In “Generation Annihilation,” the first book in Tracy Hewitt Meyer’s Blackthorn Peak series, we follow Shaun, a teenager who finds himself on the run after a tragic incident involving his abusive stepfather. Along the way, he crosses paths with Cass, a girl who joins him in an eerie asylum where they become entangled in a web of disturbing objectives. Throughout the book, readers are taken on a captivating journey that explores themes of gray morality and questions of trust. While the story grips you with its intriguing premise, some critics have pointed out its shortcomings, particularly the unrealistic portrayal of villains and the uneven writing style. Additionally, the book includes problematic elements such as fatphobia, casual molestation, and misguided depictions of mental illness and developmental differences. Ultimately, the ending leaves readers feeling unsatisfied, but one thing is clear – Shaun and Cass, the main characters, are described as white individuals.


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“Generation Annihilation” is the first volume in the Blackthorn Peak series by Tracy Hewitt Meyer. This gripping young adult novel takes readers on a thrilling journey through the eyes of Shaun, a teenager who finds himself on the run after killing his abusive stepfather. The story unfolds as Shaun crosses paths with Cass, a intriguing girl who becomes his partner in navigating the treacherous maze of an asylum. Throughout the book, the author delves into the complex themes of gray morality and questions of trust. While the story captivates readers with its intense plot and dynamic characters, it also faces criticism for its unrealistic villainy and uneven writing. Additionally, the inclusion of controversial topics such as fatphobia, casual molestation, and uninformed fears of mental illness and developmental differences has sparked debate among readers. Despite its flaws, “Generation Annihilation” leaves a strong impact on its audience and sets the stage for the rest of the series.

Plot Summary

Shaun’s Escape and Meeting Cass

The story begins with Shaun’s desperate bid to escape the clutches of his abusive stepfather. Fueled by fear and determination, Shaun finds himself on the run, uncertain of what lies ahead. Inevitably, he stumbles upon an abandoned asylum, where he encounters Cass, a girl with a mysterious aura. From the moment their paths cross, their lives intertwine in unexpected ways. Together, they uncover the dark secrets hidden within the asylum’s walls, as well as the heinous objectives of the institution’s enigmatic figures. As their journey progresses, Shaun and Cass must rely on each other to navigate the treacherous terrain and ensure their survival.


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Gray Morality

One of the prominent themes explored in “Generation Annihilation” is gray morality. The book challenges the conventional notions of right and wrong, highlighting the complexities of human actions and decisions. As the characters find themselves in morally ambiguous situations, readers are forced to question their own beliefs and definitions of morality. This theme adds depth to the narrative, allowing for thought-provoking discussions on the nature of good and evil.

Questions of Trust

Another theme that runs through the story is the concept of trust. Shaun and Cass, both burdened by their own secrets and past traumas, must learn to trust each other in order to survive. As the plot unfolds, readers are presented with various instances where trust is tested, forcing them to reflect on the importance of trust in relationships and the consequences of betraying it. This theme adds a layer of suspense to the narrative, keeping readers engaged and curious about the characters’ choices.


Unrealistic Villainy

Despite its gripping plot, “Generation Annihilation” has faced criticism for its portrayal of unrealistic villainy. Some readers argue that the antagonists in the story lack depth and complexity, resorting to clichéd evilness rather than nuanced character development. This criticism highlights the missed opportunity to explore the motivations and backgrounds of these characters, which could have added depth to the narrative and made the story more compelling.

Uneven Writing

Another point of criticism revolves around the uneven writing style in the book. While certain sections of the story are captivating and well-crafted, others seem rushed or lacking in detail. This inconsistency in the writing can disrupt the flow of the narrative and make it harder for readers to fully immerse themselves in the story. It is important to note, however, that this criticism is subjective and may not detract from the overall enjoyment of the book for all readers.

Inclusion of Controversial Topics

“Generation Annihilation” tackles several controversial topics such as fatphobia, casual molestation, and uninformed fears of mental illness and developmental differences. While these topics can add depth and realism to a story when handled thoughtfully, some readers have expressed concerns about how they are portrayed in this book. The inclusion of these topics without sufficient exploration or sensitivity can perpetuate harmful stereotypes or reinforce negative attitudes. It is crucial for authors to approach such subjects with care, ensuring that they provide meaningful and respectful representations.


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Character Analysis


Shaun, the protagonist of “Generation Annihilation,” is a complex and deeply flawed character. His troubled past and the trauma inflicted upon him by his stepfather shape his actions and decisions throughout the story. Shaun’s journey from a scared and broken teenager to a survivor showcases his resilience and determination. As readers follow his narrative, they witness his growth and transformation, making him a relatable and multifaceted character.


Cass, the enigmatic girl who crosses paths with Shaun, brings her own set of complexities to the story. With her mysterious background and guarded demeanor, Cass adds intrigue and a sense of unpredictability to the narrative. As her layers are slowly peeled back, readers uncover her strengths, fears, and motivations, making her a compelling character. The relationship between Shaun and Cass forms a focal point of the story, allowing readers to witness their individual growth and the impact they have on each other.


Description of Shaun and Cass as White Characters

In “Generation Annihilation,” the author describes both Shaun and Cass as white characters. This representation, while reflective of the author’s creative choices, does limit the diversity within the story. It is essential for books to include a wide range of diverse characters, not only in race but also in terms of ethnicity, sexual orientation, and abilities. A more diverse cast of characters can enhance the overall richness and inclusivity of the narrative, providing readers with a broader representation of the world we live in.


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“Generation Annihilation” leaves a strong impact on its readers, captivating them with its intense plot and engaging characters. Despite the criticisms leveled against it, the story resonates with its audience, sparking discussions on morality, trust, and the importance of representation in literature. The book sets the stage for the rest of the Blackthorn Peak series, leaving readers eagerly anticipating the next installment.


“Generation Annihilation”


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Tracy Hewitt Meyer


Blackthorn Peak series