government implemented the Merger and they don't want word of it getting out. No one in the world even remembers a time when people could be different and they don't want people to question the Merger. In order to prevent the possibility of it happening again, the government murders the parents of the four children.
Dr. Lisa Tyrone is the doctor present during the birth of the children. In addition to being hospital personnel, she is also the biological aunt of Dirk. Wanting desperately to save the children from extermination, she escapes the hospital with the four babies and goes into hiding. Not only do the teens look different from everyone else in the world, but they also have powers. Dirk is a telepath and can enter the minds of people he comes into contact with. Keiko is an empath. She can heal people with her touch by taking on their pain and dispelling it from her body. Mateo is a metamorph and can change into any animal he thinks of and finally, Nicci is a time traveler and can manipulate time, past, present, and future. For fourteen years Dr. Tyrone is able to keep herself and the children safe, but finally, the man behind the Merger project, Senator Broogue, captures them all with plans to get rid of them once and for all.
After much torture, the children don't think they are going to make it out alive. When they feel all hope is lost, help arrives. Three people with district ethnic characteristics and similar powers to the kids appear and fight off Senator Broogue and whisk the kids away to safety. Unfortunately, Dr. Tyrone is too badly injured and can't be saved. The teens must deal with their grief while at the same time learning more about the world they live in and why it is the way it is. In addition, they also learn about what the world would be like if Senator Broogue hadn't altered the past and created the Merger. After a time of training with the Elders in order to learn how to better use their powers, they are sent back in time to challenge the Senator and prevent him from changing the past. If they succeed, the world will be back on the right path where people's individuality is appreciated.
MERGERS is Steven Layne's second novel. His debut novel, THIS SIDE OF PARADISE, was the winner of the Hal Clement Award for best science fiction for young adults in the United States. MERGERS is even better. Action scenes fill the pages and take the reader through the story at a rapid pace. The story has a satisfactory conclusion even though there are some unanswered questions, like who exactly are the Elders and how are they connected to the kids. However, these loose ends don't take away from the enjoyment of the novel.
"Gives readers a lot to think about concerning race, fate, trust-and friendship."--Margaret Peterson Haddix, author of Turnabout and Double Identity (01/01/2006)
Back cover copy
Dirk steeled himself, for he was certain the Senator meant to level his most forceful blows right from the start. That way, he could take what he wanted without much resistance. Surprisingly, that was not how it happened. Instead of lashing out at Dirk's mind with great power and speed, the Senator's mental presence crumbled quickly into very small pieces. Dirk "watched" through his mind's eye as the pieces came to life. They were like fire ants, the Senator told him, that would spread to every nook and cranny of his mind--a deadly chorus led by a sinister conductor. They would sting Dirk in unison and then literally pull his mind apart. His knowledge, his skills, his memories, his . . . power would be carted away, like the spoils of war, through a long, dark tunnel that would lead directly into the Senator's mind. It was, in a sense, a massacre of millions with a casualty of one. And it had begun."What an intriguing concept! Mergers gives readers a lot to think about concerning race, fate, trust--and friendship."--Margaret Peterson Haddix, author of Turnabout"Reads like a comic book with plenty of action."--School Library Journal