Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Book: The Forever Contract by Avery Sawyer

Casey and James live in a world full of drought and generally tough living conditions, but they can escape. At 17 you can sign the Forever Contract, where you upload your conciousness onto a computer and are told that your body is looked after in storage. Casey is nearly 17 and considering signing the Forever Contract to be with her brother, Ben, only one thing is stopping her, her boyfriend; James. James is very against the Forever Contract, he doesn't trust it and looks to discover more about it after his mother committed suicide via sunstroke (she was one of the original designers). Eventually he manages to convince Casey to think long and hard about what the Forever Contract really is, and they break into the warehouse where Ben's body is being 'stored', only to get caught, and that is when things really start to get interesting.

I really really really hope that there is going to be a sequel to this ebook. It felt like there was a lot of potential, for the plot, for the characters and for the dystopian setting, to develop.

One thing that should be said is that I feel that the cover in no way represents the plot or the content of the book, and in fact I feel that it could put some people off buying the book, because by the couple being naked, it gives completely the wrong impression. The way I saw it the love story in this book was the reason why they both questioned the Forever Contract, and the reason behind some of their actions, but it wasn't the central story, that was about how they were being duped and what was really going on behind the scenes. In fact I would say that the level of romance in The Forever Contract was a lot less than in many other dystopian novels of varying aimed audiences.

I really believed in the characters, particularly Casey, I liked the way that she was torn between signing the Forever Contract or not, because of the love she had for her brother and the love she had for James, for her it was never a clear cut decision. That is one of the things that makes a convincing character in my opinion. Also it didn't take her one piece of evidence to be convinced that the system was evil, over a period of time she became more convinced of it. Similarly, though James was pretty set in his views from the start of the novel, reasons behind these views were actually given and it was possible to see where they came from.

However, the narrative swapped between Casey and James regularly, this wasn't a problem in the sense that it was always possible to tell who was narrating, but they felt kind of sameish. To say that these were two different people, and different genders, I don't believe that there was enough differences between the writing and narrative style for them to be truly considered as different.

The dystopian setting was interesting, if a little freaky. The Forever Contract is signed and you get uploaded onto a database. So basically the dystopia is a computer system, which is a strange idea. Actually the idea that the descriptions of the computer system gave me was a little bit like the game the SIMs in my head, with the building things like you want to. Actually that made me think more about what was going on with this computer program, and were people having their computer existence played out like we would play the SIMs. It's a scary concept.

But the conclusion did seem a little rushed, part of me wishes that the author had just added more pages on so that they could explore more possibilities, or even a sequel (which I would read if it was published!), as there seems to be so much more for the characters to do and to experience.

The plot is fairly predictable, though I still found myself pulled into the world and the adventure created by the author, so it being slightly predictable wasn't to the ebook's detriment. This book is worth a read for anyone who likes dystopian fiction, and for people interested in the place of technology in the future.